by Dave Franklin | MCLA.us
Every year, seniors are given exit interviews to gauge how their experience was, whether it was in the class room or institutionally. As part of the process, I’ll be conducting insightful and humorous senior surveys of various programs.
This installment features Grand Valley State and its eight seniors: Matt Jawahir, Nate Winterburn, Dallas Jaros, Jake Parry, Alex Moyer, Joey DiGiacomo , Matt Forman, Zach Crawford.
Dave Franklin: As seniors, you are two years removed from GVSU's national title game appearance and you've been to the final four every season you've been there. How does this play into your goals for this season?
Matt Jawahir: Our goals are always set high. We look to compete for the national championship every time we step on the field.
Nate Winterburn: Going into each season we have the same goals. Our coaching staff and experience enable us to know exactly what we need to do, to get to where we want to be. The last few years have not ended the way we wanted, but that allows us to learn from those mistakes and prepare for this current season.
Dallas Jaros: I transferred here last spring, so this is all still pretty new to me, but it was exciting jumping into a new program with an opportunity to win a ring.
Jake Parry: Our goal every year is to go out and compete to win a national title.
Alex Moyer: The final goal every season is to win the national championship, however we’ve fallen short of that goal in recent years. We know we have the talent and determination to get there. We all just need to buy in and keep grinding collectively.
Joey DiGiacomo: Not being part of a national title at GVSU makes me more motivated and willing to do whatever it takes in order to achieve our goal.
Matt Forman: It's definitely motivation to get that feeling of playing for the national championship. The standard at GVSU lacrosse is national championship every year, no less. It's always been the mentality and goal for this team ever since I was a freshman.
Zach Crawford: Every year we have the same goal and there are no exceptions. We don’t feel like we’ve accomplished everything we’ve set out to do that season unless we win our last game. As a senior, and in my last year ever playing competitive lacrosse, I’d like to leave everything I have out on the field and walk away with our goal accomplished.
DF: Who do you consider your biggest rival among St. Thomas, Dayton, Davenport, St. John's and NDSU?
MJ: St. Thomas
NW: Honestly, every one of those games has an atmosphere of a rivalry game. Those teams require us to play at our best and each team knows these games will be tight.
DJ: I would think it is Davenport. Those have been the most intense games, but you’ve got to love the conference play in the UMLC.
JP: St. Thomas
AM: St. Thomas is our biggest rival.
JD: St. Thomas
MF: St. Thomas, since I have never beaten them.
DF: Everyone on the roster is from the state of Michigan. Any notable situations where a high school rival became a college teammate (or resuming a relationship from club program to the next level)?
MJ: Well, there are the five Detroit Catholic Central guys versus the one kid from Brother Rice.
NW: There’s a lot of guys on the team who have played each other at some point in high school. There are no bigger rivals though than the Parry brothers because they know each other’s deepest secrets.
DJ: I'm a little older than most of the other guys on the roster, which is why I don’t think I played anyone on this team in high school. Still surprising though.
JP: We have one kid from Brother Rice and five from Catholic Central, which is the biggest rivalry in a Michigan.
AM: We have a few CC guys on the team and one player from Brother Rice. That was always a heated rivalry in high school.
JD: Sam Highland was a friend of mine from summer ball who was on a rival high school team. The transition from friend to enemy and now back to friends is very funny and memorable to me.
MF: Cole Hyde went to Brother rice and we have five CC guys, including myself, on the team. We’ll call him names like "rice cake" and such, but it’s all fun and games now since we are all together on a college roster. However, there is no orange allowed on our field.
ZC: I’ve played lacrosse with Alex Moyer and Joey DiGiacamo since we were probably 12. However, I went to Catholic Central and didn’t play with them in high school. It’s great that we are teammates again. I have teammates here that I’ve played with before and it just creates great team chemistry.
DF: Lions, Red Wings or Pistons?
NW: Red Wings
AM: The Lions for sure, this year is the year! (Knock wood)
JD: Red Wings
ZC: Lions! Restore the Roar!
DF: What's your favorite part of playing in Salt Lake City for the MCLA tournament?
MJ: For me, it's getting to hang out with the whole team while we trek out 24 hours on a bus. Dave, rumor has it you hitched some rides to the field and back on the GVSU team bus in 2014, so you know the deal.
NW: Being able to play in Salt Lake City with the mountains directly in the background is awesome. Also witnessing the BYU versus Utah game last year, right before our quarterfinal game, was unreal. With both teams technically home teams and that being Utah’s last MCLA game made it extra cool to watch!
DJ: The best part about the national tournament is traveling across the country playing the game I love with my friends.
JP: Spending the whole week with my teammates.
AM: Either the views or spending so much time with the team. When we go on trips, especially one that long, the team starts to gel really well.
JD: The tournament is all about being in a place I haven't been to before, playing at a higher than normal level of MCLA lacrosse.
MF: Playing for a national championship is always on your mind and lacrosse itself is the most fun. Sightseeing and traveling with the guys you’ve spent all semester with makes it even more fun.
ZC: I really enjoy the scenery overlooking the mountains. I’d never seen mountains quite like that before I went to Utah and I’m happy to be playing with them in the backdrop again.
