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College Crosse Prospectus: New Crossecast; Profiles on Virginia’s Williams, Denver’s French

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GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD MORNING, College Crosse Nation!! Thanks for making us a part of your day! Here are your links for April 27, 2017!

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Our latest Crossecast is up!

Holy Cross and BU won their Patriot League Quarterfinal matchups.

Lacrosse The Nation

Check out the latest Princeton Laxcast with BOSS Matt Madalon!

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Plenty of great articles on the web today. First, Zed Williams is finishing up his career with the Cavaliers, from Jeff White of VirginiaSports.com.

Wendy and Dan Williams drove away confident Dom Starsia and Marc Van Arsdale, then the head men's lacrosse coach and associate head coach at UVA, respectively, would help their son navigate unfamiliar territory. They saw their faith rewarded.

Starsia and Van Arsdale left the University after the 2015-16 academic year, but Williams had come too far to turn back. Next month, he'll become the first member of his family to graduate from a four-year college. He's no longer the unsure young man who throughout his first year at UVA doubted he'd ever graduate.

"I've [gained] so much knowledge, and I continue to learn here," Wiliams said. "But not just that. [UVA] helped mold me into who I am today. When I came here, I would say I was not a positive person, but I came out of here a different person. I always think positive and see the bigger picture in life."

There have been setbacks and heartache along the way. At the end of his first year at UVA, Williams was placed on academic probation. He worked his way back into good standing academically and hoped his father, the head of an extraordinarily tight-knit family, would see him walk the Lawn. But Dan Williams, who had been in declining health, died unexpectedly late last month.

A great profile on Denver sophomore Austin French, pens Mike Chambers of the Denver Post.

Off the field, he serves in a leading role with his family. He’s a brother and now father-figure to Cole French, a future DU goalie. The boys’ father, Todd French, passed away Jan. 30, 2015, after a four-year battle with lung cancer. Todd, a non-smoker, was a prominent football and lacrosse coach to his sons — before high school and during Austin’s first three years at San Ramon Valley High — as well as the entire community.

Todd was cremated in his coaching gear and his ashes were spread on San Ramon’s stadium field, where his memorial service was held in front of thousands of mourners.

“He was a very influential character in our entire community in Danville,” Austin said of his father, who was 48. “So when he passed, the whole entire sports community — including our rival high schools — rallied around him. It was a really big deal, because he touched so many lives through coaching. He passed right before my senior season of lacrosse and the big thing for my team was to win our North Coast Section for my dad. My team really rallied around that, the reason why we practiced so hard and why we ended up winning it. It was really emotional.”

DU recruited Austin French when he was a junior at San Ramon, when his dad coached from the sideline in a wheelchair. He was too ill to stand.

Over at Villanova, seniors Danny Sweeney and Jack Curran have taken leadership roles as the Wildcats look for a bid in the NCAA Tournament, from Christian Swezey for Inside Lacrosse.

Yet some of the most important work by Sweeney and Curran has happened off the field. As senior leaders, both took a vocal role after the Wildcats lost their season opener as part of an 0-3 start.

The 10 seniors and four fifth-year seniors (Sweeney is a senior, Curran is a fifth-year senior enrolled in graduate school) held a meeting after the slow start in which every senior spoke. They then met with the rest of the team.

“It was a big team meeting; every senior said something,” Sweeney says. “I looked my teammates in the eye and said that in my time here we haven’t had a signature win. We’ve had great teams but haven’t been able to put it all together for a big win. Let’s get a couple significant wins and get the ball rolling.”

Sweeney also has taken a hands-on role in the 10-game spurt. The lineup changes included putting him alongside a pair of freshmen on close defense, Zachary Kryza (Iona Prep, N.Y.) and Pat Kennedy (West Morris Central, N.J.). Both starting shortstick defenders also are young — sophomore TJ Comizio and freshman Connor Kirst (Delbarton, N.J.).

“We kind of thrust him into a leadership role,” [Mike] Corrado says. “Part of it is a senior thing. He looked around and realized he had a couple freshmen next to him.”

Matt Hamilton of US Lacrosse Magazine previews this week’s Ivy League matchup between Cornell and Princeton, but more importantly Jeff Teat against Michael Sowers in a battle of top freshmen in the country.

With such an illustrious background, freshmen like Cornell’s Jeff Teat learned quickly the importance of the lacrosse program on campus.

“It’s a team like I’ve never been on before,” he said. “You could sense the tradition right away. The way everyone goes about their workouts and playing lacrosse, and going to classes, you could sense it right off the bat.”

As storied as the programs are, this year’s Princeton-Cornell matchup will feature one of the most unique individual matchups in the history of the rivalry. Princeton’s Michael Sowers and Teat sit in first and third, respectively, for the most points scored by a freshman in Ivy League history.

Sowers, who passed former Cornell star Rob Pannell’s 67 points on the all-time list, has 70 points on 33 goals and 37 assists in his first season with the Tigers. Teat, who has 57 points in his past nine game — seven better than Sowers — has 60 points on the season and could tie Pannell with a strong showing Saturday.

“Just to be mentioned in the same sentence as Rob Pannell is an honor,” Sowers said. “It’s great being to do something like that. Rob is a guy that I looked up to and watched as many games as I could of his.”

Edward Lee of The Baltimore Sun notes the importance of Patrick Fraser on the Johns Hopkins man-up unit.

Fraser, who started seven games as a member of the first midfield but has since slid down to the second line, carved out his role for offensive coordinator Bobby Benson when he scored 11 man-up goals as a freshman in 2015. That experience was gratifying for the Massachusetts resident.

“I was really excited as a freshman to be able to find a role on the field,” he said. “There’s just been unbelievable players around me that take the attention off of me and throughout the years, we’ve been able to seamlessly transition guys in and out of our man-up. And the plays that Coach Benson makes up, they make it easy for me.”

Fraser has one of the hardest shots on the team from long-range distance, and that ability forces opposing defenses to pay attention to him.

An updated Inside Lacrosse Bracketology post.

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