Syracuse’s Irish trio provides aggressive play during team’s unbeaten season

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on October 9, 2012 at 12:13 am Contact Jasmine: jlwatk01@syr.edu Syracuse’s “Irish attack” earned the title for good reason.The trio of Emma Russell, Gillian Pinder and Liz McInerney combined to form the group that has provided the team with aggressive play in the Orange’s undefeated season. They’ve helped No. 1 Syracuse move to 12-0 and extend the team’s winning streak at J.S. Coyne Stadium to 34 games.McInerney leads the team with eight assists. Throughout the season she has often threaded the needle by perfectly passing the ball to different teammates cutting to the goal. The vision to see who’s open and the accuracy to get them the ball has been crucial to SU’s ability to score so quickly at times.“Giving assists is probably my favorite part of my game and it’s very easy to do when the forwards move for you,” McInerney said. “I’m just lucky to be the one to pass the ball before they get the goal; (it) could’ve been anyone.”SU plays at a fast pace, so ball control as well as sharp and precise passing are needed on offense. Players constantly communicate with each other in efforts to keep the ball moving.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe ability of all the players to come together has been a point of pride for the team. The “Irish attack” is one part of it.“One of the best parts about our team is the different cultures and nationalities we have on it; I think it brings a different style of hockey,” McInerney said. “It was only me for a long time over here, so I’m happy to have two more Irish girls to keep me company.”This year, the Orange added freshmen Pinder and Russell. They brought speed to the team, racing past opponents to find openings in the defense. Both are working well within the team, leaving their mark on the balanced scoring strategy of SU.Although they seem comfortable on the field, both have had similar problems adjusting to the states.“It’s my first time in the states, so the biggest adjustment was definitely the weather at first, but now it’s getting a bit more comfortable to play in,” Pinder said.Russell echoed Pinder’s feelings on the transition.“The temperature,” Russell said. “I wasn’t used to it, but now it’s getting colder now so I’m happy about that; (it) makes it a lot easier.”They might not love the weather, but it hasn’t affected their play on the field.All three Irish players said they weren’t prepared for the intensity or extended length of practices at Syracuse. McInerney said it’s helping with her conditioning, and she can now stay on the field longer during games.McInerney, Russell and Pinder are important parts of the team, but they said they don’t make the top-ranked Orange special. They just add their particular style of play to an already talented team.“The team atmosphere is unbelievable here,” Pinder said. “Everyone here has totally bonded and just united, and all the work and the longer hours of training is paying off.” Commentslast_img read more

For The Hill Academy lacrosse players, No. 45 isn’t just a jersey. It’s a way of life.

