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On tap with Will Rotatori

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In what has been a breakout season, junior Will Rotatori has started in all eight contests for men’s lacrosse. The small-statured attackman, unlike the majority of his Mid-Atlantic to Northeast native teammates, hails from Florida. We at The Daily Princetonian had the opportunity to sit down with Will to discuss matters of both steak and style/sizzle.

DP: Where are you from, and what’s it like there?

Will Rotatori: I’m from Winter Park, Fla. It’s sunny, nothing like here in New Jersey. It’s a good time there. I have a lot of great friends back home, so it’s fun to go back in the summer and hang out with them.

DP: How would you say that this part of the East Coast compares to your part?

WR: First off, there’s the weather situation. I’m definitely warm-blooded, and I hate the snow. Also, I’m 160 lbs, no fat on me, so I can’t take this cold weather all the time. I have to bundle up in three sweatshirts. That’s a huge factor for me. Also, in Florida, it’s swimsuit season all year round, if you get what I’m saying.

DP: Could you describe your team nickname?

WR: I told our stat guy Jerry Price to boost my weight up a little bit this year. My brother plays for Penn. Last year we went there, and he played a joke on me. They put me down at 140 lbs on the scouting report and on their media card. My buddies went to the game and asked me about it. I told them I’m not 140. That was pretty messed up. I’m 160, but I’m listed at 165. My nickname is Bones. My dad gave it to me in eighth grade because I was skin-and-bones and wanted me to get bigger so I could play lacrosse in college. At first I didn’t like the nickname at all. But everyone caught on, including my high school coach. I had two older brothers who heckled me. But Bones stuck, and I like it to this day.

DP: Are there any other interesting nicknames on your team? For example, Simple?

WR: Yeah, there’s Simple Jake. In our line stretches they call out our first line middies. There’s Hot Kip, who’s Kip Orban. There’s Hot Dog Tom. Tom Schreiber. And there’s Simple Jake, because he’s just a simple person. But amazing lacrosse player. That’s just a few of them. The man of many nicknames is goalie Eric Sanschagrin. The first nickname that comes to mind is Cabbage. And now I just heard another one of his, which is Franklin. Because he supposedly looks like Franklin the Turtle. Plenty of people can’t even pronounce his last name, so there’s a lot that comes from that.

DP: If you could be salt, pepper or oregano, which would you be, and why?

WR: I’d be pepper, to spice it up a little bit. It’s a hot little flavor. I also put it the most on my food.

DP: Do you or your teammates have any notable pre-game rituals?

WR: Everyone has certain things that they do. A lot of people have superstitions. They’ll wear the same compression shorts or the same socks under certain socks. As a team, we have a ritual that we walk together in two lines — we have the captains lead it — to [1952] Stadium. Everyone’s yelling out random words and nicknames. It helps bring the intensity and lighten the mood before a big game. This year, we’ve kind of gotten away from it, but we used to have freshmen dance on the spot during an away game. Sanschagrin is known for it, because his freshman year he did the broken robot, and it was the worst dance you’ll ever see.

DP: This year you have a couple freshmen who start. Could you talk about what they have brought to the team in terms of athletic contributions?

WR: Like you said, we have some on defense starting, and there are some who play on offense. I swear, the first week they came to school, they all had 20-30 lbs on me, and they’re all two or three inches taller than me. To say the least, I was a little bit intimidated, because they’re all big boys and multiple sports athletes. They’re super athletic. When we split up by class years, they were maybe the quickest group. I know Bear Goldstein and Adam Hardej were getting DI football looks.

DP: How about social contributions?

WR: Socially, they’re a crazy bunch of guys. They definitely fit the Princeton lacrosse label of having a good time when we’re allowed to. I would say the craziest of them all is Zach Currier. He’s a Canadian, which is pretty much all you need to know. He’s quiet, but he’s a fun guy to be with.

DP: If you could play a sport other than lacrosse, what would it be?

WR: I would say soccer. And I would be overseas. It would be amazing to play in Europe or another country besides the U.S. Plus, possibly playing for a World Cup would be the coolest thing in the world.

DP: What would you say has been your proudest moment in your Princeton lacrosse career?

WR: As of now, I’d say my proudest moment is when we beat Cornell my freshman year to win the Ivy League regular season championship. It was the most excited I’ve been to be part of a team. We stomped all over them. And I remember right when we won, they were playing the song “Levels.” The theme of the year had been “Levels” on repeat. When they played it, it brought together the nostalgia from the beginning of the season.

DP: Could you talk a little bit about your transition from midfield to attack?

WR: Back in high school, I was pretty much strictly an attackman. And when you come to college, there’s really not that much versatility in terms of players running on both offense and defense. Some middies stay on and play both. Last year I filled in on offense in the second midfield. Coach made sure every time we turned the ball over or lost possession, I was the first one off so we could get our defense on. He never liked my defense. I never liked my defense.

DP: And could you talk about your first career start at attack this year against Hofstra?

WR: It was one of the greatest moments for me, in terms of actually playing on the field. I was definitely a little stressed out and nervous. I missed a pass from Kip. But he came over to me and said, “You’ve got the next one. You’re just thinking too much.” After that, balls came my way. Mike MacDonald hit me with a feed for my first goal. And once you get that first one, it’s comes naturally from there. And kids on our team are so good that they can just find you. For the second goal, Tucker Shanley ripped a pass right to my stick and I scored.

DP: Could you describe your role athletically on the team?

WR: Athletically, I like to see myself as a motivator, along with Hunter deButts, who’s a senior. I’m a talkative guy. I like to talk some trash to the boys. Anything that gets us going. And anything that gets our mind off exactly what we’re doing and gets us into a competitive game mode. I’m a little guy, but it’s something to keep the flow going and intensity up. I also like to motivate by example in finishing sprints and in the weight room. Right now, we have the Steak Crew in the weight room. We call out the different kinds of steak we’re feeling like on a given day.

DP: Socially?

WR: I’m kind of the guy who puts a lot of stuff together, along with the seniors. I like to help with that aspect of team camaraderie. Because on the social side is where you really get to know your team and form relationships with the different guys.

DP: This is probably the most difficult question we’ll ask today. Who on the team has the sweetest style?

WR: There’s a lot of styles. That’s the thing. With sweetness … oh gosh, yeah. I know exactly. Freshman Matt Brophy. He has the sweetest style on and off the field. But on the field the most. The kid’s tilt is flawless. He strings these beautiful, traditional soft mesh sticks. He has this luscious flow in his hair. Everything’s perfect. Nothing ever gets in his eyes. Outside of lacrosse, he’s a well-dressed, good-looking dude. Kills the game.

DP: On the other end of the spectrum, who on the team has the grossest style?

WR: There are some gross styles. I would have to go with Forest Sonnenfeldt. That kid does not know how to put together an outfit pre-game. He’s wearing plaid with denim or cords. He’ll be wearing a cord jacket. I don’t even know. Plus, patches somewhere else. And his moustache. The thing is grimy. He also can shape up, but recently he’s been wearing some questionable style.

DP: If you could bring three things to a deserted island, what would they be?

WR: I actually recently was asked this, and I responded with my brother. But they said I couldn’t fit my brother in a suitcase, which I think is pretty cheap. But if I’m on a deserted island, I’d probably want some water. Besides that, I would also bring my boy DeTo [junior Brendan DeTomasso] with me. He’s my roommate and a companion at this school through my ups and downs. And then … I’d bring a picture of Adriana Lima.

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