Sep 8, 2013
LaxTV 2013 Season Highlights
AMHERST, Mass. -
UMass men's lacrosse alumnus Will Manny (2010-13) discusses his recently completed rookie season with Major League Lacrosse's Boston Cannons organization. Manny, a USILA All-American with the Minutemen, spoke with UMass Athletics recently to pass along his experiences with professional lacrosse and what helped him during his successful transition to the highest level of competition.
1: With your first season in Major League Lacrosse complete, what was it like to play professional lacrosse?
"First off, it was a great experience and a dream come true to be able to play at the highest level in my favorite sport and I cannot thank the Boston Cannon's organization enough for allowing me to do so. Training is a bit different in that you are not with your team 24/7, so you depend on your teammates to do their part throughout the week by shooting, running and doing the little things for the upcoming weekend. Scheduling and traveling was all done by our general manager, Kevin Barney, who does so much for our organization. I work at Bank of America in Boston and I was a little worried I would not be able to fit Major League Lacrosse into my schedule, but luckily enough it did. I would work my 40-hour week at the bank and fly out on Friday night to wherever the game would be. We practice Friday nights (home or away) and have a walkthrough practice the morning of the contest. Games are usually on Saturday nights and, afterward, we have flights back to our living areas on Sunday morning."
2: How is playing in MLL different from playing at the collegiate level?
"The talent level at every position is as solid as you can get in that there are only eight teams in the league and only 20 players dress each week. On the lacrosse IQ side I think the biggest thing for rookies is to find their place on the team, whether it's playing a position you didn't play weeks prior in your college season or just being the role guy waiting for your shot. I was able to play alongside one of the best finishers of all time in Matt Poskay, who helped me with my assist totals this year for sure. The other was the all-time leading point scorer in MLL history and one of the best attackmen to play the game in Ryan Boyle. Those two guys taught me more about my game and gave me more confidence than I thought was possible. Gaining trust week by week was a great feeling and becoming more of the quarterback I was in college, following the footsteps of Ryan, was exactly what I was hoping for in my first season in the league."
3: On top of playing you are also balancing a professional life at the Bank of America off of the playing field. What has it been like to maintain that balance and is there anyone or anything that has helped you do so?
"In addition to my position at the Bank of America I was recently named Director of Program Development for PrimeTime lacrosse
, an organization in the Boston area, which I am very excited to get going at their tryouts this month. Working for the bank has been a great experience for the corporate side of my life and obviously playing lacrosse and having it all working out scheduling-wise, I can't ask for much more. It has been very stressful and time consuming but working professionally and staying involved in the lacrosse world right out of college was one of my goals at the beginning of my senior year. My parents, sister and girlfriend have helped me through a lot of the stress and busy scheduling, just reminding me that I am living a dream, working for a great company and playing at the professional level of my favorite thing in the world. My bosses and co-workers were also very supportive the past few months getting me through training for work and always following and asking about how my games went when I get back in the office on Monday mornings."
4: Do you feel any part of your experience at UMass playing for Greg Cannella helped you adjust to competing against some of the best lacrosse defenders each week?
"Playing for UMass has not only made me who I am on the field but off the field as well. Things don't happen unless you go and get it and make it happen. Toughness, having a blue-collar mentality, and telling myself to "be the best" as we say within our UMass Lacrosse Family, is what I live by every day on and off the field. Playing in the league against some of these defensemen was a great experience, and I just went into every practice and game knowing that they probably don't know much about my game, so I needed to go out play as hard as I could, be tough, ride hard, finish the ball when I have my opportunities and make the feeds I know I am capable of making. The UMass lacrosse experience made me who I am today and I can't thank coaches Greg Cannella, Doc Schneider and Brian Jacovina enough."
5: You recorded 30 points (18 G, 12 A) in only 10 games with Boston following the end of the college season. How did it feel to be able to jump in the lineup and immediately add to the offense?
"It was great to be a part of an offense with names like Ryan Boyle, Matt Poskay, Paul Rabil, Kevin Buchanan and Mike Stone along with a fellow rookie in midfielder Cam Flint. Finding a role and filling it plays a major part in seeing and staying on the field and lineup week by week. I was able to get my feeds off and get the ball to the right guys with their hands free to finish the play. I did have a few one-on-one goals this season where I was fortunate enough to finish the ball, but lots of goals in this league come from assists - especially with our team. I practiced my shooting a ton more from spots above the cage because I was in a different role than I was in college, where I operated behind the net. Towards the end of the season I was behind the goal more with Ryan, but my finishing opportunities happened above the net for the most part."
6: Looking back on your individual success and the team's overall finish, what improvements do you hope to make between now and the beginning of next season?
"Personally, I want to keep up my training and am looking forward to having a complete season next year since, as a rookie I joined around the fifth week this past summer. Continuing to practice my shooting and my off-hand will only benefit my game moving forward and I am looking forward to doing that. As a team I am curious to see what happens regarding the roster and what Head Coach John Tucker and the staff decide to do, but he has a great lacrosse mind and I am sure whatever he does is for the benefit of the organization moving forward looking at next year, where we want to make it back to championship weekend. Jake Smith my roommate from UMass and Boston Cannon's teammate lives right near where I am in Boston so I am sure we will be able to train together and get ready for next years Cannon's season, and I can't wait."
More information on Manny and the Boston Cannons can be found through the Major League Lacrosse website. News, stats, schedules and press releases related to UMass men's lacrosse are available through UMassAthletics.com.