By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/11/13
Wednesday night’s friendly game at Chestnut Hill College with the powerful Duke’s Lacrosse Club was indeed an eye-opener for the Wasatch (Salt Lake City, Utah) L.C.
Wasatch, a second-year club, has been playing games all week against clubs from Philly and Baltimore as it gears for this weekend’s Tri-State (N.J.) National Festival.
Wasatch nearly defeated Looney’s LC (Md.) on Monday and toppled Baggataway (Pa.) on Tuesday. But Wednesday it was overwhelmed by the Dukes, long considered one of the top clubs in the nation.
But no matter. The experience for Wasatch players will only help. Click here for a replay of the game on AccessLacrosse.
“This really opens your eyes to how much faster the game is and how much more sound they are,” said Wasatch 2014 attackman Grant Pierce (Judge High) of the game vs. Dukes LC. “They are intense and some of the best kids I have ever seen at my age.
“We know what we’re supposed to do (to improve) and how much we need to hit the wall and work on shot placement. We can’t get frustrated when we are on the field. We know they are better, but we have to keep our heads in the game.”
Tanner Duryea, a 2014 defenseman from Sky View High, said the talented opponent is a measuring stick.
“It gives you something to look up to,” he said. “They are human, they are not super freaks – on the lacrosse field they are – but it shows that how hard work and dedication can get you there. We can be like these guys.
“I never played anyone close to this good, but playing them helps us prepare for Tri-States. We’ll bounce back from this.”
“It’s a whole different world,” said Wasatch 2014 goalie Dalon Hampshire (Bountiful High). “It shows how far (ahead) the East is. But it was fun playing them – you see how much harder you have to work to get there.”
Wasatch is coached by Utah natives and brothers Danny and Ricky Larkin, who played college lacrosse with Chestnut Hill College assistant Adam Eddinger at DeSales (Pa.) University. The three have remained friends and last year created the Wasatch club, which has 19 players from 13 schools on its roster for this trip.
“The idea behind this was to bring our team to play the best competition in the country,” said Danny Larkin, who noted that there are only a few club teams in the state. “Being in Utah, we don’t get to play teams like this. They have 31 D1 commits and we don’t have anyone committed.”
During their trip the East, Wasatch has gotten to tour the facilities at legendary Johns Hopkins and Loyola and do some sight-seeing and Philly cheesesteak eating.
Larkin noted that the number of high schools that have lacrosse in Utah has nearly doubled since he played 10 years ago.
“The key is starting to get more kids to commit year round,” Larkin said. “We are still growing. College coaches are not coming to Utah to recruit, so that’s why we came back East.”
Duke’s LC coach Ebe Helm said the experience was good for everyone. He was happy to have his players prepare for Tri-States while helping to grow the game.
“No matter whether you get anything directly out of a game, there is always a benefit of growing the game of lacrosse,” said Helm, whose team is a favorite for the Tri-State tourney. “Those kids will have fond memories of having played with Dukes Lacrosse, who they have heard about.
“Our kids get a chance to see how other teams play and how they communicate and act. Lacrosse has always been one big fraternity and it keeps growing.
“And there will be times when a boy from Utah or Washington or Texas or Arizona will turn out into the next guy that’s a local (Matt) Rambo (the Under Armour Senior All-American MVP from Dukes LC and La Salle) and the next thing you know he’s the next big thing in lacrosse.”
“They come from a different culture so they’ll learn the brotherhood of lacrosse. If we can share that – win or lose – that’s always a lot more fun.”