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Cino Knows All About U.S. Team's Toughest Rival
by Justin Feil | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online
U.S. team defenseman Joe Cinosky, recently named the head coach at the University of Minnesota, has plenty of experience with foes north of the border.
© Richard Orr
Joe Cinosky won a Major League Lacrosse championship last summer with the Toronto Nationals. He'll try to win a World Lacrosse Championship this month in Manchester, England, against many of his former Toronto teammates who are a part of defending champion Team Canada.
“Being able to represent your country and win a gold medal has to be the highest honor, especially in a sport you love,” Cinosky said. “No one is getting paid tons to play this. This is what you look up to when you’re a little kid. It’s a great honor to be selected to the team. To win a gold medal would be the pinnacle of my career.”
Having a little inside knowledge on some of the Canadian players and their strengths could help make that dream a reality.
“You kind of know player tendencies,” Cinosky said, “but at the same time, these guys are some of the best players in the world. It’s hard to say exactly how to cover them. These guys always find a way to get open. They’re crafty players.”
Cinosky, an MLL all-star defenseman in 2009 after starring at the University of Maryland, was traded to the Chesapeake Bayhawks last winter by Toronto for the second pick in the supplemental draft.
“I got a voicemail: ‘We traded you. Best of luck,’” he recalled. “That was the last I heard from Toronto.”
Cinosky was one of several American players sent packing by Toronto, a team that truly fits it Nationals moniker. It now has 12 of Team Canada’s players on its roster and makes little secret of being a breeding grounds for the national team. Having played a year with the Nationals could aid Cinosky in the worlds.
“You kind of know what to expect,” he said. “I think it definitely gives you a better sense of their scheme and what they’re going to do offensively. You can know what they’re doing, but stopping it is something completely different.”
Cinosky did study some of his Canadian teammates while in Toronto, and he came away impressed with how they operate.
“Having an American background, and with it being ingrained into you that you have to play with two hands, they consistently use one hand, and they’re successful. They’re incredible at what they do. They always seem to know when to backdoor you.
“What it really comes down to,” he added, “is it comes down to defending the two-man game. They do a good job of picking up top, and then going off that.”
Team USA will face the MLL All-Stars in its final exhibition July 8, in the midst of its training camp July 5-10. There, the team will begin working on putting in its schemes and start to think about its world championship opponents.
“Joe knows a lot about what they do,” said Team USA head coach Mike Pressler. “Chris Schiller does too. A lot of our guys have played with them and against them. They’ll share what we need to know.
“There’s a level of comfort. You’re comfortable playing with them because you’ve gone against them so much.”
Cinosky, who is playing on his first U.S. team, holds Pressler in too high a regard to volunteer any information on his own, but, “if he’d ask me, obviously I’d share my two cents with him.”
Cinosky has gotten into coaching since his graduation from Maryland. After a year of coaching high school in Minnesota, the New Jersey native recently was named the University of Minnesota men’s club head coach, and he will put his energy into steering them next spring.
“I started talking to them toward the end of the spring,” Cinosky said. “We were able to sit down and meet and make sure I’m the right fit. I’m glad it worked out.
“Being out there, seeing the sport grow, is just incredible. As far as program goes, those guys approached me. They want to be taken seriously as a club program. They want this thing to go up. I’m excited to get out there and start working with the boys.”
First, though, Cinosky has some important playing to do in trying to bring the world title back to the U.S. The Americans won six world championships in a row before Canada won in 2006. One of six defensemen for Team USA, Cinosky is being counted on to defend the world’s top attackmen, including some former Toronto teammates.
“He’s another big strong right-handed banger,” Pressler said. “He’s very physical. We really need him to be a shutdown guy as well.”
Added Cinosky: “This is my first world games. I’m looking forward to the experience. It’s been a wild ride. The whole process of being selected was an accomplishment. To be selected out of the 84 guys at the first camp, that was an honor.”
» Inside September Issue of Lacrosse Magazine » U.S. Indoor Team to Play Iroquois Nationals » World Champs: Team USA's Road to Gold » Photos: Team USA vs. Canada (FIL Final) » Video: Team USA Wins Back World Title » Five Things Team USA Needs to Beat Canada » Video: Sights and Sounds of World Games » Video: U.S. Well-Equipped with John Jez » Crotty Surfaces, Then Rises to the Occasion » Golden Boys: Team USA Rules World Again
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