Only in the weird world of lacrosse can a fella be playing against a coach one day, then play for that same coach a matter of months later without even being traded or switching teams. Yet that’s the boat Alex Crepinsek finds himself in as the No. 10 overall pick in the National Lacrosse League entry draft prepares himself for life with the Minnesota Swarm. “I played against Peterborough a lot this summer,” the defender for Ajax of Major Series Lacrosse said. “(Peterborough Lakers assistant) Coach Sullivan said he watched me play and said he liked how I played defense and how I handled the ball.” Now that same coach, Joe Sullivan, will be waiting for Crepinsek in Minnesota as head coach of the Swarm when camp opens.
The 5-foot-11 inch, 170-pound left-hander out of Oakville, Ont., is confident he’s got the tools to make the team and he’s doing what he can to make sure he’s starting on the right foot. It helps when you have a summer playoff series against the Peterborough Lakers and your assignment is to contain John Grant Jr. The Rock didn’t exactly pull off the upset in the series, but the experience gained by Crepinsek will go a long way in the development of his game, no matter where he’s playing.
“I think I have what it takes,” he said. “I’ve played against a lot of the NLL players and I think I have a pretty good shot at cracking the lineup. And they think I’ll be a good fit in Minnesota, so I need to come into camp in really good shape.”
That’s the part of the game he can control, his fitness. And Crepinsek said he’s been following the team’s workout regimen closely as he prepares for training camp. Because even though he has yet to play in an NLL game, he knows what’s up.
“Just from watching, I followed the Knighthawks when I was in Rochester (playing NCAA ball at RIT) and I grew up watching the Rock,” he said. “It’s always getting faster. A lot of teams expect players to be effective on both ends of the floor. The speed and the versatility of all the players is the main difference.”
No amount of talking or game tape can prepare you for that speed, but he’s doing both. Jordan MacIntosh was a teammate at RIT and has a year of experience on Crepinsek, and fellow draftee Kiel Matisz will be another familiar face in camp. He said he’s known MacIntosh since they were 10 or 11 years old, and he’s already offered pointers about life in the NLL. Matisz was a Junior A teammate in Burlington for 4 years.
And as exciting as it is to be a drafted athlete, Crepinsek is eagerly anticipating life with the Swarm, especially on game nights.
“If it works out and I make the team, it’s exciting,” said Crepinsek, who said he’ll move to Minnesota if he makes the team. “That’s what I’ve been playing for my whole life. It’s something I can’t stop thinking out. I’m excited about it.”Chavez is an avid lacrosse player in Rochester and a journalist for the Democrat and Chronicle as well as a longtime Inside Lacrosse contributor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to RochesterSports.com.
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