It might be difficult for the all the goalies who have watched
fourth year Business Management student Tyler Russell send
the ball into the back of the net to imagine, but out of high
school the Tiger’s leader in goals was a walk-on try-out for the
RIT Men’s Lacrosse team. Since then, the Livonia, N.Y. native
has become the most recognizable name on the roster thanks to the
astounding 69 goals he scored this season.
Now a fourth year, Russell still considers his proudest moment
not the individual success that he saw last year, setting the
program record for most goals in a season, but what the team has
accomplished in his four years here. Before Russell came to RIT,
the last time the team had made it to the NCAA tournament was
in 2000. The Tigers have ended this drought, making trips to the
tournament for the last three years.
The last two years have brought a lot of change for Russell and
the program. Even though the team’s run in the NCAA Division
III Tournament was cut short during the semifinals by Tufts
University, the accomplishment was a sign of the team’s talent
“Last year it was nice to get to prove to everyone that RIT has got
it” said Russell. It was Russell’s break out year as well; he scored 12
times as many goals as he had in his first two years combined.
The success of the team is not the only thing that Russell is quick
to mention when looking back at his time at here at RIT. For him,
something that stands out is the team’s camaraderie. Even off the
field a lot of his time is spent with the team, a group he describes as
“forty-plus guys who will always be there to have your back.”
Speaking about his motivation, Russell declares, “Right now I am
playing for the people who are important to me.” Specifically, he
draws inspiration from his grandmother and uncle, both of whom
he has lost in the last five years, and Willie Rago, a team member
who passed away in fall 2010 before he had a chance to play.
As for the future, the first thing Russell says he will do is take a few
weeks off after the long season. He plans to remain in the Rochester
area where he has made a few contacts in the business community.
His future in lacrosse is complicated by the sport’s lack of a highly
developed professional league like hockey or baseball, but there
are opportunities out there. Russell says he may try out for the
Rochester Rattlers who are part of the Major League Lacrosse.
If you’ve seen RIT’s women’s softball team recently, you’ve
probably seen Michelle Tabisz. The fourth year Biology major
has been a constant presence on the field since joining the
team during her first year. Now in her final year, Tabisz can’t
help but comment on how quickly the time has passed. “I
remember my first practice, my first game and how nervous I was,”
Her competitive career has its roots back in the second grade,
when her father put her on a softball team for the first time. “He
was an avid baseball fan,” Tabisz says. “I wasn’t really thrilled with
it when he put me on the team at first,” she recalls, but she enjoyed
the sport enough to want to play again the next year. After the
second year, things clicked; “it was like, ‘softball, softball, softball’
all the time.” According to RIT Athletics, that drive to succeed in
softball brought her to be three time captain of her high school
team. “I’m a really self-motivated person,” she says. “I don’t need
other people to challenge me. I do really want to see other people
working hard, and that makes me work just as hard or harder.”
Once arriving at RIT, there was no doubt in her mind that she
would immediately seek out the softball team.
For Tabisz, softball is more than just a game to play; it’s a life
to lead. “My best friends from home would be the girls I played
softball with in the summer,” she says. “I didn’t see myself doing
anything else every weekend.” That attitude hasn’t changed
with time. When asked what about being part of a team is most
rewarding, Tabisz pauses to consider the question. Eventually, she
responds, “When everything clicks. When you … know that if you
do poorly, the next girl in the batting order is going to get that hit.
… That cohesion inside that everyone is feeling at one time.”
Unfortunately, this chapter of Tabisz’s life is coming to a close.
“It’s still sinking in that my competitive softball career is done,”
she says. Ultimately, she wants to be a coach for younger girls, in an
attempt to instill in a new generation the love of the game that her
coaches instilled in her. That’s the eventual goal, anyway; Tabisz
will be going to veterinary school after graduation, and her longterm
plans for softball are taking a back seat to her school work
for the time being. She still plans on playing, though. “I’m playing
in [recreational] leagues and weekly leagues,” she says. “I can’t
Fourth year New Media Marketing major Rebecca Lampson
has been a key player for RIT Women’s Lacrosse since her
first year. Now in her final year, the varsity midfielder
is ranked eighth on RIT’s all-time scoring list with 110
points, second in assists with 40, tenth in goals with 70,
and fifth in draw controls with 98, according to her profile on the
RIT Athletics page.
Lacrosse was one of the first sports that Penn Yan, N.Y. native
Lampson played in her early years. “I played box lacrosse when I
was around five or six” said Lampson. From lacrosse, Lampson also
participated in basketball and soccer when it was in season.
When she was a student at Penn Yan Academy, her hometown
high school, Lampson was an active member of the varsity lacrosse
team. In 2005, Lampson worked with her teammates to make it
into the New York State semifinals. In 2006, Lampson helped
propel her team into the state championship game.
After graduating high school, Lampson did not initially want
to join the RIT Lacrosse team. “Coming in, I wasn’t going to play
lacrosse,” said Lampson. “But then a coach contacted me and told
me to tryout.” From there, Lampson tallied 21 points on 10 goals
and 11 assists in her inaugural year. Those 11 assists would tie her
for sixth most in one season at RIT. The following years, Lampson
snagged All-Empire 8 honorable mentions twice in a row.
This season, Lampson and fellow Varsity Women’s Lacrosse
players took on a new challenge: competing in the Liberty League.
“We were in the Empire 8 league last year, but they moved us into
this league because the team has grown a lot these past few years,”
said Lampson. This transition was not without its difficulties
within the team. Starting out with 30 players at the beginning of
the season, the team was scaled down to only 15 players after cuts,
people quitting the team and injuries. Endurance was a challenge
for Lampson and her teammates, with many of them having to play
through an entire game.
In spite of this, Lampson and her teammates worked hard
throughout the season and made it into the semifinals. Although
they eventually lost to William Smith College in the semifinals,
Lampson is confident that the team can rank higher next season.
“It was our first year in the Liberty League. We weren’t familiar
with the teams,” said Lampson.
Despite graduating this year, Lampson isn’t sure what the future
has in store for her. She’s planning on returning home, where she
will plan what comes next while working her eighth year at Seneca
Farms, a local Penn Yan ice cream stand.