LRC starts men’s lacrosse team

By Brian Fischer

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Coach Anthony Stamatopoulos leads the first ever La Roche men’s lacrosse team this 2010-2011 academic school year.

Lacrosse is gaining popularity in western Pennsylvania, Director of Athletics Jim Tinkey said.

”We’ve done some research, and we found that lacrosse is something prospective students want to play at the college level,“ he said.

All but three players on this year’s roster have playing experience, according to Stamatopoulos.

”I’m very proud of this incoming class. From a pure talent and depth standpoint, we really couldn’t expect or ask for more. This team has also shown the ability to excel with the intangible qualities that make a team successful.“

Freshman Shawn Teixeira came all the way from Calgary Alberta, Canada to help this first year program.

He said, ”Coach Stamatopoulos got a hold of me and told me what he wanted to do with the program, and I liked what he had in mind.“

Holding 17 years of experience between box and field lacrosse, Teixeira played for the Team Alberta National Team, since Canadian high schools don’t have field lacrosse teams.

”Lacrosse is our nation sport.“ Teixeira added. ”The Iroquois nation is huge for lacrosse players. The kids are giving wooden sticks when they are born and are buried with it when they die.“

Stamatopoulos played his college ball at Ferris State University, Michigan and has coached ever since.

While he was head coach of Ferris State University and Carnegie Mellon University, both teams were ranked in the top 25 nationally. He served as director of operations and assistant coach at Robert Morris University before coming to La Roche.

Stamatopoulos explained some coaching challenges.  ”There’s some pure scheduling and logistical challenges that could very likely prove to be tougher opponents than some of the actual teams we’ll play.,“ he said. ”For example, we kick off our season indoors, in February, on the road, against two very good teams. Logistically, this is a tough task.“

Already looking ahead to next year, Stamatopoulos wants to challenge his team. ”Our philosophy year-in and year-out is to play the toughest national schedule that we can possibly play.“

He added, ”Our schedule next year will most likely look very different than this coming season.“

Though excited about future seasons, Stamatopoulos says his team is ready for this season.

”How well the team does will ultimately be determined by the individual efforts that each player puts in. We definitely have the potential to be a very good and dangerous first year program,“ he said.

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