After finishing one improbable run with UMass, Sean Morris is trying to obtain a win with the Chicago Machine. Quickly finding his groove in the league, Morris will surely become a standout in the MLL some time soon. LAX was able to swap some correspondence with Morris, finding out about adjusting to the MLL, the influence of former UMass stars, and why their run to the championship was unbelievable to everyone but his team.
At the end of the season, did you guys actually think you would be playing on Memorial Day?
Yes we did. All year us captains harped on the fact that we had the ability to compete at that level and we got our teammates to believe in it.
Why do you think your team ended the season as successfully as you did?
The coaching staff did a remarkable job this year in preparing us the right way and showing us captains the right way to lead a team. Coach Cannella, Miller, and Coon deserve a lot of the credit, and it is no surprise that coach Cannella and the staff received Coach of the Year.
Where there any really defining wins or games from that tournament run that you think will stick with you or the UMass program for a while?
I feel that Hofstra game was remarkable. To be able to come back like we did, we needed a lot of things to happen and a little luck on the way. Some young guys stepped up and we got the job done. The best part of that win was the locker room after because everyone, including the coaches, were going nuts.
Did that feeling of pride or a responsibility to history come into play at the Final Four, being the first UMass team to make it that far?
I felt it was a responsibility of mine and the senior class as well, to get us past the quarterfinals and into championship weekend. We have been in the quarterfinals so many times and not been able to put it all together in that game. Fortunately we were able to come back on Hofstra and earn a spot in the Final Four.
Since you are from Massachusetts, was there an extra sense of pride involved with wearing the name of the State University?
Absolutely. Anytime you can represent your state school and lead them to the national championship, it is truly special. Hopefully in the future I can represent our country with team USA.
After the Championship game how did you guys feel: bitter because you got that close and lost, or happy to have gone that far?
I was not happy initially after the game. I hate to lose and even more given it was the national title game. After some cooling off, I was able to say fair well to some great friends and teammates in the senior class and thank them for all they had done for me and the program. It was some seniorsí last lacrosse game ever, and that was hard to deal with.
What will you miss most about the college game?
The locker room. The guys at UMass are all great guys and donít take themselves too serious. It makes the locker room a great time with everyone joking around and having a lot fun with each other.
Were you surprised by where you were picked in the MLL draft?
No. I knew Joe was going back home to Rochester and Baltimore told me they were going to come down to the wire with their decision because they needed middies very badly. Chicago expressed their interest in me, and I could not be any happier with where I am. The city is amazing; the players and coaches are great, and now I just have to help us get our first W.
Now that you have played in pro games, how do they differ from college games? How are they the same?
The MLL does not allow slow down offensives because of the shot clock. In college, I used to hate playing ball possession teams. It was so boring to watch and play in those games. The MLL is similar to my college team because we ran a run-and-gun offense. The transition for me and a lot of UMass graduates has been pretty easy given our background in college.
Do you think the college game could stand to pick up a little bit of that tempo?
I think the college game is fine the way it is, but now that I am a fan, I would want to see the run-and-gun style be played by more teams.
What do you think of playing in the MLL?
It is a lot more intense then I expected. The MLL has somewhat of a rep that the players donít have fun or take it that serious because it is a weekend commitment. After playing in a few games, I can say that is entirely not true. I have a blast playing with some of the best players in the world and the level of skill and intensity is extremely high.
Are you hoping to keep playing attack, or maybe play a little middy too?
I would like to play both in the league, but most importantly, I will play whichever position helps us get a win.
What do you think of going and playing on a new team, in the fairly new lacrosse market of Chicago?
I love it. It is an opportunity to create a new tradition of lacrosse out in Chicago. The fans have been great, along with the management. I feel Chicago will soon become a great lacrosse city.
Whatís it like to have Mike Culver as your teammate after you guys battled in the Championship game?
It has been a lot of fun with Mike now that we are roommates. Going from competitors to teammates has been an easy transition because we are similar types of people.
Do you like playing with Kevin Leveille, a fellow UMass All-American?
Kevin is one of the best players in the world. I have learned a great deal from him at UMass and now with Chicago.
What players did you try to model your game after?
I tried to model my game around Mark Millonís. We both have similar strengths and weaknesses and had to overcome the height barrier along the way.
How grueling of a prospect is it to go right from a college season where you played in the Championship game, and then in less than a week began on a pro season that will take you to the end of August?
It has really taken a toll on my body the most. Also, I have tried to stay mentally tough by putting my focus on Chicago now and not the past with UMass.
So what else are you doing these days other than playing lacrosse?
Relaxing on the beach and trying to find a job within the lacrosse world.