Liberty Flames' 26-game home win streak snapped by No. 17 UConn

April 2, 2017  |  Lynchburg, Va. 

By Ted Allen/Staff Writer

The Liberty University's men's lacrosse team faced-off Sunday afternoon against 17th-ranked Connecticut, under sunny skies at the Liberty Lacrosse Fields. But the Flames' offense was unable to generate enough fire of its own and their four year, 26-game home winning streak, came to an abrupt end with a 9-6 setback.

Fresh off the euphoria of Friday night's upset of seventh-ranked Florida State, the 25th-ranked Liberty Flames (5-5) sprung out to a 2-0 lead with back-to-back goals in a span of 22 seconds early in the first quarter. Liberty attackman Sam Gregory sent a pass to midfielder Derrick Esh who found attackman Caleb Britton cutting in the left side of the box where he ripped a turnaround shot past Connecticut goalie Drew Duarte just 46 seconds after the opening faceoff.

The Huskies (3-2) won the ensuing faceoff, but the Flames' defense stole the ball back and Britton cleared it up field before sending an outlet pass to Gregory, who set up attackman Nick Lombardozzi for a point-blank bounce shot through traffic in the left crease at the 13:52 mark. After Blake Feagles scored the first of his two first-half goals to get the Huskies on the scoreboard, Liberty goalie Ryan Reynolds made a save and sent an outlet pass to defender Lukas Tophoven, who set up Liberty's perimeter attack. Lombardozzi, whose pass through the middle bounced past his intended target to Britton for another turnaround shot into the upper netting for a 3-1 Flames advantage.

Reynolds made two sensational saves of low shots by Connecticut leading scorer Brett LeClair, sacrificing his body to smother the submarine missiles before Feagles sneaked a bounce shot past him from the left side at the 11:31 mark of the second quarter.  Britton responded a minute later by completing his hat trick off assists from Gregory and Elliott for a 4-2 advantage before UConn attack Cam Criniti capitalized on a miscue deep in the Flames' defensive end to draw his team within 4-3 before the half.




The Huskies, who lost another defensive-oriented contest to FSU on Saturday, 8-7, tied the Flames less than a minute and a half into the third quarter when Criniti shoveled in a shot off a fast-break feed from midfielder Matt Crowe. Crowe gave UConn its first lead at 5-4 by capitalizing on a man-up situation with a wicked ground ball shot past Reynolds.

Liberty converted on a man advantage to level the score at 5-5 when Elliott struck quickly top shelf off an assist from Britton with 2:10 left in the quarter. However, the Huskies reclaimed a lead which they would not relinquish in the final 0.5 seconds of the third quarter on a spectacular play set up by a nearly full-field baseball outlet pass from Duarte to Criniti. The attackman caught the Hail Mary-type assist just beyond the Flames' defense and quickly turned toward the cage and put his buzzer-beating shot into the upper netting past Reynolds for a 6-5 advantage.

After UConn extended its lead to 7-5 on a scoop shot by Richard Rorick assisted by John Takita, the Flames had a golden opportunity to get back in the game when the Huskies were called for one- and two-minute penalties simultaneously. Britton capitalized on a Gregory assist less than 20 seconds into the extra-man situation, but Liberty turned the ball over and was called for two penalties of its own, leading to UConn's final two goals by Blake Feagles assisted by Ben Hamel and Will Garbus assisted by Jack Templeton.

The Flames did hit a few posts with shots in the waning minutes of the game and Duarte made a number of spectacular saves of his own, but Liberty’s attack lacked its usual firepower, especially playing on its home turf.

2017 Opening Weekend: March 11th & 12th

Storrs, Conn. – Opening Weekend: The UConn Men's Lacrosse will travel to Atlanta, Georgia this weekend for a pair of games to begin the 2017 season. Game time is scheduled for 2pm on Saturday, followed by a 1pm start on Sunday afternoon.

UConn heads down South for the second consecutive year with two strong tests against ranked opponents. On Saturday, March 11, UConn will face-off against #24 Davenport (2-0). The Panthers finished 2016 with a 15-1 regular season record and made it all the way to the finals of the CCLA tournament before bowing out to Michigan State.

