Primed for a Productive Season, Woods Emphasizes Consistency and Team Culture

On the field Friday and Sunday, the men’s lacrosse team established a 2-0 record to start off their 2017 season. They played Transylvania University from Kentucky on Friday, and even though their play was inconsistent, the Tigers walked away with a 9-5 win. On Sunday, CC faced off against Wittenberg College from Ohio, a team that beat the Tigers last year by three at home, which gave CC a pretty serious agenda for Sunday’s game, according to Head Coach Sean Woods. With these wins under their belt to start their season, the team is hungry and motivated. To talk about their goals and tactics for the season, I sat down with Woods for a Q&A.

After a solid season last year, the men’s lacrosse team hopes to make a deeper push into the playoffs come springtime. Photo by Austin Halpern

 

SG: What were takeaways from last season that you focused on in the fall leading up to this season?

SW: We’ve just talked about being a more consistent lacrosse team. Last year we were really inconsistent; we’d have a great win and then a tough loss, then a really tough loss and an easy win. This year I tried to help the guys out by making our schedule more consistent with better opponents week to week. The big picture goal is to be a more consistent lacrosse team, that, and making the quarter final. We know what the sweet 16 feels like and our guys weren’t satisfied with just that. This year with the leadership we have, it’s something we can definitely do.

 

SG: If last season was the best season you guys have ever had and this year is already off to a great start, would you say the program is building itself up right now?

SW: It is. We turned a corner last year. We made four NCAA tournaments in a row, and prior to those four we had only made one other in the past 50 years of the program. There’s been some recent momentum and we want to be held in the same breath as Tufts and Salisbury.

 

SG: How do you prepare for games on the road versus a home game?

SW: Games on the road are different—we’re lucky to have the Block Plan because when we travel, it’s over Block Breaks or spring break so the guys don’t have to worry about bringing schoolwork on the road. We’re maybe the only lacrosse team in the country that can say that. We get our guys’ full focus. For home games we sleep in our own beds, we’re not going out to dinner or sleeping in a hotel so it’s more comfortable but I never want that to be taken for granted. On the road we spend more time together but preparation remains the same regardless of where the game is.

 

SG: Besides changing the schedule up this year, are there any other changed coaching tactics?

SW: We’ve shortened the duration of practice a little bit from 2 1/2 hours to 1 hour and 45 minutes. At this time in the season, as a coach, I want to get everything in and have this offense and this defense and this clear and this face-off organization, but it’s more important that the guys stay healthy. When our guys are fresh and excited to be out there, that’s when they play their best. By shortening our practices the guys know exactly how long they need to push for.

 

SG: What kind of relationship do you try to establish with the guys?

SW: I think it’s important that they know I care about them, so I try to get to know them as people as well as lacrosse players. I like to have fun with them on the road, get to know their families and what they are going through. If they are going through tough times I want to be a part of it. I try to be myself. I’m not the kind of guy that is just Coach Woods. The guys know Sean Woods as well. The #1 rule in coaching is to be yourself because you can’t be anyone else. Even though I’m high in discipline and structure that doesn’t mean we can’t still have fun.

 

SG: What’s your favorite meal after you guys win a game?

SW: Chicken parmesan. It’s usually a pre-game meal the night before but it’s probably my favorite meal in the world.

 

SG: What’s your most used phrase on the field?

SW: It’s okay to be tired, don’t look tired.

 

SG: What would you say about the senior leadership?

SW: It’s fantastic. We have vocal leadership, we have lead-by-example leadership and we have really positive leadership this year. There’s quite a different array of leaders. Will Baird leads by example. Charlie Russell is a very vocal leader. Conner Haney is a mixture of both. Austin Davie is just a warrior. The leadership is amazing.

 

SG:  What three adjectives would you like to describe the rest of your season?

SW:  Consistent, improving, resilient.

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