Most serious athletes have some type of ritual that they go through on game day. Sometimes it’s clothing, like a lucky sock. Wade Boggs was famous for eating a whole chicken before his games. Even for me, during my high school soccer days, I would eat two McDonald’s cheeseburgers before games.
This past Memorial Day weekend, I was on the road once again with the Tufts men’s lacrosse team as they sought to defend their national championship title from last year. I decided to try something different for pregame this time around, having shot a bunch of the guys applying eye black in the locker room last time. While the guys were going through their pregame routines, I snapped a quick headshot portrait of each of the guys who wear eye black as they were getting themselves in the zone. Lacrosse helmets being what they are, pregame is really the only opportunity to see any faces before the whistle blows.
Each one of their faces was slightly different with their designs. Some listened to music, others paced the room, and some just sat in quiet meditation at their lockers — Whatever it takes to get mentally prepared for the biggest game of their college careers.
I guess it worked, because this time, the Jumbos won big time, 19-11, in a national championship game that was only close for one half of the first quarter. More on that in a later blog post. In the meantime, check out these portraits.
05/25/2014 – Baltimore, Md. – Nate Marchand, A14, pumps up his teammates in the locker room before taking the field in Tufts' 12-9 win over Salisbury to win the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse National Championship game at M&T Bank Stadium on May 25, 2014. (Kelvin Ma/Tufts University) (Kelvin Ma/Tufts University)
It’s been a bit of a tradition as of late at Tufts where Commencement season also culminates with an NCAA Championship run for one of our sports teams. As it so happened this past Memorial Day weekend, Tufts had three teams competing for their respective crowns.
My assignment was to follow the Jumbos men’s lacrosse team as it traveled to Baltimore to compete for the NCAA Division III National Championship against Salisbury. The men’s lacrosse team has been no stranger to the national stage, having won the National Championship in 2010 and losing in the title game in 2011. They played Salisbury both times, as well, so the 2014 tilt would at least break the tie for the series, at least for now.
The story for this crew came from its seniors, who were freshmen when they lost in 2011. Having had that taste, they were eager to come back and cap their college careers with a championship ring. The task would not be easy, though, as Salisbury had the pedigree of 10 National Championships. At least that’s what everyone was supposed to think.
The supposed underdogs, the Jumbos took care of business in the title game. Playing the first half to a tie, but exploding after adjustments at the intermission with a 7-1 run in the third quarter and never looking back.
I spent quite a bit of time on the road in Wisconsin last week, thanks to a historic run to the NCAA Division III Final Four by the Tufts women’s basketball team. Having covered this team for the past few years, and seeing them knocking on the door for quite some time now, it was an honor to get the chance to tag along with them as they made it further in the tournament than any other team in school history.
03/19/2014- Stevens Point, Wisc. – The women's basketball team crams in to a photo booth during the team social event for the NCAA Division III Women's Final Four on Mar. 19, 2014. (Kelvin Ma/Tufts University) (Kelvin Ma/Tufts University)
I approached the coverage like a road diary for the team, chronicling everything that they did behind the scenes in addition to the game action. Unfortunately, the team’s first ever trip to the Final Four didn’t go their way as they lost to eventual-national champions FDU-Florham in the first game, but it clearly didn’t seem to phase these remarkable women as the seniors ended their careers by having a blast in the consolation game.
03/22/2014- Stevens Point, Wisc. – Tufts guard Liz Moynihan, A14, jokes around with teammates with the NCAA fourth-place trophy after their 72-54 loss to Wisconsin-Whitewater in the NCAA Division III Women's Final Four consolation game at Quandt Fieldhouse on Mar. 22, 2014. (Kelvin Ma/Tufts University) (Kelvin Ma/Tufts University)
It was an exhausting trip, with 5-straight 16 or longer-hour days, but hopefully I’ll be able to get enough rest to do it again next season!
To get a complete chronicle of everything that went down in Stevens Point, check out the Tufts women’s basketball page over at Tufts Athletics, or take a look at a slightly condensed gallery of my time in Wisconsin below.