Brockport lacrosse players join semi-pro team
Junior midfielder Riley Austin will return to play for the men’s lacrosse team in its 2013 season. Austin was a top scorer for the Golden Eagles in 2012, which Brockport finished 5-10 overall and 1-5 in the SUNYAC. File photo, spring 2012
Numerous Golden Eagles athletes have already made it to the professional level this year and Saturday, Feb. 23 Brockport added two more.
Former midfielder and attackman Brian Witmer (2009-12) announced he had joined the Rochester Greywolves via Twitter.
Along with Witmer, Joe Matison (2011-12) will also have a spot on the team. Matison is also an attacker and midfielder.
Witmer and Matison said they joined the Greywolves because they were both out of NCAA eligibility and wanted to continue playing lacrosse.
"I'm just trying to have a good time," Matison said.
Witmer said he found out about the team from other people around campus wearing Greywolves apparel.
"He talked me into it," Matison said.
The Greywolves are a semi-professional indoor lacrosse team that is part of the Canadian-American Lacrosse league. The team has been in Rochester since 2008.
Witmer said they went through two tryouts in order to make the team. Those tryouts took place Feb. 17 and 23.
"The first was a basic hour and a half scrimmage," Witmer said. He said the second was made up of drills.
Both Witmer and Matison are Brockport lacrosse alumni. Witmer came to Brockport from Oswego High School and spent four years with the Eagles. Over the course of those four years Witmer played in 22 games. He had a total of one goal, one assist, two points and two shots on goal. That lone goal came in the 2012 season against Medaille College.
Although Witmer played 22 games for Brockport, he did not make a single start.
Witmer said going semi-pro under those circumstance feels great.
"Hard work gets rewarded," Witmer said.
Matison's career as a Golden Eagle was only two years long. He transferred to Brockport in 2010 from Monroe Community College, where he also played two years of lacrosse.
Matison's played 16 games and started one. He had two goals, along with two assists.
The two will suit up as members of the same team once again April 26 for their first game at Onondaga.
Although both have made the team's cut, they said they have yet to sign a contract. Witmer said they will not be getting paid and the contract basically says they will not play for any other team.
As for what they are looking forward to most about playing for the Greywolves, both said "learning how to play."
"It's completely different from the game we've been playing all our lives," Witmer said.
While at Brockport, the two have been playing traditional field lacrosse. Box lacrosse is different from field lacrosse because it is played indoors and in a smaller space. That space is typically a hockey arena.
In box lacrosse the goal is also smaller, being four feet wide by four feet tall instead of six-by-six, and the goalies wear a greater amount of pads than in outdoor lacrosse.
Witmer and Matison said they are not familiar with the Canadian-American league.
"From the one or two games that I've watched before it's a more violent game," Witmer said.
Beyond playing semi-pro this summer, Witmer said he still wants to go professional.
"Every kid wants to go pro," he said.
Witmer and Matison will begin practice for the Greywolves Saturday, March 2. The team will then have practices once a week. Game time for the season opener April 26 against Onondaga is set for an 8 p.m. faceoff.
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