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Lacrosse superstar Rabil gives clinic to Pitt men’s team under Red Bull’s ‘Under My Wing’

Wednesday, 19th September 2012

Categories Uncategorized, Posted 9/19/12
From Press Release and Staff Report

Professional Lacrosse Champion Paul Rabil is inspiring and giving wings to the University of Pittsburgh lacrosse team tonight in a unique shooting clinic at the Pittsburgh Indoor Sports Arena.

The program, called “Under My Wing,” as sponsored by Red Bull, began at 7 PM. Along with Rabil, each collegiate hopeful will participate in three skill sections; endurance, speed and accuracy. Top performers of each section will receive gear from Warrior Lacrosse including a head from
Paul’s signature Rabil Collection.

After the clinic, Rabil will select the top performing athlete from the Panthers squad to keep “Under his Wing” by offering guidance and advice throughout the rest of the year.

“We are extremely excited and honored that Paul Rabil chose us to host a clinic and to include a player in his ‘Under My Wing’ program,” said Pitt senior captain and MCLA Division I All-American attackman Tyler Novotny (Spring-Ford graduate and former member of Duke’s lacrosse Club). “This says a lot about the recent success of our program and the drive and determination we exhibit. Paul Rabil is known for his incredible work ethic, and that is something we want to establish here at Pitt.”

Novotny, a former selection who played one season at St. John’s, had 69 goals and 17 assists this year while being named CCLA Offensive Player of the Year and Second-Team MCLA All-American. He is one of many Philly players that have helped Pitt become a legitimate MCLA contender.

“We are committed to putting in the hard work and long hours to bring home the MCLA championship, which has been set as the ultimate goal for the program.

“The fact that a company like Red Bull chose to bring a lacrosse star such as Paul Rabil to Pittsburgh is indicative of the rapid growth of lacrosse in Western PA. Hopefully this clinic will help in further growing the game in this region.”

Many of Rabil’s accomplishments are attributed to having an innate knack for the fastest game on two feet, but perhaps more important is the lacrosse star’s awe-inspiring work ethic. Rabil credits his success to relentless hard work and unwavering dedication to personal improvement. This desire for constant growth is evident in all aspects of Rabil’s game.

“Kids usually ask me how hard it is to shoot the ball a hundred and eleven miles per hour,”
says Rabil. “What they should be asking is, how hard is it to shoot a hundred and eleven
balls before and after every practice?”

Three years ago, the Panthers were a middle-of-the-road MCLA team with zero playoff experience; its post-season hopes were perennially crushed by a now NCAA D1 Michigan Wolverine squad.

Fast-forward to the beginning of the 2011 season and the Panthers were unranked, unnoticed, and unaccounted for. However, several key changes took place that would soon put Pitt Lacrosse on the map.

Head Coach Sean Buzzard and then Assistant Alex Perry successfully employed a system of hard work, discipline and accountability, which resulted in an 11-3 season. Since the Men’s Lacrosse Club is required to defer field time to varsity athletics and share the remaining hours with other club teams, it is not uncommon for a two and a half hour practice to start at midnight.

It is a true love for the game of lacrosse and an unquenchable desire for success that keeps players coming back and attending practice. Although the Panthers did not reach the playoffs, they definitely made a step in the right direction.

In 2012—under the guidance of Co-Head Coaches Buzzard and Perry—the Panthers finally had a breakout season. Pitt picked off perennially top ranked teams such as Buffalo, Boston College, and Northeastern. The Panthers only suffered one regular season loss, falling to Michigan State by a single goal in an overtime thriller.

Impressive victories on the road and at home bumped the previously unranked Panthers steadily up the MCLA Nike/Inside Lacrosse Coaches Polls, and eventually solidified an atlarge bid to the National Tournament in Greenville, SC. The originally unranked Pitt squad finished the season as the No. 12 team in the MCLA after a playoff loss to UC-Santa Barbara.

Pitt went 14-3-1 and fell to Michigan State in the CCLA finals. The Panthers fell to UC-Santa Barbara, 13-9, in their first MCLA playoff appearance despite four goals by Novotny.

Also earning First Team All-CCLA honors for Pitt was senior goalie Chris Gorham (Manheim Township), who had a save percentage of .646 and piled up 170 saves. Also, senior midfielder Nick Ruff (Chestnut Hill Academy) was a Third Team CCLA pick.

Philly Players at Pitt in 2012: Nick Ruff (Chestnut Hill 3rd Team/ Captain), Tyler Novotny (Spring-Ford 1st team/ Captain), Chris Gorham (Manheim 1st Team/Captain),
Burke Bodo (Phoenixville), Sam Kearns (Southern Lehigh), Thomas Pham
(Spring-Ford), Paul Razgaitis (St. Joseph’s Prep)

“It was a combination of hard work and determination that led us deep into the postseason,”
acknowledged Sophomore Midfielder Matt Wolfe. “We’re going to have to maintain this
culture in order to push for that MCLA Championship.”


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