By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/10/14
We have clearly seen much growth from the Wasatch Lacrosse club (UT) in a year’s time.
Wasatch – one of Utah’s top club teams – played the Duke’s Lacrosse Club (PA) Wednesday night at Chestnut Hill College in a friendly scrimmage as part of a week-long East trip to tour Division I colleges, play several elite club teams and compete at the Tri-State National tournament (N.J.).
Last year Wasatch was heavily overmatched by the Dukes. But Wednesday’s 12-4 loss (which can be seen on Access Lacrosse) was indeed a victory for a growing West Coast club that has aspirations of producing many Division I, II and III players.
“I definitely think we have grown a pretty good amount,” said 2015 senior defenseman Kade Patterson (Alta High). “It’s pretty sick to come out here and see the influence of big-time Eastern lacrosse.
“Dukes is one of the premier big clubs back here and it’s cool to say we kind of kept up with them. We have improved a lot from last year; I have a lot better feeling.”
The Dukes 2 squad that played Wednesday was comprised mostly of 2016 and 2017 players, but most of them have committed to Division I programs. Currently, none of the Wasatch players have committed.
Wasatch’s Carter Bean, a 2015 midfielder from Desert Hills, played along with Patterson in last year’s game.
“We are just a better team in general; we move the ball so much better than last year and we’re more team oriented,” he said. “Coming out here is not just big for us, it’s big for our entire state of Utah and the West Coast. To see this level of play and see what lacrosse is like on the East Coast is great. And to see us hanging with them is great.”
Play was swift and sharp Wednesday. Dukes won just about every face-off, but Wasatch worked its possessions with moderate success and was solid on defense and in goal.
“I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was everything I was hoping for,” said 2015 midfielder Payton Kimber (Spanish Fork), who did not play last year against the Dukes. “It’s the best (club) competition in the world at this level. I always dreamed of playing against this level, and it’s a real eye opener to play against this type of competition and see kids this talented at this age. We definitely do not see that in Utah.
“I thought I was doing well in Utah. I can’t believe they start playing in second and third grades; I only started playing in seventh grade. It’s amazing that they have put in this time, it’s a whole (different) level of commitment. But for me, I will have a leg up on kids from Utah. This has definitely been a great experience.”
Wasatch, which recently played at the Vail Shootout, came East on Tuesday and toured several college campuses in Baltimore, including Johns Hopkins and Loyola University.
“That was super sick,” said Patterson. “Watching Hopkins and Loyola on TV is great, but to be sitting on the field was super surreal.”
Talbot Child, a 2017 attackman from Waterford School, said his view of lacrosse has changed drastically.
“This trip has been very insightful and has helped us break into the D1 scene and kind of see what D1 lacrosse is like,” he said. “On the West Coast you hear fantasies about a kid from California going D1 and you think it’s amazing, but you don’t know what it entails.
“But when you see bigger schools like Hopkins and Loyola you’ve really gotten a good view of D1 lacrosse and how much fun it can be – but also the commitment needed and how much work it takes to get there. Playing this very talented Dukes is inspiring.
“Hearing the score from last year, I was kind of scared. Compared to where we come from and the skill level we have, we feel we hung with them at the top of our potential. Our goal is to achieve to play at this level.”
The trip was arranged with the help of connections through Chestnut Hill College assistant coach Adam Eddinger, the Wasatch GM and a co-coach who is close friends with Wasatch Co-Coaches and Co-Directors Danny and Ricky Larkin. Wasatch will play Philly’s Twist Lacrosse tonight and compete this weekend in the Rising Senior A Division at the Tri-State National tourney.
“I thought we did a lot better (than last year), even just with our confidence,” said Ricky Larkin. “We didn’t let the Duke’s name intimidate us like last year. At least this year we didn’t feel like we were playing Supermn.
“I know as a coach I learned a lot. It opened my eyes, seeing how the Dukes Lacrosse club operates and how they run their team. It’s like coaching against a college team. This is what I want to be as a coach and how I want to be prepared.
“I think as a player it helps them to see how committed players approach the game and shows them what they need to do to get to that level. It definitely helps them to be more confident to experience this level of play.”