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May 29, 2016
THE MODERATOR: Joined now by Coach Jim Berkman and Colin Reymann and Thomas Cirillo and Nick Garbarino. Coach, an opening statement.
COACH BERKMAN: Congratulations to Tufts and Coach Daly on a tremendous season, tremendous run over the last three years. And we're fortunate enough today to be one goal better and find a way to win when we couldn't get the ball after virtually the 33-minute mark of the game, virtually never really touched the ball a whole lot with that faceoff dominating.
But we found a way to weather the storm. It's been a tremendous year, like 24 games. We've lost one by a goal, and fortunate to win today. But it was a great team effort and very, very proud of this senior class that's done a great job of motivating our guys to put us in a position to win our 11th championship.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.
Q. Colin, can you kind of walk us through the game-winning save? Did you make a ball a guess and go after that?
COLIN REYMANN: I think it was more reactionary than anything. I was looking at the ball at X. The guy, I'm not sure who had the ball, it happened so fast. Just swept, came around the crease, and I just kept my hands high and Tuck turned them right into the pipe and next I knew it was in my stick. Looked up at the clock, five seconds left, dumped it down the field and that was that.
Q. Tom, we talked on Wednesday at the media day. How is it to have the weight lifted off your shoulder a little bit?
THOMAS CIRILLO: Yeah we knew that. We've heard it from everybody. You all were asking us. We knew. All the alumni knew. It felt great. We didn't want to be that class, because most of our class has been here for four years. We all came in together, pretty much with the exception of a few. And it just feels so good to -- and we got the demon off together -- everyone else's back for a couple of years, too. We took the scare took us four years to get one, but going out like this is a pretty sweet way to go out.
Q. You joked with me about your scoring drought a little bit there in the playoffs. Today two goals, two assists. Had a good game. I know you were telling me you watched a lot of Tufts tape. Was there something that you saw that kind of led you to kind of do better than you have recently today?
THOMAS CIRILLO: Yeah, I mean this tournament I haven't been shooting the ball exceptionally well. But that's fine. If I'm not shooting it well, I've got 49 other brothers who are going to back me up. So that's fine. With this game, with this Tufts game, our coaches had us so prepared.
You have to credit our second defense. They learned the Tufts defense and they pretty much perfected it within, I would say, two or three days. And they gave us such a good look. We knew what they were going to do. We knew they were going to slide quick. We knew we had to bang it. And when we were doing that, when we were putting the ball on the rope, moving it around, good things were happening for us.
Q. Colin, when Tufts went on the seven-goal run in the third quarter, walk me through what you were doing there. Did you feel anything different from their offense, maybe an extra jump? Did they just had something else there or what do you think contributed to that?
COLIN REYMANN: We were making stops, but I think the biggest thing was loose balls they were able to get up and finish and failing to clear the ball on a couple of occasions. They capitalized on that.
As Coach mentioned, Tufts was a great team, especially in transition when the ball was on the ground. They capitalized, like you said, seven goals, there I think, through the stretch. But we just stayed the course and we knew if we did just that we'd be champions at the end of the day.
Q. Thomas and Nick, could you elaborate on that? What was it like going through the emotional highs and lows of this game. Almost felt like three games in one?
THOMAS CIRILLO: I mean we never backed down from what comes, you know what I'm saying. They went on a what, six-goal run there? I knew in the back of my mind we went through adversity through the whole season, with that York loss we knew we had our backs and everybody else had their backs, and we were able to pull it off. I know.
NICK GARBARINO: We knew it was going to be a game -- playing Tufts is a game of runs. They score in bunches. And, I mean, the hair stood up on the back of our necks for a little bit there. But we knew we had to slow the bleeding a little bit. And we did that, and our defense, they came up huge for us at the end. So total team effort there.
Q. Colin, could you talk about your development as a goalie? You missed the first half of the season and you finished as one of the best D-III shutting down some of the top offenses this year?
COLIN REYMANN: I think it's my teammates who kind of got me to this point, and coaches, most importantly. We had a great fall ball, put all the work in. I felt as if I was in a position to perform, and one day, first day of practice got unlucky. Broke a bone, but it was unique perspective for me to kind of take the game in from the sideline and I learned more doing that than maybe I would have otherwise.