On Sunday, March 12, the Huskies will face-off against #1 Georgia Tech (5-0). The Yellow Jackets finished 2016 with a 14-0 regular season record, were the SELC tournament champions, and advanced all the way to the semi-finals of the 2016 MCLA National Championships powered by Under Armour. Georgia Tech earned the top ranking in the most recent Under Armour MCLA Coaches Poll for the first time in program history.

This will be the first ever match-up against Davenport for UConn and only the second time facing Georgia Tech (the first match up was a 12-5 Yellow Jackets win back in 2003). The Huskies return a strong group for this season and were projected to finish third in the Pioneer Collegiate Lacrosse League preseason poll. The #18 ranked Huskies finished 2016 with a 10-2 regular season record and advanced to the finals of the PCLL conference tournament.

“We have two big challenges to start the season” UConn Coach Marc Paolini said. “Davenport and Georgia Tech have a lot of offensive weapons, many returning experienced players and both teams are extremely well coached” he added.

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2017 Captains Named

Six Captains to Lead UConn in 2017

STORRS, Conn. - The UConn men's lacrosse team and head coach Marc Paolini have named six captains for the 2017 season. Voted on by their peers, the hexad features four midfielders, one attackman, and one defenseman. Quincy Pecora, Blake Feagles, Chris Reilly, Chris Faherty, John Takita, and Alex Gallaer will look to lead UConn through a rigorous out-of-conference schedule as well as a tough five game conference slate. 

“UConn has never had this many captains before, but we have also never had this many qualified young men to lead a team” said coach Paolini, who is entering his fifth year on the UConn staff and second as Head Coach. "Each of these six players provide tremendous, yet different, leadership styles, and they all possess the qualities that we want in our players both on and off the field."

A senior midfielder, Blake Feagles (Ridgewood, NJ), is the Huskies number one guy at faceoff . "Blake is athletic, strong and a relentless competitor," said Paolini. "Blake had a good year at the X in 2016, and we're counting on him to carry that over and be even better this coming spring."

Hailing from Hamden, CT, senior Chris Faherty had a great season last year. Faherty is an intelligent and intense defensive midfielder and  a leader among the defensive group. “His ability to play at full intensity is also an emotional standard for the team” said Paolini.

A junior midfielder, Quincy Pecora (North Haven, CT) returns as one of the Huskies top offensive leaders. "I don't think there is a more unselfish athlete in the midfield than Quincy" said Paolini. "Quincy is a great person, and he's turned in to a really well rounded midfielder, who can score off the dodge or find the wide open man off a double team" added Paolini.

Junior defenseman Alex Gallaer is out of Joel Barlow High School in Redding, CT. "Gallaer has been a leader since he got here as a freshman," Paolini said, "He's got a very high lacrosse IQ, and makes our defense work. He's great for some of the younger guys because he gets it. He's always out there making his teammates better”.

John Takita from Brien McMahon High School (Norwalk, CT), is a three-year starter on attack and a player who draws the top defenseman each week.  He led by example with his play on attack in the fall and he has a solid work ethic that helps set the tone for the entire group. "On offense, our team starts and goes with the play of Takita," said Paolini.

Senior midfielder Chris Reilly rounds out the group. Reilly, a product of New Milford (CT) High School, will be captaining the team for a second straight season. "Reilly is one of our most reliable and veteran players at that position," said Paolini. "Not only is he a good 1-on-1 defender, he's very good in transition as well".

The 2017 PCLL conference season “Will be a complete running of the gauntlet having to face teams like Boston College, New Hampshire, Northeastern, Buffalo and Rhode Island” said Paolini. "Our mission is to win the PCLL Championship. We have lots of other team goals that will certainly help towards winning and earning distinction nationally, but the main focus is on the PCLL."

The UConn Huskies open their 2017 schedule on the road against Davenport on March 11th at Roe Stamps Field on the campus of Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia.

