February 13, 2014

#LMRanks: Le Moyne's Corapi Making Noise

by Jac Coyne | LaxMagazine.com | Coyne Archive | Twitter

No. 2 Le Moyne Dolphins

2013 Record: 18-2 (NCAA Champions)

Top Returner: M Andrew Chadderdon, Sr.
Chadderdon (13G, 18A) was Mr. Clutch for the Dolphins, scoring the winning goal in all three postseason wins, including the NCAA final. 

X-Factor: G Pat Brothers, Jr.
Jeff White went out in style with his 13- save performance in the title tilt, but he leaves a chasm in the net. Brothers was his primary backup, but he's one of four untested goalies vying for the job. 

Le Moyne junior midfielder Joe Corapi scored a goal and dished out an assist in the national championship game against Mercyhurst. He'll be expected to build off that balanced production if the Dolphins want to repeat. (Greg Wall)

Joe Corapi plays loud.

Corapi, a junior middie for Le Moyne, barrels to the net whenever he gets a chance by using his speed and dodging ability, never shying away from contact if that's what it takes to score. And he scores plenty, as his 24 goals for the title-winning Dolphins last year indicates. He's a decent-sized guy at six feet and 175 pounds, but he seems a bit bigger just by the way he operates on the offensive end.

Then you talk to Corapi and the volume goes way down.

"It's funny, the way that he plays is a jam-it-down-your-throat kind of guy, but he is very quiet," said Le Moyne head coach Dan Sheehan. "To the point where we're always asking him to talk a little more. The personality does not match the playing style. You'd never match up his on-field personality and off-field personality."

He's a man of few words, but Corapi isn't shy. Focused is probably the best word.

"On the field, the one goal is we want to win," Corapi said. "I'm going to do everything I can and give 110 percent to do what we want to do."

Sheehan has been content with Corapi's production in his first two years after the Liverpool, N.Y., native chose Le Moyne over other high-end programs because of its small size and proximity to home. This year, however, the coach is expecting the same volume, but with some adjustments to the treble and bass.

Sheehan labels Corapi a "jump-in-the-cage-type of midfielder," but he'll be tasked with nuancing that approach as he tries to fill the shoes of some very talented graduates.

"In the locker room, everybody knows he has the ability to get to the cage, but it's kind of like a golfer walking around with just a driver in his bag," said Sheehan of Corapi. "You have to find the other clubs to complement the big club. That's the biggest challenge we've put in front of Joey this year."

Corapi recognizes the gauntlet placed before him and has readily, if not quietly, embraced his summons.

"When I have the ball in my stick, I have to be more beneficial to the team," he said. "Passing, scoring, everything. Now that I'm an older guy, I have to help everybody. Last year, I was a younger guy, just a sophomore, and now I'm a junior so I have to step it up even more."

Corapi and the rest of the Dolphins returning this spring know that they won't have the luxury of experienced guys like Tyler Prevost, Nate Frechette and goalie Jeff White around to bail them out when games get tight. Fortunately, last year's inspired run to the championship has given the entire team a poise that no amount of practice can replicate.

"Just coming out this year and in the last week of practice, you can already tell we have more confidence," Corapi said. "Coach has even noticed it. He seems to be happy and cheerful right now. You can tell that everyone knows what the goal is and everyone knows what has to be put in to get there again."

While Sheehan is unlikely to describe himself as 'happy' and/or 'cheerful' on the lacrosse field, even he has seen the changes that come with winning a championship.

"We do spend an awful lot of time telling our kids to forget about last year – forget about the results, but remember the path we took to get there and everything that went into that," he said. "We have a bunch of talented, confident kids. It's just my job to make sure that these pieces fit together in a timely fashion here. We're [just starting] and we're not looking for perfection just yet, but it's definitely on the horizon. The kids in the locker room understand what it means to play lacrosse here at Le Moyne and the expectations, burdens and demands of that.

"There are so many memorable things that happened during the run and they're all burned into your brain," Corapi added. "They're hard to forget, but we have a new season starting and all new memories to come."

If these new memories involve back-to-back championships, Corapi will be on the frontline of making it happen. He'll still be dodging hard to the net, but with some new wrinkles added in. And all of his plays will be loud, even if he isn't.

Lacrosse Magazine will continue its 2014 college lacrosse preview throughout January and into February, with team-by-team breakdowns of the top teams in NCAA Division I, II and III men's and women's lacrosse. Follow the countdown at LaxMagazine.com/LMRanks and on twitter at #LMRanks. 

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