Hello loyal QuickStick following! Teague here. Long time no see, I got a job and am horrible at multitasking. However, following a rogue tweet a few Saturdays ago during the Florida vs Alabama football game in which I tweeted at the Florida Club Lacrosse Team (@gatorslaxclub) tempting fate by saying “If one of you gets on TV this game, I’ll write an entire exposé about your season and go to all your games” it seems I’ve got some work to do. A half hour later the keen eyes of head coach Garret Hanrahan spotted a freshman on the team in the crowd. Thanks a lot Dylan Olive now I have to open Microsoft Word for the first time in months. I am a man of my word, so here is my conversation with club president Matthew Corazón (nicknamed “Zone” by his teammates) about the Gators upcoming season, MCLA lacrosse, and the players to watch down in Gainesville this year.
– What are the teams keys to having a strong season?
The team has a culture built around the core principles of hard work, accountability, and brotherhood. It sounds corny to say but the team is my family, these are the guys I want to hang out with in my free time and have shaped my college experience. Then these same guys take time out of their schedules to come practice every week because they want to win as badly as I do. It’s a great feeling to step on the field knowing your teammates have your back in any scenario.
– What is your favorite part about playing MCLA Lacrosse?
Traveling. Our MCLA schedule has taken me to some of the best areas in the country like Athens, New Orleans, and Los Angeles. Being able to experience college towns across the United States is incredible.
– What made you choose to attend Florida?
I chose Florida because it was the most well-rounded school. Coming out of high school, I had zero interest from any college I reached out to play lacrosse at. So I started applying to all these academic based schools, and I am so glad know that I said no to most of them. I would have missed out on coming to a top five public university, tailgating top ten football games, and having the opportunity to play lacrosse after high school.
– What game are you looking forward to most this season?
Two games I have circled on my calendar this season are Georgia Tech and Florida State. Georgia Tech is a team that is consistently at the top of the SELC and competes for national championships every year. If we are going to take that step towards winning the conference and winning at Nationals, they are a team we have to be able to compete with. Then obviously, Florida State is the in-state rival. Last year finished we split the season 1-1 with them, and I am fired up to finish my senior season with a victory over the Seminoles.
– What game are some big names on the roster to look out for this year?
Parker Beeson (#5; D)
He may be one of the most skilled players on the team, but is without a doubt the most physical. He feels disrespected when attackman dodges on him. When his checks land, they sound like bones are breaking. Feels good in cage have a guy like that around.
Thatcher Kelly (#10; SSDM)
It’s common lacrosse knowledge that an offense usually wants to dodge on the short-stick defender, but it’s a luxury to have a guy like thatcher. He is harder to dodge on then most poles. He gives up zero space and every ground ball belongs to him.
Nolan Testa (#7; M)
I have a love hate relationship with Nolan in practice, the hate being anytime he is on the opposing team. He is extremely shifty and can sting corners from anywhere on the field. He’s got a habit of making me look silly.
– Toughest matchup you’ve ever faced? (Can be team matchup, or personal in college or HS)
The matchup that always comes to mind was my high school’s rival Belen Jesuit. I went to Columbus High School in Miami, and the Columbus vs Belen rivalry has been going on for decades. So every time you stepped on the field to play them, it was personal. The games would get scrappy guys diving for ground balls, big hits, huge goals, it had a life or death feel every second of every game.
– Favorite lacrosse memory?
Looking back, my favorite lacrosse memory is our matchup vs Virginia Tech my sophomore year. This was right before Covid-19 was going to send us home for quarantine. They announced the cancellation of many program’s seasons and I just remember being out that night and having seniors and captains coming to hug me and were crying because they thought their careers were coming to an end because of a pandemic. A few days later, we are able to get a Virginia Tech to play us in Orlando. We showed up with maybe half of our normal starters. One LSM had to play close defense, guys who had never started a game now had to produce on the field it was mayhem. We got down a few goals at halftime, and just poured it on in the second half. Guys were scoring left and right, and we pulled out a very emotional win for our seniors.
– Who’s the funniest guy in your locker room/team?
First guy that comes to mind is Christian Holland (#23). It can be hard at practice sometimes around this guy. Always cracking jokes, always has a smile on his face, but the best is his in-game chirps. He lives rent free in some of our opponent’s head. Without a doubt one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met.
– If you played another sport, what would it be?
Either Hockey or Football. I love both of those sports and I wish I had played hockey when I was younger. Being from Miami, opportunities for hockey and lacrosse are slim. I also wish I had kept playing football in my later years of high school. Columbus is well decorated 8A football program and being short and slow was not a good combo.
– Who was your favorite athlete when you were a kid?
I grew up witnessing the glory of Dwayne Wade. He may as well be Miami’s greatest pro athlete of all time. I just remember being a young kid and watching him carry the Heat to their first championship over Dallas. It’s a shame we missed out on what could have been his peak prime due to injuries.
There you have it folks, my chat with the most prominent Gator since Tebow, Matthew Corazón. You never know what’s going to happen in the MCLA, this Florida team could make some noise. Keep one eye south this season and watch out for the Gators. Looking to do a few more season previews soon. Hit my line if you’re interested.