May 26, 2013

Le Moyne's Sheehan Ignores Redemptive Storylines

by Jac Coyne | LaxMagazine.com | Coyne Archive | Twitter | Live Blog Replay

Le Moyne coach Dan Sheehan deflected any talk about Sunday's title game win being a cathartic moment, given the Dolphins' stretch of three straight title game losses from 2008-10.
© Greg Wall

* Dolphins Fend Off Mercyhurst for National Title

PHILADELPHIA — The podium that Le Moyne coach Dan Sheehan sat at on Sunday afternoon looked very similar to the platform on which he faced the media after the Dolphins lost their third consecutive Division II national title game in 2010 in Baltimore. At that press conference, Sheehan was asked — in light of his recent struggles in the big game, losing three straight title tilts — if he needed to change anything up.

Sheehan was irked, and you could see it in his body language. He faced the music that day, but as he stood in the tunnel of Lincoln Financial Field after his Dolphins defeated Mercyhurst 11-10 on Sunday in a thrilling back-and-forth contest, he wasn't about to waste any time lingering on that stretch between 2008-10.

"I don't view it as about me," he said. "I'm pretty fortunate that my own children have opportunities to run around in a professional football venue and are able to be in the same locker room as Tom Brady. Once you have kids, you start looking at life in a different perspective.

"The opportunity to take those guys and give them an experience that not a lot of people get..." continued Sheehan. "It take some work on my part to remind myself that these guys are young adults that have an opportunity to do some special things. We also want more, and I want them off the lacrosse field to always want more. I've got no problems wanting to set that bar that high."

The bar has always been high. Lost in the talk of championship futility is the fact that Le Moyne had played in the last game of the season six times in a stretch of seven years — a feat that only Adelphi has accomplished. Sheehan was asked questions about what was wrong with Le Moyne in the 2010 presser, but he should have been asked about how he was doing so much right.

As such, getting back into the win column on Sunday wasn't some kind of cathartic moment for Sheehan or the program.

"Is this a weight off our shoulders? I don't think so," said Sheehan. "One of the things I told the guys in the locker room is I expect to be back here next year. It's kind of what we do. At least that's what gets me to drive to work in the morning."

With Sunday's win, Le Moyne not only snapped its drought in championship games, but also moved into a tie with NYIT for the second most crowns in Division II history. It's rarified air for a program, and also for the coach who has guided the Dolphins through all of its successes.

Dolphins Grind On Despite Injuries

When Cameron Fedish came out for the opening face for the Dolphins, it was a little surprising. Kam Bumpus had been the lead dog on draws all season for Le Moyne, however Fedish had been given plenty of opportunities, so the possibility of a little strategy by Sheehan's staff was a possibility, especially since Bumpus was dressed on the sideline.

But when Fedish finally was given a spell at the dot, it wasn't by Bumpus, but rather rookie Nick Kline. At that point it was pretty clear Bumpus was not going to be a factor in Sunday's victory. It showed in the stat sheet, as Mercyhurst won 17-of-25 draws on the day.

Bumpus was hurt last weekend in the Adelphi game, making him available on an extremely limited basis as an offensive middie.

"If people understood the extent of our injuries, they'd be shocked that we were able to patch this together for today's game," Sheehan said. "I think it also shows that my staff does an awesome job of preparing kids to get ready. If it's not for today, it's for tomorrow. And if it's not for tomorrow, it's next season.

And Sheehan made sure to point out that Kline — who came up with an important faceoff win in the third quarter — wasn't out there as a last resort.

"It wasn't because we didn't have any options. It's because he's going to be damn good," Sheehan said.


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