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May 27, 2018

Brad Jorgensen

Conner Knaresboro

Joe Serrecchia

Boston, Massachusetts

THE MODERATOR: We have St. Leo head coach Brad Jorgensen and student-athletes. We'll start with an opening statement from Coach, and then we'll ask questions of student-athletes. Coach, an opening statement?

BRAD JORGENSEN: Yeah, obviously, a long day at the office. Certainly happy and credit to Merrimack for going out and really playing a complete game. We obviously wish we were sitting here in different circumstances, but with a little bit of time, hopefully the players will understand the monumental achievement of playing here and being here this weekend.

Right now it stings a little bit for them, as it does for me, but not too many folks picked St. Leo to be playing this weekend. And the guys we have really rallied around each other and made the most of the opportunities that we had this year and fought and clawed and scrapped at a lot of personal sacrifice to get ourselves here.

Q. What was it about their offense that you guys just couldn't keep up with? They jumped you guys fast and they just kept coming from all different angles. What was it about that offense that was so tough to play against?
JOE SERRECCHIA: I couldn't really tell you, to be honest. That first quarter they jumped on us, couple bounces went their way. They played well. We kept up with them. Felt like every time we got the stop, put the ball on the ground, they were there. Sometimes, you know, it just doesn't go your way.

Q. Conner first, in D-II the South Region has been dominated by Limestone for much of the last decade. What's it say for you guys to get your program to this level this year, and what does the future hold for St. Leo?
CONNER KNARESBORO: You know, I think the south is kind of like wide open now. There's a lot of great teams, especially in our conference and other conferences around the league. Every week it seems like every game we've played, one or two goals, it was a close battle. It seems like anybody can go. From St. Leo on, I think that they're going to keep going up. They know the bar now, we've set it, it's only up from here. We've got the experience now, and now it's time to come and execute. That's it.

Q. Brad, same question I asked Conner. From your perspective as a coach, building a program to get to this level, what comes next? How do you get back to this game, win it, and keep winning it again, and again?
BRAD JORGENSEN: I think every year is a new challenge, one of the pleasures of the job. I think a lot of time folks on the outside looking in assume that once you get to a certain level that that's a given year in and year out. I think this year proved it's not. There's been some folks who have done a really good job of keeping a strangle hold on getting here. There's been some teams that have found a way to be here consistently, or at least in the mix consistently.

I think sometimes the outside observer underestimates how much it's a new battle annually, and each year it's a different group of kids, and you're playing teams that are going through the same thing. So there is no assumption.

Do I think it becomes easier once you've sort of dipped your toes in the water? Probably, probably. It's tough. This is the first time we've ever made the NCAA tournament, and all of a sudden, we're playing this weekend. To say we're a little green would be understatement. So nothing is assumed.

Hopefully the guys we have coming back have a little better understanding of what it takes to be here, but there's no given we'll even be part of the conversation 12 months from now.

Q. So you're a guy with local ties, New England from Connecticut, Springfield, I think coached at Wheaton for a bit. Just wanted to know what it meant to play at Gillette Stadium today?
BRAD JORGENSEN: I'd be lying if I didn't say it was extra special to have the game be played here. New England guy, I was lucky enough to be able to run one of my practices here this week at Wheaton where I worked for eight years. So, yeah, absolutely, the fact that it was New England did mean a little bit more to me. It made it a little bit easier.

Called in some favors to help us do a couple things while we were here, and that made it a little bit easier. But as a guy who has his roots here, certainly the nostalgia tour was nice.

Q. Your netminder Tom Tatarian was a huge part of you guys getting here today. What can you say about his performance throughout the playoffs and today in the championship game?
BRAD JORGENSEN: Yeah, I mean, we're not here without Tom. Tom saw a lot of rubber today. I haven't really digested what the stat sheet says, but we didn't do a whole lot to help him out today. He certainly battled for us all year. We don't make the tournament without Tom standing on his head on multiple occasions, and we're certainly not playing this weekend without him having an absolutely special day at Lenoir-Rhyne last week.

So, as much as it stings to have a bunch of our seniors who were major contributors going out the door today, knowing that we've got Tom to sort of cement what's coming back certainly makes us feel better for the future.

Q. What was it like coaching and having to adjust against that Merrimack offense?
BRAD JORGENSEN: Yeah, I think coaching against (Indiscernible) is tough from an adjustment standpoint, we were in a little bit of a pickle because there is not too much of an adjustment you can make when you're not winning the ground balls and the loose balls. You can stop them a couple of times, but when they repeatedly are knocking at the door, it's going to go in.

So, yeah, they do a lot of things with their offense that make them tough to stop. Today the toughest thing they did was have the ball a heck of a lot more than us.

Q. Being the first program in Florida when it started in like '06-'09, relatively still young, what's it mean for your program to get to this point, and also lacrosse in general in Florida?
BRAD JORGENSEN: Yeah, I think it's -- it's great. I honestly, first meeting I ever had at St. Leo when we had maybe 28 guys in the room and our nearest opponent was in South Carolina, I told the guys that I took the job to try to win a National Championship, and that wasn't false bravado. It's what I took the job to do. So there is a little bit of satisfaction on that point that we're knocking on the door.

In terms of growth of the game in the state of Florida and what it means, I think that horse left the barn a long time ago. I think top to bottom the sunshine state conference is arguably the best conference in Division II lacrosse, top to bottom.

There is not a day off in April. There are no lay-ups. We were battle tested as a rookie NCAA team just making it out of our conference alive. There's a lot of really quality lacrosse being played in that conference.

You look at the rosters of both the teams, people are coming from all over the place. So it speaks to the growth, speaks to the willingness of people to go a little bit away from home.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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