But I just kept telling myself it was all going to work out. Everything happens for a reason and I certainly believe that indeed.
Q. Thomas and other players, obviously you played a program with a lot of storied history, and I'm sure there was all kinds of pressure for you guys from alumni and media and everything else. Coach Berkman has been around a long time. Could you talk about what he does and the culture he's got in place and the systems he has in place to help bring the most out of you guys as players through the course of your careers and why you're sitting here now, I guess?
THOMAS CIRILLO: You can't put into words how much our coaching staff does for us and the culture they've built. And the alumni who came through before us, who paved the road, who were the reason why we have our sponsorships and the reason why we have all this gear or the reason why we get all these recruits.
I mean, we know in the back of our mind we're doing it for them. We're doing it for the coaches. Like the amount of love that this team has for each other, we knew, like, everyone's got each other's back.
So it wasn't really -- they weren't putting pressure on us. They were getting our backs, if you know what I mean. And the alumni, too. So it wasn't, like, if this class doesn't get it -- it was, like, no, this class is going to go out and get it. We believe in you. So, yeah, we do it for them, and we know they're rooting for us at all times.
NICK GARBARINO: I came in as a transfer from day one, and Coach always told me to buy into the system, so that's what I wanted to do, and if I didn't do it I wasn't going to do it, like, the best I can.
But, yeah, we did it for the alumni. We did it for everybody who comes before us, and that's how it's always going to be in this historic program.
Q. Nick, in that York game Brady goes down, gets hurt. You come in, score a couple of goals. You started every game since. You got a couple of nice scoring days and even today in that second quarter had a couple of nice goals. Couple of good assists. I guess just kind of as this season has progressed, did you expect yourself to kind of be in this big of a role going into the national championship game?
NICK GARBARINO: I mean, you always gotta look at it, like, when your time's ready you gotta go at it. You know what I'm saying? You've got to be ready at all times. Coach stresses next man up. I was ready. I was put in the situation. I think I progressed well. And the outcome was successful.
THOMAS CIRILLO: You talk about the fact he had a couple of assists today? That was pretty cool for Nick.
Q. Tom and Coach, as well, if you want to comment. I'll take you back to your only loss this year at the end of the year. Pretty tough to lose that perfect season. What did that do for your guys' focus at the end of the year going into this tournament?
THOMAS CIRILLO: It got us refocused. We knew if we slip up we could lose one. You don't want to slip up in the playoffs.
So that was at the perfect time. It was a game, if we did lose, it wasn't going to affect us: We still had the one seed in the south. All roads led here through Salisbury.
Does it stink to have that on us? Yeah, but it's fine. But we are national champions. I'd much rather be hoisting the trophy than wearing a CAC shirt. No offense.
I mean, it's one you wish you had back. You don't want the blemish. But you can't tell me otherwise saying I'm all smiles. You can tell me about the York game, I'm all right with it.
Q. Tom, I interviewed you after that York loss. You seemed really upset. Could you take me through -- I know you had that game-winner against Denison. Can you take me through the emotions and seeing the clock run off and you guys were finally winning a national championship?
THOMAS CIRILLO: It was unreal. Coolest experience in my life. Just doing it with all these guys. When Colin made that save and he threw that ball in the air and we sprinted at him, that was the best feeling of my life. And there was no other way to put that.
NICK GARBARINO: Coming in -- I got 1 and 2 there. I told these guys what the feeling was like. I told them to want to feel what I felt. So basically it feels great.
COLIN REYMANN: I think that York loss taught us lessons we wouldn't have had otherwise. We learn from it. We corrected our mistakes. And I feel as if we didn't -- you guys didn't see the same mistakes we made in the York game the rest of the season. Sure, there are a few here or there, but our team really rallied behind our captains and great coaches we were able to get it done.
Q. Thomas, can you talk about that this was a tough defense that hadn't given many goals in the postseason. But was there something in particular that you guys were able to take advantage of?
THOMAS CIRILLO: They're a great defense. Credit to them. They've got a good goalie. But I think for us we're not worried about -- like we're going to scout them. We're going to watch them.
But at the end of the day Nick and I on offense, the rest of the offensive guys, when it comes down to it, it's about us making plays. It's not about that defense. Coach stresses to us that we're not -- we're doing it for us. We're doing our thing.