UConn Men's Lacrosse Adds Coaches for 2016-2017 Season

A native of Middletown, Conn. Coach Lombardo graduated from Seton Hall University and brings a wealth of coaching experiences from around the state of Connecticut to Storrs. Prior to UConn, Lobmardo served as the head lacrosse coach at Xavier (Middletown), Daniel Hand (Madison), and Avon High Schools with several of his former players going on to play at the Division I level. He is also the Co-Director of Wounded Warrior Project Lacrosse for Team CT.  Coach Lombardo is a member of the Board of Directors for Middletown Youth Lacrosse and teaches English at Avon High School.

Casey Dowd - The Madison, Conn. native was selected by the Rochester Rattlers of Major League Lacrosse in 2015. The Siena College graduate ranked fifth nationally in groundballs per game (8.07) during his senior year and completed one of the most productive careers at the faceoff X in NCAA history. He currently stands tied for fifth all-time in NCAA Division I history in groundballs (472) and sixth in faceoffs won (772).

Dowd appeared in 62 career games manning the face-off unit for the Saints and helped guide the program to the 2014 MAAC Championship and an NCAA Tournament appearance as well as a pair of regular season titles (2012, 2014). Dowd was named the MAAC Faceoff Specialist of the Year during the Saints' title run his junior season in which he broke his own program and MAAC record with 151 groundballs which was the 15th highest single-season total in NCAA Division I history. Dowd’s primary role will be working with the face-off unit.

Ronnie Tamburo - Highly respected by his teammates for his hard work and dedication to the program, Ronnie Tamburo (UConn ’16) was the first ever recipient of the Harvey Stoler award. After graduating from UConn with a specialized degree in Athletic Performance and Health, Tamburo is currently a Strength & Conditioning intern at Fairfield University. “In the 4 years that I have been around the men’s lacrosse team, the program has only gotten better year after year. I am excited to work daily with the next generation of Huskies in practice every day and have them learn from my experiences” he added. Tamburo’s primary role will be working with the goalies.

From L to R: Casey Dowd, Jeff Lombardo, Ronnie Tamburo

STORRS, Conn. – UConn Men’s lacrosse head coach Marc Paolini is proud to announce the additions of Jeff Lombardo, Casey Dowd, and Ronnie Tamburo to the coaching staff.  We are very excited to have Lombaro, Dowd and Tamburo join UConn Nation," said coach Paolini. "All three are substantial additions with their impressive work ethics, proven lacrosse backgrounds, and will bring tremendous energy to the program".

Jeff Lombardo – Coach Lombardo has been elevated to full-time assistant coach for the 2016-2017 season and will be in charge of running the offense. Coming off an impressive first season last year, Coach Lombardo helped guide UConn to a 10-2 regular season record as well as helping the Huskies reach the finals of the Pioneer Lacrosse League (PCLL) tournament.
UConn Men's Lax Sweeps the South
Orlando, FL - The University of Connecticut men’s lacrosse team traveled to the campus of Central Florida in Orlando with a weekend of perfect temperatures and perfect results recording three wins to begin the 2016 season. "I think the team knew what going 3-0 would mean for the program, especially our captains." said UConn Men’s Head Coach Marc Paolini.

Amid the 10,000 supporters who flooded the campus trying to get into CFE arena for a raucous rally for Republican frontrunner Donald Trump on Saturday (3/5), there were no delays to the start of UConn’s first game at RWC Park. Despite having to adjust from practicing in snow two weeks ago in Connecticut to the heat of the Florida sun, UConn was able to pull out a 10-8 victory in the first game of the weekend. UConn junior Quincy Pecora had an impressive offensive weekend (seven goals in three games). Pecora, along with freshman Matt Crowe and sophomores Brett LeClair and Brian Whooley led the way for the Huskies with two goals each against UCF. Sophomores Ben Hamel and Dan Baird also contributed one goal apiece for UConn.

On Sunday afternoon (3/6), in a 12-2 win against USF, Leclair led the day in points for the Huskies scoring three goals to go along with two assists. Not to be outdone, also scoring three goals on the day was Pecora. Additionally, UConn received one goal scoring contributions from Max Boggini, Jeff Campbell, Richard Rorick III, Chris Faherty, and Richie Miller.
On Monday night (3/7), the toughest test of the early season came against #6 ranked Virginia Tech. Looking to build off the first PCLL conference title and first MCLA National Tournament appearance from 2015, UConn knew that had a great opportunity to make a statement in 2016.

Virginia Tech Senior LSM Andrew Lohmann was selected by his teammates to wear #8 for the game against UConn in memory of teammate Alex Hable. VA Tech opened the scoring in the game to take an early 1-0 lead. UConn's Whooley tied the game at one which was followed by a goal from junior Pecora to give UConn a 2-1 lead. In the second quarter, VA Tech’s potent offense tied the game at two and then 11 seconds later scored on the very next face-off to take a 3-2 lead.

"When we went down 2-3 early in the second our guys kept working, they kept fighting.  A great team like VA Tech can take the game over at any time, I'm proud of the way our guys responded." said UConn coach Paolini. UConn responded with two goals of their own by junior Ryan Walker and sophomore Ben Hamel to take a 4-3 lead into halftime.

UConn’s defense led by sophomore Alex Gallaer, junior Shawn Dunster, and junior Mitch Glasgow came alive in the second half. The entire UConn defensive, combined with the LSM’s and stellar goalie play of freshman Dominick Serio (16 saves), kept the Hokies off the scoreboard during the entire third quarter. Meanwhile during the third quarter, UConn junior John Takita and freshman Matt Crowe scored one goal each to increase the UConn lead to 6-3.

In the fourth quarter UConn’s Pecora and Whooley both scored their second goals of the game to bring UConn’s lead up to 8-3. VA Tech would find the back of the net again with 8:03 left in the fourth quarter and added another to make the final score an 8-5 UConn victory.

"It's a great win for the program, something we need to build on.  We can enjoy it for a little while and then get back to work as we still have a long season ahead of us.” added UConn coach Paolini.


 

Head Coach Paul Scordato Steps Down, Marc Paolini Promoted

4 June 2015
 
Storrs, CT – Paul Scordato, the head men’s lacrosse coach at UConn since 2011, is stepping down after four seasons with the Huskies. Marc Paolini, an assistant under Scordato for the last three seasons, and the team’s Defensive Coordinator, has been promoted to Head Coach. My time and experience with the team, coaches, parents and alumni over the years has been one of the most rewarding parts of my life,” said Scordato. “I know for sure that as the years go by I will look back and be happy that I was part of such a great program and will be truly satisfied that I did everything I could to help it be a better program. I will always treasure the love and respect I developed with each player over the years. I will truly miss coaching the UConn Lacrosse Program.” 

Scordato leaves UConn as the team’s winningest coach in the club era with a 36-18 record in four seasons. He produced an MCLA All-American in each of his four seasons as well as 26 All-Conference players, 2 Conference Offensive Players of the Year, 2 Defensive Players of the Year, 1 Rookie of the Year and was named the 2012 PCLL Coach of the Year. On the field he led the program to a number of firsts; including the team’s first ever win over Boston College, first PCLL Championship, and first trip to the MCLA National Tournament. Off the field Scordato worked tirelessly to engage alumni and parents as well as bring speakers to campus that would inspire his players, most notably Captain Richard Phillips in 2014.

Succeeding Scordato will be Assistant Coach and Defensive Coordinator Marc Paolini. Paolini was a defensive standout at Daniel Hand High School located in Madison, CT as well as a team captain and three year starter. After high school Paolini went on to coach at his alma mater where he would be named Associate Head Coach. During Paolini's tenure at Daniel Hand the Tigers enjoyed several standout seasons including a 2006 team that went 20-2 and was ranked number two in the state.
Hired as an assistant coach in 2012 the UConn defense has seen marked improvement during Paolini’s tenure. He has produced multiple Defensive All-Conference Players, Defensive Players of the Year and All-Americans. Under Paolini UConn teams have consistently ranked near the top of the conference in Goals Against Average, highlighted by a 2013 season where the Huskies only allowed one opponent to score double digits in 14 games.

"I hope to build upon the work of Coach Scordato and continue to make our team something the alumni and university can be proud of,” said Paolini. "What the team did this past season was historic. We want to continue that success and turn it into a standard that we work towards every season." Both Paolini and the players are looking forward to the next chapter of UConn Men’s Lacrosse. “In the past few years Coach Paolini has proven how much he cares about UConn Lacrosse,” said Senior Captain Jack Tesoriero . “We look forward to building on our previous success and having an even better 2016 season.”

