BY MICHALA RUETER (N.C.C. NEWS)- Meet the Sandbox. A group of Syracuse Lacrosse players who completely changed the meaning of a face-off squad. The three upperclassmen, Ben Williams, Joe DeMarco, and Cal Paduda, have been battling in the X for years.
“The first time it started, we were actually practicing right here in Manley field house in these softball nets,” Paduda said.
After the trio was separated from the rest of the group to practice drills, some teammates started to poke fun.
“One of the players at the time, Scott Loy, was like, oh, look at the face-off guys in the sandbox,” Paduda said.
From that day on, Paduda and the face-off specialists decided to embrace the name, and give it a whole new meaning.
“Yeah, we’re the sandbox, and yeah we grind,” he added.
The face-off position is arguably the most important in the game of lacrosse, since they can force ground balls and allow possession for their team’s offense. They are commonly referred to as FOGO’s, or “face-off, get-offs.” Although their presence on the field is momentary, the amount of effort these three put forth is endless.
“As a group, we pride ourselves on working really hard. Our weight coach works with us specifically on some things. I think we’ve done a good job, and I think we all push each other,” senior Sandbox member Ben Williams said.
Once they unlace their cleats, and wipe away their eye black, a more humorous side of the sandbox is revealed. The group created an Instagram account one day after practice which currently has over 1,000 followers. They created videos such as a Master’s reenactment, granting DeMarco a green jacket after sinking a “putt.”
Paduda wants to remind kids that although they play lacrosse at SU, they’re just normal teenagers after all.
“We’re really serious on the field, but some of us are 19, 20, 24. So, off the field we like to have fun.”