So they could do that, but we're going to counter it. And they're a great team, but we're moving the ball fast and we went on our runs and we had just enough to win it today.
So credit their defense. Credit their goalie. He made a bunch of big saves. But at the end of the day it was about our guys and our offense doing what we do.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.
Q. You mentioned on the NCAA teleconference about the seniors trying to avoid being the first team since '93 to go out without winning the championship. You didn't seem shy about reminding them about that.
COACH BERKMAN: Well, you know what, I think they've been reminded of it so many times by all the people around them, there was no sense of beating around the bush. It was what it was. But you know what, the reason we're here today is because a little bit of that, because that senior class, their effort and their determination over the course of the total year and what they've done and how much they've improved, because of how hard they've worked has really allowed them to be in this position today.
And every one of them is improved immensely over the last year and thus even some of the younger kids they were quite on the peripheral that contributed today weren't quite that good but I think the incentive and the extra drive by all the senior class got them out a lot of times that maybe a lot of other places it wasn't out to get it done on a consistent basis over the last, especially the last 30 weeks.
Q. How did you guys overcome an 8-29 performance in the faceoff?
COACH BERKMAN: A couple of things happened. I thought T.J. did a really good job. We were in a good position. We were only about 8-7 I think we were down one in the faceoffs and we were getting the ball.
We knew how to score against a quick-sliding team. We are a team that knows how to do that. We have a team that has eight or nine kids that can all move the ball. It's not just three and four.
You saw, when they slid quickly, we took advantage of it. When we had the ball we could score against them. And T.J. put us in that position.
Got those first three in the third quarter and we were looking to be in a great position. But, you know, one of the big things that happened on our faceoff play wasn't necessarily that their kid got so hot, which he did, was that that was the last, after that third goal, Andrew Ternahan was done for the day.
Our faceoff play has been a three-headed monster the whole year with Davis Anderson and Ternahan being great wing players. Ternahan never played after the third goal in the third quarter. He was done.
He pulled a cramp in his calf and it would knot up. Now going to the second and third pole on the wing, aren't quite as fast. Don't get the ball off the ground as good.
And they got on a roll. It wasn't what we weren't doing on offense. We just didn't have the ball. And we haven't had great depth on defense all year. We play with three guys.
Those three guys are good. Two All-Americans down there and a kid that probably should be. But playing three guys at close defense on a day when it's 100 degrees on the field, that takes a wear and tear, when they just keep coming at you, keep coming at you.
But we found a way to win at the end. Despite their number of faceoffs that they won in a row. I think it was probably 13 in a row that they almost got at the end of the game.
Q. Coach, everybody always talks in this sport about how it's a game of runs and you know it against a team like Tufts, they're going to go on a run. And even with that in mind, still, what were you kind of thinking when just the game -- when they just kept producing opportunities and cashing them in and it just kept going like that again and again?
COACH BERKMAN: First of all, we were trying to get our guys to slide a little quicker. We still couldn't get a couple of guys to go to Uppgren. They left Tucker out on an island a little bit.
Couple of times we had a clear, and I distinctly remember two of them. One was in the third quarter. We finally got a clear. And we're running the ball down and one of the assistants said: Coach, call a timeout. It was like we can't call timeout. We got numbers right now. And we had a 4-on-3. And we went bang, bang, bang.
And Carson Kalama who ended up in the crease in order to stop that run and he fakes high, shoots low and they get us stuffed 1-on-1 and they come back down and score.
Can't call a timeout when we're going 4-on-3. That's just not my style. Then there was one in the fourth quarter. We came down. They were on a little bit of a run. And the faceoff coach said: Coach, we need a timeout. We need a timeout. I was like we've got numbers again. Nick ended up 1-on-1 there in the fourth quarter and he got stuffed, too.
But we seized most of those opportunities today. Those were two that we didn't have that would have probably broken that run a little bit. But to their credit their goalie came up big on both of those.
Q. Can you walk us through that final minute you guys have to give it up and then they come down, call timeout and run their play, and can you kind of just comment on Colin making that huge save?
COACH BERKMAN: Well, obviously we didn't plan to let No. 13 get his hands free again for a three-yard shot cutting down the back play. But Tuck was a little slow going to him.
In a timeout, we called a timeout with four seconds left on the shot clock so that we could get our people on the field to play defense instead of letting the clock run out, maybe having a little bit of confusion.