UConn Men's Lacrosse wins 2015 PCLL Championship

3 May 2015
 
Providence, RI – Led by three seniors, the UConn Men’s Lacrosse team won the 2015 PCLL Conference with a 9-2 victory over the (#1 seed) University of New Hampshire on Sunday evening. UConn was the #3 seed entering the two-day conference tournament at Stevenson Field on the campus of Brown University.
 
In the championship game, senior midfielder Archie Sullivan (West Hartford, CT) led the UConn offense with two goals while sophomore Ryan Walker (Glastonbury, CT) contributed two assists in the victory. On the defensive side, senior defenseman Pierce Bushby (Fairfield, CT) took over face-off duty and also anchored the stellar defensive performance which held New Hampshire scoreless in the second half. Senior goaltender Brendan Helberg (Newington, CT) made 22 saves helping to secure the win for the Huskies.
 
The night before UConn won a thrilling 7-6 semi-final game over rival (and #2 seed) Northeastern. In that game Sophomore John Takita (Norwalk, CT) led the way with a game high 3 goal performance while senior goaltender Brendan Helberg (Newington, CT) delivered another spectacular 16 save performance that including a heart-stopping game winning save on a last second shot by Northeastern that would have sent the game into overtime.
 
The 2015 PCLL conference title was the first in team history for the UConn Huskies. With the win, UConn Men’s Lacrosse earned an automatic qualifying birth to the 16 team MCLA National Championship tournament to be held in Southern California (May 11th - 16th) and will enter the tournament as the #15 seed. UConn will face the #2 Arizona State in the first round on May 11th. For the complete tournament brackets, game schedules and broadcast links, visit the MCLA web site: www.mcla.us

West Texas A&M to Host lacrosse event

19 February 2015
 
By Tyler Anderson
tyler.anderson@amarillo.com
 
CANYON, Texas – This weekend, the fastest game on two feet is coming to a field near you. Starting on Saturday, four of the top club lacrosse squads in the nation will descend upon West Texas A&M University as Colorado, Colorado State, Connecticut and Texas State will take to The Pitch in Canyon in the inaugural West Texas Lacrosse Showcase. “Kyle Northrup contacted me to gauge our interest, and I thought it would be a terrific opportunity for us to showcase lacrosse in our community,” WT athletic director Michael McBroom said. “It is a very exciting sport and is one of the fastest growing high school sports in Texas. Once we agreed to host the event, we worked directly with Michael Brand, the associate head coach at Texas State, who invited the teams and has coordinated the logistics.”
 
Northrup, an Amarillo resident who played lacrosse at Texas Tech, has been instrumental in bringing the West Texas Showcase to life. Along with wanting to bring lacrosse to West Texas, Northrup said he has built lacrosse at Texas State and Trinity University in San Antonio along with coaching the two programs. “I was approached this past fall by Michael Brand, the coach at Texas State, and this was a great place for them to meet Colorado State and Colorado University halfway to set games up for them to play,” Northrup said. “We chose to make this an opportunity to try to grow lacrosse in the West Texas area at the same time.”
 
This move to host the tournament was to alleviate the lack of support for lacrosse in the Texas Panhandle, Northrup said.
“As far as the sport growing in West Texas, it has not grown any in the last 20 years,” Northrup said. “We’re making this as an opportunity as a stepping stone to try to get the sport of lacrosse out there and get some public knowledge for it and see what kind of interest it generates here, because it has just boomed in the South Texas area.” Northrup said more than 20 former Texas Tech lacrosse players reside in the Texas Panhandle.
 
Meanwhile, McBroom said WT will keep a close eye on the West Texas Showcase. McBroom said lacrosse may start up at WT by the end of the decade. “WT athletics is considering adding lacrosse as an NCAA varsity team sport in either the 2017-18 or 2018-19 season, competing at the Division II level,” McBroom said. “As an NCAA Division II school, we would compete with several of the Colorado schools that already have the sport or are in the process of adding it. I also anticipate other Lone Star Conference schools will add the sport over the next decade.”
 
