Mass. College Lax: Catching Up With Coach Degnan (Becker College)

By NoontimeSports.com 

The Becker College men’s lacrosse team is all about taking it one game at a time. Their motto has helped them earn a 7-1 record, their best start in program history.

The Hawks, who’re currently riding a six-game winning streak, will look to earn its eighth victory of the season tomorrow when they welcome Rivier University to Leicester for a 1 p.m. face-off.

Noontime Sports caught up with fourth-year head coach Shawn Degnan today to chat about the Hawks’ success thus far, as well as his outlook toward tomorrow’s game.

On defeating Norwich: “It was a huge victory for us with (Norwich) being the champions of the GNAC, the reigning champions of the conference, but (during) the final minutes, we knew they weren’t going to quit, so we really had to (turn up the intensity) and focus a little more to just hang onto the lead. Overall, it was a huge step in the right direction for our program and a huge win for our team.”

On what’s worked this season for the Hawks: “I think this year we benefited from some really good senior leadership. To be honest with you, I think the guys were getting sick of being in the ‘middle of the pack’ because they wanted to win. We set goals (during fall ball, as well as discussed) things we have to do to reach these goals, and like I have told them, ‘winning becomes contagious.’ It started with (beating) Emerson and then we had a tough loss against Mitchell, a game where we couldn’t seem to hit the net during the game, but after the loss to Mitchell the guys really came together and didn’t like the feeling of losing, so they’ve really given a good effort ever since.”

On turning the page from Mitchell: “After the film session and breakdown of the film, we started going through how we could (improve from the setback). We play (well) when we play as a team versus (playing) as a couple individuals and I think the kids really took to that (advice) and ever since that’s pretty much been our mindset. All of us are going to win together, but individually we’re going to have a tough time, so I think we’re all on the same page at this point and hopefully we can continue.”

On the game plan against Norwich: “We actually posted the amount of goals Norwich had scored (against us over the past few seasons) and our (totals) and it really stood out. It was like 67-20 or something like that and I think that resonated with the guys for a couple days before the Norwich game. (The game) was a challenge because of how good Norwich is and their record isn’t very good right now, but they’re a lot better than their record indicates. They’ve played some real tough competition, but that was kind of our rallying cry.”

On early conference wins: “It’s huge momentum, but the one good thing is we’re taking it one game at a time, so even though it was a great victory over Norwich, we have to get right to work against Rivier. They’re as tough as they come and they are the epitome of a blue-collar lacrosse team, they’re not a team that you can take lightly because you can then find yourself on the losing end. As soon as the Norwich game was over we just turned our attention to Rivier and I think that’s what we’re going to do (going forward).”

On the underclassmen’s impact: “Well, starting with David Deschenes, he’s a kid who picked up where he left off from his freshman year. He was solid last year, but this year he’s pretty much been unstoppable in the games we’ve played. This year, he’s looking to not just be a goal scorer, but also to be someone that distributes the ball and that’s a big step in the right direction for him to go.

“As for Daniel Johnson, he’s probably the most coachable kid that I have ever coached, he’s truly like a sponge. In practice, he works extremely hard. He’s gained some strength in the weight room and with his work ethic; he’s going to become a major problem for opposing defenses (going forward).

“And as for (our goaltender), Jeffrey Candee, I think he was an underrated kid from Daniel Hand (in Connecticut because) he kind of flew under the radar, but he has certainly excelled (here at Becker). He’s playing with confidence, he has a good demeanor about himself and doesn’t get (demoralized).”

On Saturday’s game against Rivier: “We’ve talked about matching their intensity. They may not have a large roster, but they really bring an incredible amount of intensity to the game. They (exhibit) a lot of effort, especially on the ground balls, so obviously we have to match them and go toe-to-toe with their ground balls and we have to make their goalie work. He’s a great goalie and we’re going to have to work hard to score on him.”

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