In between graduation and moving out to San Diego I ran numerous clinics with my former coach from the University of Richmond, Sue Murphy, and several of my teammates. As Ive said before, my summer was jam packed with lacrosse mostly because of these clinics. We held clinics in Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut and New York and every stop was a great time. After spending my entire summer on the road, I let Sue know my time as Assistant Camp Director was done until I received a call a couple months ago and what do you know, Im back on board for one more clinic with Premier Lacrosse but this time Sue was coming to me. I am the youngest of a Richmond lax crew that lives and coaches lacrosse in San Diego so we rounded up the troops and planned a big reunion weekend.
On Thursday, Sue and her assistant coach, Allison Nuzzi, who also serves as one of my best friends, were welcomed to San Diego by six former Spiders and the fun started from there. My teammates and I are like sisters and when you put two of us, let alone seven of us, in one place you are destined for a good time and lots of trips down memory lane. So the seven of us and our former coach took San Diego by storm. We went hiking, shopping, site seeing, dabbled in the night life a bit, and of course ran a coaches and players clinic.
Both clinics were a huge success despite the buckets of rain that poured down on us from the minute we stepped on the field. I, of course, confidently told our east coast visitors that it never rains in San Diego and boy was I wrong. A little rain never hurt anybody though and thankfully both the coaches and players were troopers through it all. I was hoping to get some pictures and footage of the clinic, but being that I was ringing out my clothing I am pretty sure my camera would not have survived, so I apologize for that.
We had about 15 coaches for the 90 players that signed up for the clinic, which was great. The coaches clinic ran from 9-12 a.m. filled with discussion on drills, philosophies and strategies. The players clinic ran from 1-5 p.m., four hours filled with instruction, play and demos by the staff. Each Richmond alumni was in charge of a group of about 15 girls for station work. We taught the girls everything we could in the amount of time we were allotted and from the response we received it seemed as though every player learned a lot. It was helpful that we had so many staff members on the same page seeing as though we played for the same coach at the same program for years. In between coaching sessions we brought everyone to one cage where the staff would put on a demo showing what we were going to teach next. Needless to say, we all loved playing together again, so much so that Sue had to pretty much drag us out of the demo and force us back to our stations. As much as we enjoyed doing demos though, it was also really helpful for the players to watch the skills we were teaching before attempting them for themselves.
All in all, a lot was learned without fun being spared by the players, coaches, and staff involved in Sue Murphys Premier Lacrosse Clinic. It was a wonderful weekend and Im already pondering when and where the next clinic will be. Good times!
After a summer jam-packed with lacrosse camps and clinics, I swore I was going to take a break from the sport for a bit when I arrived in California. As it turns out, that break consisted of a nine-day stretch in October where I wasnt actively involved in any form of lacrosse. What can I say: my name is Sara Allen and Im an addict? Its possible. I do really enjoy giving back to the sport that gave me so much, though, so when the opportunity to coach the SD Rip Elite team for Starz Lacrosse presented itself, I took it.
There are two SD Rip teams, Elite and Developmental, which are made up of the top high school lacrosse players throughout the greater San Diego area. Most of the players have aspirations to play at the college level so our mission is not only to develop and train them as players, but also to get them recruited and ready to play on the next level.
After several weeks of practice we had our first test in the Starz Lacrosse play day at Rancho Bernardo High School. Our first game against Quad Cities Elite team went well and we dominated most of the game. The girls gave me a bit of scare at the end when Quad Cities Elite went on a run and scored three unanswered goals to pull within three, 12-9, with five minutes left in the game--an interesting situation, but one Ive been in as both a player and a coach many times before. Since the Quad Cities Elite team had the momentum with so little time left, I had to make sure the girls kept composure and possession for as long as possible. In order to do that, winning the draw was necessary. Therefore, I strategically placed our fastest and scrappiest girls on the circle to ensure we maintained possession and moved the ball into our offensive end. Once in our offensive end the game plan was to work the ball around the outside several times, which would waste time off the clock and allow us to gain confidence before attacking the net. After all, if we have possession of the ball the other team cant score. The plan worked and we ended up winning 13-9. Phew!
We had 10 minutes to regroup before our next game against the Lax Dawgs Elite team and unfortunately, 10 minutes didnt seem to be enough time for us to regain our strength and energy. The first half was pretty ugly and we were down by 6 goals at half time. After a long talk at half time, we took the field with a passion to play, which we lacked in the first half. We scored two unanswered goals in the first five minutes and started to play well together again. Our passes were crisp and accurate, and we came up with several big game-changing plays. Unfortunately, it wasnt enough to come back and we ended up losing by 1 goal. I was proud of the girls though; they played their hearts out in the second half and were very close to pulling off a great comeback win. Well get them next time!
I was really impressed with how coachable the girls were this weekend and how much heart they showed. I had such a great time coaching them and cant wait to get back to practice this week. Who needs breaks from lacrosse anyway?
A funny side note: After the games, a few of the girls were talking about coaching middle school lacrosse and how they wanted to be cool coaches that their players would look up to. I overheard them and put in my two cents be passionate and believe in what you do and say, but most importantly, invest in a great pair of sunglasses and wear them at all times. I dont know about other sports, but I do know that lacrosse coaches wear their sunglasses no matter what the weather and will never leave home without them. I am one of them.
Here is a video from the SD Rip Developmental team game...
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Before diving into my blog about my life after college, Id like to set the scene a bit and introduce myself. So here is a short clip about where Ive been, where I am now, and where I plan on going.
I grew up in Radnor, Pennsylvania, as a very active kid. I participated in every sport under the sun. I loved being active and trying new things so my passion for all sports grew as I did. In high school, I played soccer, basketball and lacrosse, and also participated in other sports such as snowboarding, wakeboarding and tennis. I was recruited to play both soccer and lacrosse in college but chose to pursue lacrosse. It was evident right away that I had an amazing opportunity in front of me. I fell in love with the University of Richmond and spent the next five years of my life there.
So life was good. Everything was going smoothly until I got stick checked in the head at practice one day during the fall of my freshman year. This check resulted in my first concussion and would not be my last. One concussion led to another and eventually ended my lacrosse career.
In college I endured another injury: I herniated two discs in my back which led to other problems including a partially torn oblique muscle.
Since I received a medical red shirt my sophomore year, I took a fifth year but didnt want to risk my body anymore. Many of you are probably wondering what took me so long-- I wonder the same thing--but when sports are your life you will do almost anything to keep them from slipping away. My back was so messed up at this point that even if my head was normal I most likely still would not have been able to play.
I was on board as a student assistant coach for the year and although I struggled with not being able to play, I enjoyed teaching, strategizing and creating plays for the team. It ended up being a great experience and I was able to learn a lot about myself. I graduated in May 2007 with a great education, amazing friends and teammates, leadership experience as a three-year captain, coaching experience, three Atlantic 10 championships, three NCAA appearances, a No. 8 ranking at best and, unfortunately, a pretty damaged body.
A few months after graduation and the end of my Richmond lacrosse run, I moved out to San Diego to start working for the Active Network as an online community coordinator, which is where I am today. I plan on doing a lot in the next year, including coaching lacrosse, experiencing new sporting events, traveling and, most importantly, healing my body so I can go back to leading an active lifestyle. Stay tuned and join me on my journey as I begin life after college.