On Saturday, the Texas State Bobcats and Colorado Buffaloes will start the showcase at 11 a.m., followed by a free clinic at 1:30 p.m. The day wraps up with UConn and Colorado State meeting at 2:30 p.m.
 
On Sunday, Colorado and UConn will meet at 10:30 a.m., followed by Texas State and Colorado State at 1 p.m.

Brush With Greatness

 March 12, 2014|By MIKE ANTHONY, manthony@courant.com, The Hartford Courant
 
Nine days after attending the Academy Awards in Hollywood, merchant mariner Richard Phillips was in Storrs, reuniting with friend Paul Scordato and giving a speech about his life — and lacrosse — to about 75 people.
 
Phillips is the now-famous” Captain Phillips." The film of the same name, starring Tom Hanks, is based on Phillips' book, "A Captain's Duty. Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS and Dangerous Days at Sea."
 
Phillips is also a former classmate and teammate of UConn men's lacrosse coach Paul Scordato at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Scordato, in his third season as coach of UConn's club program, arranged for Tuesday's on-campus event.
 
"I was an engineer major and he was a deck major," Scordato said. "We were buddies, shipmates and teammates. We hadn't spoken in about 30 years but once I got his contact information he was more than happy to come. He's an A speaker."
 
Phillips was held hostage for five days by three armed pirates, who were killed by Navy SEAL snipers.
 
The UConn lacrosse team is 2-0 with victories over Coast Guard and Rhode Island and next plays Thursday at New Haven. For more information on the team, visit uconnlacrosse.com.

UConn Wins 2013 Muscle Milk Beanshot Tournament

Boston Cannons and Muscle Milk® Team Up For the Second Annual Beanshot Lacrosse Tournament
 
BOSTON, Mass. (June 18, 2013)—Muscle Milk® has teamed up with the Boston Cannons of Major League Lacrosse (MLL) to host the second annual Muscle Milk Beanshot college lacrosse tournament. 
 
This New England tradition features men’s programs from Northeastern (the reigning champions), Boston University, the University of New Hampshire and the University of Connecticut who will vie for the cup in the one-day tournament on Friday, June 21 at Harvard Stadium.
 
The Muscle Milk Beanshot will consist of two semi-final matches and one championship match to decide who has the best club team in the Northeast. The semifinal matches will start at 2 p.m. with the championship kicking off at 5 p.m. on the field at Harvard Stadium.
 
“The Cannons are excited to once again team up with Muscle Milk to host the second annual Muscle Mile Beanshot college lacrosse tournament,” said Boston Cannons General Manager Kevin Barney.   “Showcasing four top college programs prior to the Cannons game provides even more value to our fans coming out on June 21.  The Cannons’ mission is to grow the game of lacrosse at all levels in New England and partnering with Muscle Milk for this event is a great way to bring youth, college and professional lacrosse together.”
 
The tournament featured fellow PCLL members Northeastern, University of New Hampshire and Boston University.  The games were played at Harvard University prior to the Boston Cannons game against the New York Lizards.  Congrats to the UConn Huskies.

Making Sense: Scordato's Return Boosts UConn

23 April 2012
by Jac Coyne | LaxMagazine.com |
 
Back in the early 1980s, Paul Scordato was the head coach at New Haven when the Chargers were a varsity team. He had good success with the program, so much so that he was offered the head job at Division I Vermont. It was at this point that his soon-to-be wife uttered a couple of questions that would change Scordato's life. What's this coaching thing? Aren't you going to get a real job? Scordato turned down the Vermont gig and entered the private sector, his wife smiling all the while. "From that day, I've always regretted it and wondered where I would have wound up if I went there," Scordato said. Thirty years later, Scordato is taking another stab at the coaching ranks, but this time with University of Connecticut, which operates in the MCLA Division I. It would seem that Scordato hasn't lost any of his coaching acumen, as the Huskies have posted a 9-2 record and are ranked No. 14 in the country.
 