first_imgWhen Brendan Bomberry played his first game for Denver in 2015, he wasn’t wearing the jersey number he had waited years to. An upperclassman had already claimed No. 45.At North Carolina, coaches ensured the same didn’t happen to Bomberry’s high school teammate, Chris Cloutier. They knew Cloutier also went to The Hill Academy, a sports-focused center of fewer than 300 students in Toronto. They knew the story behind 45 and what it symbolized at Hill.“The second you walk through those doors at the Hill, they fully invest you,” Cloutier said. “You learn how to be a good leader. It’s one of the main focuses of the Hill. And, ya know, being able to wear 45 just takes you back to what you were taught.”At the Hill, the number is everywhere. It’s a part of the chant that ends each practice. It’s on a jersey hanging on the wall of the gymnasium. It’s pressed on a pinnie awarded to the practice player of the week. But the number is never worn in games.On a Monday evening in May 2008, a youth club box lacrosse team called the Toronto Beaches were playing a game in Newmarket, Ontario, when a defender struck Jamieson Kuhlmann with a blindside hit. The defender’s shoulder drove into the head and chest of the Hill 10th-grader and he collapsed. The kid teammates called “Jammer” couldn’t get up.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe team trainer, a long-time Kuhlmann family friend, ran onto the field. Jamieson passed out. The trainer helped carry him off and, minutes later, the sun sank below the horizon. Jamieson never regained consciousness, and after two days in the hospital, his parents removed life support.The Hill, which was only in its second season, retired its No. 45 lacrosse jersey in honor of Jamieson.“There’s a reason why he’s not here,” said Jamieson’s mother, Michelle Weber. “And for them to put such emotion into someone, and maybe even not trying to live his life, but taking aspects, pieces of it, and trying to make their life that much better, it overwhelms me. It really, truly does.”The next spring, after graduation, Jason Noble made a pact with several other teammates. If it was available, they would all wear 45 in college to honor Jamieson.In 2010, Noble wore 45 as a freshman at Cornell while Zach Palmer did the same at Johns Hopkins. A year later, Jason’s brother, Jeremy, claimed the number at Denver.The Hill Academy is slowly collecting jerseys from multiple alumni who have worn 45. Jason Noble’s jerseys are featured here. Courtesy of Brodie Merrill The same goes for Randy Staats, who has the number and a pair of wings tattooed on his right shin, started college in 2012 at Onondaga Community College. He eventually donned it for two seasons at Syracuse.And, for the past two, Bomberry has continued the legacy. The players wanted the number to serve as a daily reminder to work hard and be the best person you can be at all times.“Because you never know, if you take a day off or you’re not pushing hard enough, are you going to get that day back?” Jason Noble said.• • •Before Jamieson’s first game for the Hill, head coach Brodie Merrill came into the team’s dorm and told the newcomer he needed a jersey number. Jamieson looked across the room to dorm parent Dan Noble, who Jamieson called “D-Nobes.”The 26-year-old was in his first year at The Hill Academy after concussions ended his professional football career in Europe. Noble moved into the dorms of the Hill, living with the students and coaching strength and conditioning.Jamieson told Merrill he wanted 45.Jamieson wore it in part because Noble had as well, but Merrill also remembered he wanted it for Rudy, the hard-working title character in the 1993 film who wore the number after improbably walking on to the Notre Dame football team.Jamieson took interest in the underdogs who worked for everything because he saw himself in them. At a young age, he passed to everyone on the field, even if they weren’t going to catch it. He did it so much his mother questioned him about it one day, wondering why her son spread the ball around even if the other players weren’t as good as he was.“You know what, Mom?” Weber remembered her son saying when he was in middle school. “One day, they are going to catch it.”After Jamieson’s freshman year, his parents saw adolescence take its toll on their son. His grades slipped to a 62 average, his mother said, and he wasn’t as happy as he used to be. So, his mother sold her house to afford the Hill.She and Jamieson’s father, Mark Kuhlmann, saw the Hill as the solution because it prides itself on getting students out of their comfort zone. It pushes for high academic performance and Division I athletics, something her son embraced. It forced Jamieson to adjust, because at a school with fewer than 30 kids at the time, there wasn’t a junior varsity team for him to settle in with.Courtesy of Michelle WeberAt first, Noble remembered Jamieson being quiet and keeping to himself. The close-knit community soon changed that, though. His history teacher had told Weber that they had “never seen a kid read so much.” Before Jamieson went to the Hill, Weber didn’t remember him enjoying reading at all. Jamieson’s grades rose to an 81 average, she said.His rediscovered confidence translated to the field. He earned the nickname “Jammer” and learned to lead in different ways. He energized the team even when on the bench, and Staats remembered Jamieson always relaying a joke or sharing his infectious smile as players came off the field.Late one night during Jamieson’s time at the Hill, Noble overheard something he found remarkable through his floor. In the room below, Jamieson’s roommate, a hockey player, wasn’t sure if the Hill was the place for him. He considered leaving. As the classmate talked through his anxieties, Jamieson shared his own story. He reminded him there was nothing to lose, that he might as well just go for it.“His story and his legacy, it’s become so powerful because a lot of our students kind of see themselves and see what Jamieson did as inspiration,” Merrill said. “To be a good teammate. To be hardworking. To be humble in your approach.”During the spring term of his sophomore year, Jamieson filled out a self-evaluation sheet for the lacrosse team. He didn’t rank any part of his lacrosse skills higher than a six, except for conditioning. His highest self-graded marks came in work ethic, attitude, health and efforts in the classroom. In overall success, he granted himself a nine out of 10.“I think I have improved a lot but there is always room for improvement,” Jamieson wrote in the comments section of the sheet. “I think that because of the set up at the Hill (coaches, practice) and my work ethic, I will one day achieve my goal of playing college lacrosse.”Jamieson’s self-evaluation now hangs on the gym wall at The Hill Academy. Courtesy of Brodie MerrillBefore her son’s death a few months later, Weber wrote a letter to the Merrill family, which is in charge of the academy. In awe of how much her son had improved in less than a year there, she thanked them for all they had done.Jamieson embraced the Hill, which is an acronym for the four ideals of the academy. “H” indicates the highest level of achievement, pushing each student to reach their full potential. “I” stands for independence, emphasizing independent thought. The first “L” represents leadership, stressing that each member of the team must lead in their own way.In life, Jamieson mastered the first three. After death, he became the final symbol: a second letter L for “Legacy.”• • •Dan Noble never planned to stay at the Hill, but after Jamieson died, D-Nobes couldn’t leave. He had to pass on the boy’s legacy.“It was my purpose,” Noble said.At the first team practice following the accident, Noble got emotional. He changed the team chant, which had always been “Hill Pride.” From then on, the team would say “4-5 Hill Pride” after breaking down each meeting.“It was there to be a reminder that we never have to do any of this,” Noble said. “We get to do this and what an opportunity this is and to be grateful.”The papers Jamieson wrote his goals on now hang on the gym wall at the Hill, along with his old jersey. There’s an assembly each year to teach his story to the students who sat where he once did. The team awards a No. 45 practice pinnie each week to a player who embodies Jamieson and the Hill’s core beliefs.The number’s reach expands each year. Several Division I women players now wear it. Merrill has represented Team Canada in his former player’s number. Players often ask teammates from the Hill if any opponent wearing 45 is a fellow alum.Jamieson Kuhlmann Field was founded in 2008 in Toronto. Courtesy of Michelle WeberEvery year since Jamieson died, there’s been a memorial tournament in Toronto in his name. Before each game of the “Jammer Classic,” players are asked to read a plaque next to Jamieson Kuhlmann Field. The first part of the plaque expresses Jamieson’s values. It alludes to him throwing the ball even to those who might bobble it. They will “catch it in their hearts and remember you for the pass.”“May all those who play on this field draw inspiration from a remarkable young man who was called upon to play the game elsewhere,” the script continues. “Jamieson’s Legacy will remain with us forever.”It will carry on. Bomberry will graduate from Syracuse University next month with hopes that No. 45 will remain on the roster. He plans to pass the jersey on to Owen Hill, an incoming freshman who will be the third Hill Academy player to wear 45 with the Orange.“(No. 45 has) taken on a life of its own,” Noble said. “But it’s Jamieson’s life.” Comments Published on April 11, 2018 at 10:40 pm Contact Josh: jlschafe@syr.edu | @Schafer_44 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more