Leaving their mark
By Christian Davis
C & G Sports Writer
Oakland County lacrosse stars help lead Michigan State Spartans
It was a daunting task for any attacker facing the Michigan State University lacrosse team this season.
First, they had to get past the physical 6-foot-3-inch, 215-pound defenseman Matt LaCasse.
If they did manage to get a shot past the senior, standing in their way was fellow senior Dean Hall in the net.
“Having Matt and Dean, that was a pretty dynamic duo right there,” MSU coach Dwayne Hicks said.
The pair helped lead the Spartans to a 10-5 overall record, a No. 9 national ranking in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association and a spot in the MCLA tournament.
“We were very tough this year to score on, because first you have to get past Matt and then get past Dean,” Hicks said. “Those were two things that a lot of top-10 teams in the country couldn’t do this year.”
For their efforts, both were named All-Americans. Hall, a 2006 Farmington High graduate, was a first-team selection; and LaCasse, a 2006 Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood graduate and West Bloomfield native, was named second team.
Hall was the only goalie selected first team in the nation.
“You have to be pretty special to be a first team goalie,” Hicks said.
Hall said he was surprised by the recognition.
“I’m pretty humble. But to have something like this thrown at me, to be honest, I’d trade it for what (University of Michigan) is doing — winning national championships — but it is an honor,” he said.
Hicks said Hall’s ability to anticipate shots and put himself in the right position in the net made him tough to beat.
“When he’s in there, he’s in charge of the goal; he’s in charge of the defense,” the coach said. “He has fast hands and quick eyes, that’s what a good goalie is all about.”
Hall said having LaCasse, and the rest of the defense, in front of him helped.
“He is steady,” Hall said. “Every single game, he was just a rock out there.”
LaCasse was also an enforcer, according to the coach.
“You’re not going to get past him. It’s a mental game, and once the other attackers saw that, they knew they had to go somewhere else,” Hicks said.
LaCasse — who said he is considering trying out for the football team at MSU — said defenders had full confidence that if they made a mistake, Hall was behind them to bail them out.
“It was unbelievable. … You always knew you had him behind in the cage,” he said. “He did a great job of leading the defense, and he inspired us. His will to win lifted everyone up.”
Both players aren’t sure what their futures hold in lacrosse, but both said their proudest moments were helping lead the Spartans to the national tournament, where they eventually fell in the first round.
“We’ve been super close, but this year we played a full season and earned a spot,” Hall said.