Scordato was hired in the offseason partly because he had an extensive background in the Xs and Os of the game to maximize the UConn roster that is dripping was talent. What put him over the top was the ideas he had to reconnect the program with the parents, alums and even to the school itself, to some degree. "They wanted to enhance their program and bring it to another level," said Scordato. "I did that at New Haven, which had won four games in two years. I basically just started to recruit better student-athletes and turned the record around. I got the parents involved, got the alumni involved and did some fundraising. I knew the formula. A lot of people have come up to me and said, 'Listen, where the program was last year and this year, it's like a 180 degree turnaround.' I'm hearing a lot of positive constructive criticism and reinforcing comments from the parents, as well. That's a good indicator."
Travis Church, the president of the team, has noticed that the graduates are becoming more invested in the program, figuratively and literally.
 
"There has always been alumni involvement, but this year Coach Scordato has really made it a project to get the parents and alumni involved more than in the past," Church said. "Usually you just graduate UConn and maybe you donated a couple of things to the team or bought some gear. But this year we've had a really good alumni faction at all of our games and we've had a couple of alumni games. I think this year, more than previous years, the alumni has been much more involved with the team." Scordato said he received a call recently from the school's development office informing him that an alum had written a sizeable check and earmarked it for the men's lacrosse team. "He said he was just thrilled with how the program has turned around and he sent a significant amount of money," Scordato said. The push to co-opt the alums and parents is never easy, but it's a lot simpler when you are winning games. From 2008-11, the Huskies were a combined 21-22, including last year's 5-7 campaign. With UConn on the cusp of a 10-win regular season and the very real potential for a bid to nationals, there are good vibes all around. Scordato is doing it with a micro approach to the game.
 
"He really focuses on doing all of the small things perfectly," said Church. "You can have fancy shots and you can rip a corner going 90 miles an hour, but if you don't fight and box out for the ground balls or hustle to the end line to back up a shot or make the perfect pass, it's those small things that ultimately lead to goals. He's really been harping on us to perfect our basics so our skills can shine."
There is certainly skill on the team, and the roster is loaded with guys who transferred in from varsity programs like St. John's and Providence along with some of the nearby Division III schools. All Scordato had to do was get the players to, as he says, "Drink the Kool-Aid." "The first day they met me, they thought, 'Who is this overweight, balding guy,'" Scordato said. "I put the BC score up on the board and I said, 'All we're going to do is reverse the score. We're going to start doing the small things that good teams do to win games.' We've been preaching that stuff and they are all buying into it. They know that there is a formula to winning these big, tough games. UConn had never beat BC, and when I played, I never personally beat them, so I wanted to whoop on them pretty good."
 
UConn did, thrashing the 16th-ranked Eagles, 11-5. Junior Kevin Canavan, who had four goals and an assist in the BC win, wasn't sure what to make of Scordato when the coach initially signed on. An Under Armour All-American who had offers from several D-I programs before picking UConn, Canavan has embraced Scordato's approach. "He's a pretty quirky kind of guy," said Canavan, who leads the Pioneer Collegiate Lacrosse League in scoring with 38 goals. "He definitely comes from heart. He loves the game, which is obvious, and he sees us all as family. It's definitely worth listening to him talk because he really does mean what he is saying. He is not afraid to speak his mind about what is going on, which is great because he lets us know what we're playing for."
 
"They believe that if they put their mind to it and commit to a certain level, they'll be rewarded," said Scordato. "It is very easy to say that we're just a club team and this really isn't that important. I made them believe that it is very important and they can put that bar a little higher everyday and improve every day. They see that. They see what they are capable of doing. They do have a different swagger. It is a blue-collar swagger that they are using to get up for the games. We're not a very fancy team, but we just get the job done because we do the small things better than the teams that we're playing." Scordato has managed to do this in his first year. He hasn't fully implemented his alumni and fundraising goals, and he hasn't even hit the recruiting trail, which was his specialty when Scordato coached at New Haven. "I just played with the cards I was dealt," he said of the 50 players he kept on the roster this spring. As such, it would appear that this is just the start of a resurgence for a proud program that had fallen on hard times.
 
For Scordato, it marks the return to a sport that he was forced to walk away from 30 years ago. If the Huskies can help it, he won't be walking away a second time.