Meet Saint Leo’s Matt Obermeyer
Note: This article is part of a series. We took a fall tour to visit with our Florida born impact players at Florida’s NCAA schools. Our first stop found us at Florida Tech where we spent some time with Andrew Conley and Coach Ryan McAleavey. After that we made our way to Lakeland to visit with Brad Fretti and Dan Krispinsky. Heading northwest out of Lakeland we headed to the hills of Pasco county and the beautiful campus of Saint Leo University.
Saint Leo’s leading scorer and one of the very talented juniors on the team, Matt Obermeyer, and Coach Jorgensen are understandably upbeat about the upcoming season for Saint Leo Lacrosse. With only five seniors on the roster they may look young on paper. But they’re not. They have a deep and talented junior class. As Coach put it, “We have very veteran juniors. Our juniors are like seniors. Most of these guys started the second they walked onto campus.” With another excellent recruiting class on campus the Lions have that rare combination of youth and experience. The future looks great.
That enthusiasm for the upcoming season is bolstered even more by the fact they recently unveiled a new lacrosse facility this fall. The new facility includes state of the art scoreboards, sound system, and a locker room with film capabilities. It all sits right on top of a new parking garage which also addressed the needs of the University.
This feels like a program that is starting to hit on all cylinders. With the expansion of the NCAA D2 tournament to include eight teams the opportunities in front of this group of have could not be better. We were fortunate enough to sit down with Coach Brad Jorgensen and Matt Obermeyer and speak with them about the program.
FLN – Coach, when I spoke with you about sitting down with Matt you were very high on this kid. Not just as a player but as a student athlete. What makes Matt so special to your program?
Coach Jorgensen – Well the great player part is obvious. Deep South freshman of the year, one of our leading goal scorers. He is a player that other teams have to work hard to prepare for. He’s the type of kid that I know other teams are spending their Friday afternoons during the spring trying to figure out how to stop Matt Obermeyer. On top of that he has been an outstanding leader for us and he’s one of the better students on the team. He is a workhorse academically and has lead the way on leadership initiatives, community service. So top to bottom he’s not just a kid who can put the ball in the net he is the total package.
FLN – Matt, that sounds similar to everything I’ve learned about you so far. Deep South Freshman of the Year as a freshman, First Team All-Conference as a sophomore, 38 goals, 44 points…that’s a heck of a sophomore year. What is next?
Matt – The hope is that I continue to improve. I’m put in a great situation where I’m surrounded by players that are all really good ball players. George, the other attackman, has been leading the way and I played with him throughout high school. He was the guy that showed me the ropes when I got down here and he was my recruiting guy. I stayed with him when I came to visit and stayed overnight. The goal is to keep getting better, not just to achieve individual perfection but as a team to get better. So one thing we are trying to improve on is to get everyone to really feel like teammates, like part of a family and work together, to trust one another. When you have that you can really do well on the field.
FLN – What specific goals do you have for your team this coming season?
Matt – Obviously, get to the (NCAA Championship) tournament– that is our number one priority. For me a big goal is just coming together and always supporting each other. Since the beginning of the season we have looked down upon negativity towards one another. We are really trying to stay positive and support each other. Not to yell at each other when someone messes up. This will really help our freshmen get acclimated to the pressure of being a collegiate player.
FLN – Coach what is your freshman class look like?
Coach Jorgensen – We had a couple of needs that I think we have met. We were looking for some more depth in the goaltending position and we did that with another Florida player – Dave Moore out of Lake Mary HS who has been outstanding and another player out of Long Island named Matt Lemonis who is also looking good. And we certainly needed to get better through the offensive midfield. We have to take some pressure off of Matt and George Proechel by giving them some midfielders that other teams have to worry about as well. I think we have been successful on that front. We got an All American out of the Rochester area named Dylan Yonts who is going to be a heck of a player. We converted an attackman out of the Mt. Sinai area who will help us out and we’ve done a good job at developing the kids who were already here. Kids like Bobby Hutchinson and Tom Horn. They are already playing better than at any point last year so that bodes well.
FLN – Matt, since you came over here from Winter Springs HS two years ago how would you say your game as developed.
Matt – I’ve become more mature on the field. Field awareness is huge and I’m seeing things on the field that I wouldn’t have recognized in high school. The game progresses so quickly and changes so fast coming from high school to college it’s something you have to pick up really quickly otherwise you are going to be left behind. The biggest difference is the athleticism. Everyone out here is big, strong, and fast. It’s not just one guy, everyone is doing it. It’s more of a team effort than an individual thing. You can have a good high school team with two or three good guys but at the college level you need ten great guys working together as one.
FLN – What do you do when you aren’t hitting the books or practicing?
Matt- I hang out with the guys on the team. It’s like family; everyone hangs out with everyone else. My freshman year we had twenty guys come in so now our junior class is really close. So we are trying to get that together with everyone so we have all the freshmen over to our apartments or house and hang out and watch some football games. Usually our free time is on the weekend. During the week we are doing school work, weight lifting, and lacrosse every day so on the weekends we try to just watch a little football and relax and bond as a team.
FLN – Do you have any games circled on your calendar this year?
Matt – Well obviously everyone in the Deep South is a big game this year. We want to do well against Tampa and Florida Southern, we need to come back and do well against them. Limestone is always a huge out of conference game and will probably solidify a championship berth if we are able to beat them. I think we have a great chance this year.
FLN – You have Rollins as an away game this year so you are coming home. Are you looking forward to that?
Matt – Yea, we are going to be back in the Orlando area so I’m sure I’ll see a bunch of my old friends at the game. I think my Mom is going to fly back in for that game too so that will be nice.
FLN – The teams here in the state are really getting tight. All of our Florida teams are getting really good.
Coach Jorgensen – Yes, Rollins is much improved and Florida Tech was a young team last year but knowing a little bit about the kids they have brought in they are not going to be a slouch either. This is something we knew was going to happen. When you look at this conference in every other sport this conference is where it’s at. It’s the best baseball, the best softball, it’s the best basketball conference. The Sunshine State Conference is one of the most dominant conferences in D2 already. (2013 is the last season for the Deep South Conference. Beginning in 2014 St. Leo, along with all of the other Florida D2 teams will move to the Sunshine State Conference.
It was great to meet Coach Jorgensen and Matt is an impressive young man. You can see the leader beginning to emerge as he never really let the conversation become about him. He brought team chemistry and teammates into our conversation whenever he could. He clearly understands what it’s going to take to get the Lions to the next level. They are very upbeat about the next couple of seasons at St. Leo. The facility is top notch and this is going to be a very exciting season for Florida’s NCAA lacrosse teams.
FLN would like to say thanks to Mike Carlson for all of the great photos of Matt. To see more of his work please visit saintleolions.photoshelter.com