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May 29, 2016

J.B. Clarke

Jordan Saunderson

Patrick Sheridan

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by J.B. Clarke, the head coach of the Limestone College Saints, student-athletes Jordan Saunderson and Patrick Sheridan. We'll open with a statement from Coach Clarke.

COACH CLARKE: First, as I do every time we're in this, I want to thank our military personnel, our vets. We're very fortunate today to have Commander Dave Hanley (phonetic) on the sidelines with us. He worked with us all year, 28-year veteran of the United States Navy, and officer Dave Richardson (phonetic), who served overseas in more than one conflict.

This is a weekend more about Memorial Day and honoring those people than lacrosse. We're very blessed to be able to play lacrosse this weekend and they're the reason why. So thanks to all those folks.

As far as the game goes today, it was pretty well scripted for Le Moyne. I thought they did an awesome job today. My hat's off to Coach Sheehan. He completely outcoached me today. His team did exactly what they wanted to do, how they wanted to do it. They were almost flawless in their execution.

And I really want to give all the credit in the world to Coach Sheehan and those players over there. What a performance by those guys. Undefeated season for them is remarkable. I think they were 20-0 or something like that and battled a lot of real tough teams. My hat's off to their senior class and Coach Sheehan.

I said to my four-year-old son last night, I said -- he said, daddy are you going to win the big game? I said, I don't know. But regardless of whether we win or lose the big game, it was one heck of a year. It really was.

This group of seniors is, I think they lost three games or something like that. And their time with us the last three years was just remarkable. 21-1, I'm not sure there are a lot of coaches in the country, other than Coach Sheehan, that wouldn't trade anything to be 21-1. So we're going to have to be sure that we recognize that as a group, kind of lick our wounds from this loss and recognize that it was truly, truly was a remarkable season.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Jordan, I know defensively they're quite good but what was it that they were doing to you guys that got you out of your typical rhythm?
JORDAN SAUNDERSON: First off, that's a great team over there, a great defense. I thought we stopped running hard, a lot of turnovers. Just basic, just couldn't catch and pass and in the end just got shut out in the second half.

Q. For Jordan, you found the back of the net pretty early on. But was there anything that they did after you scored the quick goal to lock down on you?
JORDAN SAUNDERSON: No, just the same thing the whole game, just couldn't find the net in the second half there.

Q. Jordan, you're a Canadian and you have a Canadian skill set. Lately Limestone's been really hot in the recruiting world and on-the-field performance. Can you talk about the system you have there and why it's attractive to a player like you, and what Coach Clarke has done to sort of facilitate players like you to help you improve throughout the season?
JORDAN SAUNDERSON: Well, down here we play fast, which is kind of the box style. And that's what we love about it, play fast, hopefully not turn the ball over, score quickly and then keep going. Kind of a box mentality as well. So it's nice to play in a system like this.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.

Q. J.B., their defenseman, Entenmann, was named player of the game. I'm guessing that's because he held Rhatigan scoreless. What did you see in that matchup?
COACH CLARKE: Yeah, that was one of our matchup concerns coming into the game. A really, really good athlete. I thought he was terrific picking up the grounders as well. I think that was a huge part of the game. It was 30-13 in ground balls, which is not usually what happens to us.

I thought they were quicker with grounders played with more pep in their step. Kyle's had a remarkable career but he ran up against a really good defenseman today. So athletically, size-wise, we knew it was going to be a difficult matchup for Kyle.

Kyle played fine. But that was a special player out there today. Most deserving of that award for sure.

Q. What do you think was the big difference between this year and last year since it was a repeat with the matchup?
COACH CLARKE: I thought the first half was pretty similar to last year's game, almost identical score-wise, too. I think in this second half, you know, the statistics speak -- we didn't win a faceoff in the second half. Took six shots in the half. Take six shots in a minute oftentimes. So I thought their second half they came out and really put the clamps on us defensively.

They slid very early to us. They switched all the matchups against our pick play. And I thought we didn't play fast enough, which is something we try to get instilled all week. I thought Le Moyne played faster than we did. We didn't dodge very fast. We kind of danced around.

Last year at halftime I remember saying that we were kind of spinning and dancing a lot at offense. At halftime we changed that. This year at halftime, in the second half, we mentioned it again, but we didn't get downhill dodging at them. We felt we were bigger and stronger, maybe not faster than them and we never got going downhill at them.

Q. Obviously it's not easy to get here. It's not easy to develop players over the course of the season. Can you just talk about some of the players you have and where they've been and where they've come over the course of their careers?
COACH CLARKE: Kyle is a great example of that. I feel badly that he had that matchup today and these guys -- player of the game. That's hard. Kyle had a hundred some odd points, he had a great career. He really did. Mike Messenger is obviously a great player. Mike woke up this morning and was very sick and tried to fight through it.

Obviously he wasn't on top of his game. And he still was very dangerous out there. The illness really got to him. And that affected us more than I knew at the time. A guy, you saw Jordan up here, what a great career he had.

He learned how to play the field game from the box game and really developed for us. It was a terrific senior -- I was really proud of Patrick Sheridan today. He developed mono the Monday after the quarterfinal game. Didn't practice for over ten days, didn't play in the semifinal game. Started seeing shots this Thursday and I was really proud of the way he came out and played. I was very proud of him as a senior.

PJ White, number 44 for us, defenseman, had a great career. He was a long stick middy for two years and then very solid post defender (indiscernible). It's really a remarkable senior class. Thanks for recognizing that.

Q. Bigger picture in terms of learning kind of from this experience. Maybe seeing this kind of (indiscernible) on an everyday basis in the south. Is there something maybe you think about doing, maybe scrimmaging a Division I team maybe January? What are some of the things you can do subtly to give yourselves this kind of experience prior to today?
COACH CLARKE: That's a great question. We do scrimmage. We scrimmaged North Carolina and Furman and scored 15, 16 goals on each of them. So go figure.

It has to be a learning experience. You can't foul nine times and win a championship game. You just can't. You can't get beat on ground balls like we did today, get outshot 35-18.

I think what I take out of this, we have to play faster consistently. And unfortunately I read somebody had an article and said that Limestone's playing like they're bored and that could be trouble on championship Sunday. And it was.

We kind of moseyed through a lot of games. And we weren't able to turn it on when we had to against the best team in the country. And that showed, and it really frustrated our guys and we started forcing it and by then it was almost over, really.

We just weren't able to get our run going. They did a great job stopping our transition and what not. I think we have to learn how to play a little bit faster and more consistently.

Our last two, three games we haven't really played well in the first half at all. When you do that against Le Moyne, you just can't turn it on and off against a team like that that's as well coached as Le Moyne is.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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