Q&A: Jack Vail of Springfield College mens lacrosse talks NEWMAC competition and state of the team at midpoint of season

Gage Nutter
@GageNutter

Jack Vail of Springfield mens lacrosse has become one of the best attackmen in the NEWMAC conference the last few seasons. After scoring one goal in his freshman campaign, he bursted onto the scene with a team-high 32 goals last year. Now at the midpoint of his junior season, he leads the Pride in points with 27.

Vail scored the Pride’s most exciting goal of the year, up to this point, back on Mar. 18 when he cashed in during double-overtime against Endicott to give the Pride an impressive 8-7 win.

He and the Pride have just started conference play and look to win the program’s 11th straight conference championship.

We sat down with him and talked about the rapidly improving competition in the NEWMAC, his emergence the last two seasons, and more.

GN: How competitive do you feel the NEWMAC is going to be this year and how do you think the team will fare?

JV: Every year we go into the NEWMAC knowing that we play these teams, and for them it’s their biggest game of the year. They all want to beat us. A team like Coast Guard getting these early-season big wins, they beat Wesleyan earlier in the year in overtime, we are going to them this year. They beat us last year. So, they definitely circle that on their calendar. A lot of the teams we beat last year like Babson and Clark want revenge basically. Every year those teams get up for those big games.”

GN: What has it been, do you think, that has made you so effective these last few seasons?

JV: “I think, compared to last year, we are a lot more unselfish as an offense. My teammates do a good job of putting me in places to make plays; which is starting to show on the leaderboards. The midfielders will do a lot of the work and I just get on the other end and finish it. To go along with that, all the seniors have been really good to make sure that everyone is pushing it to their full potential. They are really driving everybody to make sure we are getting better every day. They are holding everyone accountable and that trickles down. Everybody is getting a lot better.”

GN: Around the midpoint of the season, how do you feel the team is shaping up?

JV: “We are coming along good. We definitely started off kinda rough in some places. But throughout the year we are starting to smooth things out and starting to find our identity as a team. We are a hardworking group of guys. We are the type of team that will grind wins out. We will get those late-in-the-game waves and ride them out. Against Endicott we really grinded that one out. That will start showing at the end of the year when we get in close games and the games really start to mean more when it comes playoff time.”

GN: What is a part of your game you wanted to work on coming into this season?

JV: “Every year I take a look at my biggest weaknesses and spend the whole offseason working on them. Like my offhand, my feet, and my dodging. Everything I felt like i did weak last year I worked on to be better at this year. Overall I’ve just been working on my leadership skills; coordinating the offense, having a bigger voice and being a better communicator. I worked on that throughout the fall a lot. Getting the guys going and stuff like that. I really just want to make sure I don’t pass up my opportunities this year. Last year I feel like I could have taken it for my own a couple more times. I just want to make sure I make a big impact this year.”

 

 

Featured photo courtesy of Springfield College Athletics. 

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