Bucknell Better Equipped for Adversity
by Joel Censer | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online | Censer Archive
Bucknell junior Charlie Streep has moved from midfield to attack to carry the Bison offense.
Bucknell coach Frank Fedorjaka has some experience with heartache. In 2010, the Bison lost six games by a total of just seven goals, including one-goal heartbreakers to Duke and Patriot League rivals Lafayette, Navy and Army.
Whether it was defensive breakdowns in the last five minutes or costly turnovers in overtime, Bucknell consistently had trouble finishing out games.
"We found lots of different ways to lose," Fedorjaka said.
Dropping so many nailbiters, however, provided a reason (and time) to reflect. Fredorjaka came to see the Bison's end-of-game miscues as not the result of any Xs and Os or schematic problems, but a lack of mental and physical toughness.
This season, the Bison have paid more attention to detail and holding each other accountable for doing the little things. If someone's late to practice, doesn't touch the line on a sprint, gives up top side on defense or throws the ball side-armed instead of overhand, they can expect to do push-ups or run some more.
To drill this new approach into his guys, Fedorjaka brought a former Navy seal and a special ops officer to the Lewisburg, Pa. campus. The two ex-military guys put the team through two days of grueling workouts, forcing players to push through physical exhaustion.
"A light bulb went off on how to deal with adversity and how to not make excuses," Fedrojaka said. "It was worth every penny."
For the Bison, some personnel adjustments are required, most notably at attack, where leading scorer and four-year starter Austin Winter must be replaced. Look for Charlie Streep (23g, 12a), a talented offensive dynamo who spent last year at the midfield, to take over much of the ball-carrying responsibilities.
Streep, a junior, admitted there's a learning curve going from dodging from up top with a full head of steam to doing all that goes into being a "savvy attackman."
"I'm starting to come around," he said.
Streep will be likely joined on attack by senior floor general and finisher Ryan Klipstein (34g, 7a), while the midfield will be headlined by southpaw senior Mike Danylyshyn (20g, 9a) and junior Billy Eisenreich (10g, 9a).
Fortunately for the offense, Bucknell will benefit from plenty of extra possessions. Senior Jake Clarke (62 percent) is one of the premier faceoff guys in the country, while the defense returns everyone from a unit that ranked fourth in Division I in goals against average. Not to mention that Fedorjaka plans on breaking out a hellacious 10-man ride.
In a scrimmage last week, Bucknell's starters went even for two quarters against Virginia, providing a nice confidence boost before Saturday's regular season opener Saturday against Canisius at 2 p.m.
"We know we can run with anyone," Streep said. "It's about being able to execute. In the past, we've had the talent, but when the game's on the line, we've folded."