By Andrew Chirico
Being selected as a captain for the men’s lacrosse team isn’t just having your name circled on a piece of paper. It’s a careful process that Head Coach Jeff Shirk puts every member through.
This year’s captains will include senior long-stick midfielder Zachary Kelly, junior attackman Tanner Barbieri, and junior defenseman Tim Hickey.
Shirk explained how each captain brings something different to the table. “Kelly is vocal, Barbieri leads by example, and Hickey is as competitive a person that I have ever been around. Put all three together and you have a group of Captains who are saying the right things, doing the right things, and focused on outcomes,” he said.
As the sole senior in a leadership role, Kelly always had the ambition of earning this position. His goal is to redirect the team back to where it was his freshman season.
“I want to contribute in moving the program in the right direction for seasons to come and leave it the way I found it,” said Kelly. “My freshmen year we dominated Centennial Conference play and went to the semifinals of the NCCA tournament and after two unsuccessful years I definitely want to push everyone to compete at the highest level and get better every day so we can accomplish those goals we have as a team of playing at the highest level.”
Hickey hasn’t ever seen a junior serve as a captain, and looks to step into a larger role of being a ‘lead by example’ player. The type of culture that he looks to bring is a unique one.
“When you see a guy giving everything he has, it inspires you to do the same. In other words, by giving 100 percent in all aspects of training or playing, you set that standard for everyone else on the team,” Hickey said. “Above all else, I am looking to establish a ‘win at all costs’ mentality. There were a lot of games last year that could have gone either way, and we lost more of them than we should have. We have a lot of talent on this team, and if everyone buys in to that mentality, we can be very successful.”
Barbieri feels that actions are louder than words. “I think it’s most important to do rather than say or talk about things. Its about competing and making tough plays to have your teammates back,” he said.
Although in the offseason, Barbieri looks to do anything he can to make the team the best possible team it can be.
“It’s all about the team. One thing we’ve been focusing on a lot lately is the process it takes to achieve our ultimate goal, competing for a championship,” he said. “I think consistency, doing the little things, and confidence are important things. And right now we’re focusing on the process to achieve our ultimate goal.”
The selection process for captains is a long, thoughtful chain of events.
“The way we select captains is a little bit of a process. First we meet in groups by class. During those meetings we discuss the qualities that make an effective leader and some of the things that make leaders ineffective. We then schedule an individual meeting with each of the guys on the team,” said Shirk. “At the end of their individual meeting they get two votes for captain. They have to to give me a name and explain why they are voting for that person. The idea is that this forces guys to put more thought into their vote.”
Shirk explained how this is just the beginning for the three players
“But now the real work begins and they will find out quickly that it never ends,” he said. “We can always improve in everything we do and their is always something more that can be done.”