When the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse Championships are contested at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., this weekend, play-by-play commentator Anish Shroff will make his Final Four debut alongside analyst Quint Kessenich and sideline reporter/analyst Paul Carcaterra. This trio will call the men’s semifinals on Saturday (beginning noon ET, ESPN2) and the National Championship on Monday (1 p.m., ESPN2).
Shroff spoke with Front Row about his first season in the booth and the big lacrosse weekend ahead.
What Final Four matchup are you looking forward to most?
I’m just thirsting for a competitive game. This tournament has had a lot of blowouts. The quarterfinal games were all lopsided. Even Towson’s three-goal win versus Syracuse wasn’t that close if you watched it. I’d love to call a close game or three this weekend.
Talk about working with Kessenich and Carcaterra.
I just really enjoy our collective dynamic. We all have so many quirks, and we call each other on it all the time. From Carc’s “driving” to Q’s questionable attire to my use of a 2004 flip phone – we give each other a ton of ammunition.
– Anish Shroff on calling the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships with Quint Kessenich and Paul Carcaterra
Have they given you any tips for your first Final Four as ESPN’s lead lacrosse play-by-play voice?
We all take pride in our craft and preparation, but the best advice they have given me is to not hold back this weekend. These are big games, but we should all continue to be our typical weird and quirky selves on the air. That chemistry is what’s made this season so much fun.
How has your preparation for calling games differed from hosting studio coverage?
It’s a lot more in-depth. You don’t have that much time in the studio. So many of these kids have personal stories that connect with viewers. The challenge is to find them and tell them. Let’s get under the helmet and humanize these kids. On the studio side, you are mostly reacting to what happens. Most of our airtime is during halftime. When calling a game, you try to be anticipatory. It’s about picking out trends, give viewers an idea of what to expect before it happens. Essentially it’s microeconomics versus macroeconomics.
What was the most memorable game you covered this lacrosse season?
The two games I enjoyed covering most were both matchups between Syracuse and North Carolina. In the first game, Syracuse rallied from five goals down in the third quarter to win in [overtime]. That game looked over by halftime.
When the two met again in the ACC Tournament, UNC led by nine goals at halftime. Somehow, it turned into a one-goal game when the fourth quarter rolled around. That game was pure caffeine. North Carolina eventually prevailed, but it was one of the wildest games I’ve witnessed. Maybe we can get a few like that in Foxborough!