So we had the right people on the field. We asked Nate to throw the ball real high to the far post. They had to clear the ball the whole field. And we did that.
And then the kid drove and they fed the ball to the backside, a spot feed. He caught it. And he didn't have a lot of angle. But to Colin, a kid put everything in all day, surprised he didn't shoot it around his back or wrap it like he did three other ones. Colin was able to match sticks and get a great stuff and get the ball out of there and allow us to finish the game.
Q. I was actually getting text messages during the game from a guy named Jason Coffman, had me thinking about maybe over the course of your career can you talk about your approach to developing players and the team and maybe how that's evolved or changed as the game has changed over the last 20, 30 years?
COACH BERKMAN: I don't think anything's changed. As much as we have all this development, and kids come to you maybe a little bit better. It's not what you do. It's what you do when you get there. And to me players are made. They're not born. They've got to buy into the culture and they've got to work hard on getting better.
And we've always had a great culture there where guys improved tremendously. You think about a couple of kids on our team right now, Garrett Reynolds, 30 goals this year. And people are like that kid's never going to play for you.
Now next year he'll be ready to go on that first line when the kids graduate and they'll say holy cow that kid shoots the ball harder than Tommy Cirillo and he's faster.
We have always had that kind of development in our program, kids buying in. And we're also very fortunate, the number of coaches that have played for me that give back, have seven or eight guys to break drills down, get more shooting and get more reps in and kids improve. That's what we've always been, a team that works hard, improves, gets better.
And No. 2 graduates and there will be another No. 2 next year. And you'll say, man, that guy is even a little bit better than No. 2 last year. Did Cirillo get another year? We always had kind of the next guy up.
But Jason Coffman was a great player. Seen a lot of great players. The Uppgren kid is in Jason Coffman's class. No other kid has scored 360 points in any era except a kid like Jason Coffman who scored 440, back when we played only 15 and 16 games. But Uppgren is in that category. He's just a tremendous player.
Q. There's a point where Tufts, I think they cut it to one and you guys went on -- it was a three-minute possession that ended in a goal. So I'm wondering how important a possession like that was to stopping their tie, their momentum there in the fourth quarter and give your defense a rest?
COACH BERKMAN: It was really good to get a possession just to give our defense a few seconds. But it was also important to stop the bleeding. We hadn't had one in a while. And then Tommy got a man-up goal, I believe, or just after the man-up he stuck that goal. And then we got another one.
But we needed to answer a little bit to the runs that they were making, because we just didn't have the ball. And it was almost like it was like playing pickup basketball in your backyard. It was make it, take it. It was make it, take it for a long time.
So we're fortunate that we were able to get a couple of possessions to give our defense a little bit of a rest.
Q. Maybe kind of a silly question, but so you had 11 titles now. Your hands are filled up. Where does the 11th ring go?
COACH BERKMAN: Well, you can always put two on one I guess. But, again, as we talked about all week, this isn't about Coach Berkman. This is about Sea Gull lacrosse and all these guys before these guys that have created just a great culture and great atmosphere. And they take care of each other. They help people get job interviews.
It's the culture that's been created over a long period and it's a special place, and I just feel very fortunate I happen to be the one to get to drive that machine.
Q. Coach, I think this is, what, the fourth time you guys have played Tufts in the championship game. Maybe it's five, but just talk about there have been some great games in the series. You guys have each gotten a couple, so it's a pretty even rivalry in some ways. Does it feel like this is becoming one of those kind of nice, great postseason rivalries?
COACH BERKMAN: Definitely turned into little bit of a north/south postseason rivalry. People are saying they got you last time and now it's two to two.
They're a great program. Coach Daly has got it going. Reminds me -- I've been around the block for a long time. You guys have been in this room for a long time.
Remember Middlebury had quite a run there for a while, too. In 2003 Middlebury was ready to hit their fourth in a row and the Gulls emerged the victor, and we were able to get a victory in overtime and then kind of stop the Middlebury reign that was going on.
And Tufts kind of got that thing going right now. They've got the similar situation that Middlebury was in where they get a lot of players, got good coaches and they've had a nice little run. We're very fortunate to break that run today and feel very honored to be standing here as champions and the 11th of our program's history.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports