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Reviewing ‘The Season 2018’ Chapter 1: The Rise in Fall

Thoughts on the first installment of the season-long college lacrosse documentary.

The first part of the ten-part series “The Season 2018” dropped earlier today. You can watch the entire episode here. We recommend you do, because there’ll be some spoilers below:

I’ll begin with overall thoughts before going into the individual team segments. This will probably be the format of how these reviews will go throughout the duration of the series.

Overall Thoughts

  • This is off to a great start, and it’s what I expected to see. Players and coaches being interviewed, some of them mic’d up during practice (mainly coaches), and a narrator as well.
  • Camera shots were creative, and I think it looks like they may have used a drone? But I began to see the same shots that were already shown earlier in the episode later on. One example was the overhead shot of a player shooting at Syracuse and the jersey being put on. Both were shown at the intro, but were shown in longer length during the Syracuse segment. Maybe different shots next time and more b-roll in future episodes?
  • Really enjoyed the one-on-one with Austin Fusco walking to class along campus. Placing him somewhere outside the field and into what he does off the field gives viewers at home some kind of idea of the student part of student-athlete for college lacrosse players.
  • One thing I didn’t like was the voiceover voice. I get what STX was trying to do in getting STX athlete Kyle Harrison (from a former STX school in Johns Hopkins) to help with their series. But his voice that gave me a meh feeling. He did a great job with the voiceover, but he doesn’t have one of those deep baritone voices like James Earl Jones, Liev Schreiber, or even John Barchard. That’s just me.
  • It was all business for the most part in this episode. Hopefully as the year progresses and the teams get used to having a camera crew following them, maybe we start to see some funny moments like there are on “Hard Knocks.”
  • I was a little disappointed with the length for UNC’s segment. From 1:08 until 3:34, a span of about 2:24, it was the shortest team segment out of the four. It may have to do with the availability of the crew or the access the team gave the film crew, but I wish that was a little longer.

Let’s hit the team segments:

North Carolina Tar Heels (1:08 - 3:34)

  • UNC held their run test very early in the morning. Run tests usually signify the start of the season for most teams.
  • They were also the only team in their designated segment that didn’t do any lacrosse-related activities.
  • Head coach Joe Breschi stated that the concept of a season was like building a house.
  • Strength & Conditioning Coach Jason Beaulieu was mic’d throughout the run test. He seemed hype about it, not sleeping the night before. Also, “No better day to be a Heel baby!” He’s probably the best personality so far in this really short series.
  • Each run test across the country is different. But they’re all grueling, as players were hunched over with their teammates and their hands over their head.
  • Another reason to like Breschi: Giving his players support and motivation during the run test. He gave a couple guys fist pounds while they were resting.

Duke Blue Devils (3:35 - 6:38)

  • We find Duke practicing their fundamentals, which is what most teams are doing in the beginning.
  • Is there a sense of desperation amongst the Blue Devil seniors? Justin Guterding and his class have not been to Championship Weekend in their career, and the senior attackman mentioned it’s going to be challenging going into the season.
  • Duke’s motto, according to head coach John Danowski: “Embrace the Struggle.”
  • We learned about the Blue Devils’ football backgrounds of defensemen Cade Van Raaphorst and JT Giles-Harris. Giles-Harris played cornerback in football, which had the similar mentality and similar footwork he has now with college lacrosse. Danowski raved John Thomas’ IQ and thinks he’ll get better.

Ohio State Buckeyes (6:39 - 10:17)

  • We got a glimpse of the Buckeyes’ Wednesday box lacrosse practice. They’ve dedicated 12 Wednesdays to box lacrosse, and they’ll even do it during the preseason and regular season.
  • We saw some snippets of them practicing field lacrosse as well.
  • Head coach Nick Myers said it puts a microscope or spotlight on a player. He also had a great quote while play was going on: “You gotta get comfortable being uncomfortable. It’s a new skill for ya, gotta work on it.” He sees real takeaways from playing box lacrosse, which maybe why other schools have begun to do it as well.
  • Myers continued, saying what the team does in box have to be staples of what the team does on the field.
  • Oh, so now the Buckeyes wear their chrome domes. Why couldn’t they do that during the NCAA Tournament!?
  • Ohio State’s blueprint is slightly different than other blueprints across the country, as Myers explains, because it has very specific behaviors. Some of those behaviors help describe their “All In” motto for Buckeye lacrosse.
  • I love the soft guitar music and Myers giving his end of practice speech when he has to interrupt himself and make sure guys in the back are paying attention. Don’t sleep on Nick Myers! He also wasn’t happy with the team’s stick and ground ball work.

Syracuse Orange (10:18 - 13:44)

  • Right from the start of the segment, Harrison reads the Orange have 10 national championships. It’s 11! That’s why you don’t have Hopkins grads on when it involves Syracuse!
  • The discussion about the No. 22 jersey not being given out is the big storyline for the Orange in the episode. Head coach John Desko has held it for the time being to see who the team is and to see if there are any possible candidates out there. Desko mentioned to find the right personality for the jersey.
  • Can Nate Solomon not smile? He smiles a lot, but he actually gave a serious face when discussing the history of the No. 22 jersey.
  • From the No. 22 to the No. 11 jersey, the Orange still have a leader, except on the defensive side. It’s junior long stick midfielder Austin Fusco. This is where probably the best part of the episode comes in, walking to class near the Hall of Languages and on the “Quad.”
  • Fusco complements the senior leaders and them leaving the program in a better place than where they found it.

Top 5 Screengrabs

Let’s count down the top screengrabs from the first chapter. They can easily become lacrosse memes when the season hits.

But first, two honorable mentions:

#5:

#4:

#3:

#2:

And #1: