Jake Coon: Cannons Starting Stopper
Aug. 9, 2007
When the Boston Cannons of Major League Lacrosse announced their relocation from Boston University's Nickerson Field to Harvard Stadium back in February of this year, it was not their only big move of the off-season. Boston completed a trade with Washington one month later that would directly affect current UMass assistant coach Jake Coon. He got his first opportunity to start in between the pipes and wouldn't disappoint.
The trade sent three Boston bigwigs to the Capital City. Among these players were leading scorer and fan favorite Conor Gill, longtime defenseman Ryan Curtis, and starting netminder Chris Garrity, who holds goalie records in Boston for games played, games won, and save percentage. The ranks of Gill were quickly taken over by distinguished attackman Mikey Powell who was acquired by Boston in the Washington trade, but it was in the Cannons' own locker room that they would find the man needed to fill the position between the pipes. Coon stepped up as Boston's starting goalie for this 2007 season.
The mere fact that Boston's Head Coach Bill Daye, a former Cannons goalie himself, went through with trading Garrity to Washington said a lot about the faith he has in Coon, and why wouldn't he? "Jake had been in the league for 5 years, he's no rookie," said Daye. "He has plenty of experience, so we have plenty of confidence in him."
Behind Garrity, Coon started one game in the 2006 season for the Cannons. He recorded 15 saves on 26 shots in his lone start on July 22, earning his first victory in a Cannons uniform against the Rochester Rattlers. Upon the start of the 2007 season, Coon was second to nobody. This season's opener against the Washington Bayhawks was strikingly familiar for Coon as he repeated his 15 saves on 26 shots, earning him his second win in a Cannons uniform.
"I am extremely happy with the opportunity that I was given this season with the Cannons," said Coon. "I have always felt that I was good enough to play as a starter in the MLL." Coon has started ten games, earning four wins and five losses since the season-opening win at Washington.
"Whenever he has gone in, he has played well" said Coach Daye of this season's starting goalie. "Jake makes big saves in key moments."
Those big saves have earned Jake some recognition by the league. In shutting down the Washington Bayhawks in game six for the second time this season, Coon made a career high 23 saves on 34 shots. He outplayed Garrity, whom he replaced, in the 19-11 victory over the Bayhawks at Harvard Stadium to earn him Bud Light MVP honors, and MLL Goalkeeper of the Week. Coon was also awarded the title of Boston Cannons 2007 Defensive Player of the Year.
For the first time in franchise history, the Boston Cannons will not advance to the 2007 playoffs for a shot at a Major League Lacrosse Championship. Going into Boston's final game of the season, Coon has tallied 159 saves for a .541 save percentage. The Cannons hold a record of 5-6 on the season, a record that Coon suggests should improve next season with a little consistency from the Cannons.
The 2007 season has been quite the rebuilding year for the Cannons roster, and with one game remaining against Rochester on August 11, Coach Daye stated his goal is to "finish strong and look forward to getting this group back together for 2008."
"Everyone has to do their job and play smart," said Coon when asked about the Cannons' final game and looking ahead to next season. "Once we do that, the consistency will come and hopefully then a championship."
In addition to starting in net for the Boston Cannons, Coon is entering his third season as the assistant coach for the University of Massachusetts men's lacrosse team. In 2006, he worked with freshman Doc Schneider in leading the team to the National Championship Game for the first time in program history. Coon joined the Minutemen coaching staff after serving as an assistant at Nazareth College for five years, where he remains one of the most distinguished players in their history. Coon was the team's starting goalie for four seasons and became the program's first ever four-time All-American. In addition to his coaching, Coon works in sales and is a tech representative for Cascade Helmets.
The Boston Cannons head to Rochester to take on the Rattlers in hopes of evening out their record at 6-6 before closing the book on a seventh season. Meanwhile, Rochester, led by former Minutemen Jack Reid and Jeff Zywicki, leads the league with a record of 8-3, and prepares to host the 2007 New Balance Major League Lacrosse Championship Weekend that will take place at PAETEC Park on August 25th and 26th. The Championship Game will air live on ESPN2.