DF: What's the funniest thing that Coach Murray has said or done in practice or a game?
MJ: Coach did a little dance after we beat Concordia-Irvine in the 2016 quarterfinals.
NW: Coach makes sure everyone knows that the hotels we stay at have a confidential breakfast.
DJ: It's always funny whenever Coach Murray starts talking to anyone wearing black and white stripes.
JP: After our win against Concordia in the national tournament my sophomore year, Coach Murray did the running man dance.
AM: Coach Murray likes to tell people to shut up when they sneeze or cough. That always gets a laugh out of the guys.
JD: Giving me the nickname GAJ in front of the whole team for the first time was hysterical. Everyone was looking around to find who it was.
MF: When people cough or sneeze during film or a team huddle, he’ll tell them to shut up. I laugh when he does that every time
ZC: Give Joey his nickname of GAJ right when we stepped on campus his freshman year.
DF: What are your post-graduation plans?
MJ: I'll be working in the great Grand Rapids area.
NW: I'm going to attend graduate school to become a Physician’s Assistant. I’ll definitely coach at some point as well.
DJ: Still up in the air. We'll see when we get there.
JP: After graduation I would like to get a job working in the financial services industry in my hometown of Troy or Grand Rapids.
AM: I’m an education major, so my goal is to teach as well as coach lacrosse.
JD: I plan on getting a job in the realm of investing and finance.
MF: I'm currently working at Autocam Medical as an engineering CO-OP student. They make a lot of medical devices, including the main tool or hand piece that is used to remove cataracts, which is super interesting stuff. Hopefully they will hire me full time once I graduate.
ZC: I will be working full time as a financial advisor at Northwestern Mutual in Ann Arbor.
DF: One Word Association: Cam Holding
ZC: Great Dude (so much for just one word)
DF: I wear my jersey number because...?
MJ: Why was 6 afraid of 7? Because seven ate/eight nine.
NW: I have always liked the number 8 and have worn it in all sports, mainly because I can write my name using it: N8.
DJ: I wore 9 in high school and my friend, Billy Kopsky, wore it at my last school.
JP: I wear 15 because my favorite number was 5 but an upperclassman in high school had it, so I switched to 15 and it stuck with me ever since.
AM: I wear 81 because I loved Calvin Johnson growing up and I was told to wear the number by a former teammate. Turns out 81 looks great on a goalie.
JD: 16, it was given to me.
MF: 19 was assigned to me when I first started playing at GVSU. Kind of just rolled with it after that.
ZC: I wanted 2 in high school, but my jerk best friend took it even after I called it. However, I was happy with 20 because the GOAT (Barry Sanders) wore it for the Lions
DF: Where's the best spot to grab a bite in Grand Rapids?
MJ: SOHO sushi.
NW: The Mitten. They have amazing fire grilled pizza.
DJ: New Holland Brewery.
JP: New Holland Brewery.
AM: In my opinion, Anna’s House is the best place to eat in GR.
JD: Main Street Pub, for sure.
MF: Love me some Wolfgangs! It's the best breakfast place in Eastown of Grand Rapids that has awesome skillets.
ZC: Thai Cafe.
DF: What will you remember or miss the most at the end of the season?
MJ: I’ll miss playing lacrosse with some of my best friends.
NW: I'll miss the bus trips and hotels
DJ: All the good times with my friends, along with all the hard times that got me where I am today. That's what I'll miss and that's what I value.
JP: I am going to miss being able to hang out with my friends on bus trips and at the hotels.
AM: I'll miss spending time with the team. We have a great group of guys and we bring out the best in each other.
JD: I'll definitely remember all the conditioning and D-I calf days that I have done in the four years I've been here. I'm not sure how much I'll miss them, but I'll always remember them.
MF: Definitely the road trips, that's what I'll miss. Spending time with your teammates on the bus rides or in the hotel is what Laker Lacrosse is all about.
ZC: I will miss competing. Just getting the opportunity to forget about everything good or bad going on in your life and putting on pads to compete with your friends.
DF: Which GVSU Laker is the best at video games?
MJ: Justin Parry
NW: Lee Conquest
JP: Justin Parry. Game - Call of Duty
AM: Justin Parry is great at Call of Duty
JD: I spend the most time playing video games, so probably me.
MF: Justin Parry
ZC: Andrew Schertzer
DF: Which member of this senior class is mostly likely to become famous?
MJ: Matt Foreman for modeling.
NW: Dallas, probably by accident.
DJ: D-town boogie.
JP: Matt Foreman.
AM: I could see Dallas Jaros becoming famous.
JD: I can definitely see Jake Parry being on the news someday.
MF: Nate Winterburn. The kid is a genius.
ZC: Dallas will become infamous for some reason or another.
DF: What is the most important quality that GVSU lacrosse has instilled in you?
MJ: Time management.
NW: Dedication and preparation.
JP: Time management. It's not easy balancing lacrosse and school while striving to improve at both on a daily basis.
AM: That you have to work hard to achieve your goals. Nothing in life is handed to you and to get to where you want to be you need to work at it.
JD: The basics matter most, that's what I'll take away from my time as a Laker.