In the past two games, Tao has tallied 10 points (4g, 6a). Photo Credit: Alex Carroll
Picked up in the second round (12th overall) of the 2011 NLL Entry Draft, rookie forward Corbyn Tao has already proven his worth. In 14 games, the Coquitlam, British Columbia native has tallied 36 points (17g, 19a) and 60 loose balls for the Swarm.
Tao spent the past four years at Robert Morris University (RMU) as one of the leading scorers for the Colonials. He graduated from RMU in 2011 with a degree in Business Management.
Jessica Baltes from the Minnesota Swarm recently caught up with F Corbyn Tao.
Baltes: How did you first get into playing lacrosse?
Tao: When I was younger, my parents put me in a bunch of sports: soccer, lacrosse, swimming and wrestling. I started playing lacrosse, I fell in love with it and had a passion for it over other sports.
Baltes: You seem to have quite the quick stick around the crease. Where did you pick up your technique?
Tao: I think that I would have to say that I picked up my technique playing in Six Nations, which is in Ontario. I also played out West in Vancouver. They really enforce not cradling the ball and just shooting it right away, so that was a big factor that added to my game and I’ve kind of perfected it. I’m pretty confident in that part of my game.
Baltes: During your first game at the Hive, you recorded a hat trick and helped the Swarm get a 19-11 win against the Buffalo Bandits on Jan. 28. That must have been a pretty exciting way for you to start off the season.
Tao: Yeah, it definitely was super exciting for me, especially since it was Native Night as well. It just kicked things off for the whole season really well. I was glad to be able to help out and contribute to our team.
Baltes: You’ve been having a great season with the Swarm and currently rank sixth on the team with 36 points (17g, 19a). Has your first season been what you expected?
Tao: Definitely. Going in, I knew that we were a young team and that we needed to gel together and get used to each other. We finally have. I’m confident in the way we’ve been playing. I’m confident in my role and what I’ve got to do to make sure that we win. It’s been everything that I expected.
Baltes: You help coach the kids down at the Prairie Island Indian Community. What’s it like working with them?
Tao: It’s been extremely exciting to be able to give back to the community and work with them. They have only been playing for about a year and a half now. They are really excited and they want to learn.
Baltes: Do you play in a league during the summer? Or what is it that you do during the offseason to keep your skills sharp?
Tao: Yeah, in the summer I play box lacrosse back home. I play for the Salmonbellies. I do that and train just as hard to make sure that I keep my stick skills the way that they should be. I work for the City too, so I’ll be busy with that and playing lacrosse.
Baltes: You were in the recent “Tales From Neverland: Trip to the Minnesota Zoo” episode on mnswarm.com. Was that your first trip to the Minnesota Zoo and how was it?
Tao: Yeah, it was the first trip to the zoo. I’m glad that I got to do it with the boys from Neverland. It was exciting. Everyone was interested and had their favorite animals. It was nice to be able to get away from lacrosse and just go hang out with a great group of guys.
Baltes: You seemed to be pretty brave around those sharks…perhaps next time you can show Suits how it’s done with one of the larger ones?
Tao: I don’t know. We’ll see when we cross that bridge…but I don’t know if I’ll be able to do that with the larger sharks. Those ones were pretty small and tame. I think that will be it for my shark career!
Baltes: You went to school at Robert Morris University, as did fellow Swarm teammates Pat Smith, Andrew Watt and Jeff Gilbert. It must be nice to be reunited with some of your college teammates at the professional level.
Tao: Yeah, it definitely helped with the comfort level and made it easier for me adapting to the NLL. We’re all good friends and it’s nice to be able to continue that.
Baltes: Being from British Columbia, how did you wind up at Robert Morris University?
Tao: I kind of journeyed across the country. I’m from British Columbia. I went to boarding school in Ohio at Western Reserve Academy. I spent three years of my high school career there. Then I got offered a scholarship at Robert Morris University and it was a perfect fit for me to pursue my education there.
Baltes: The team has secured a spot in the playoffs and you guys will be playing against either the Calgary Roughnecks or the Colorado Mammoth in the first round. For the most part, the team has competed well against both of these teams. What’s it going to take for you guys to come away with your first ever playoff win?
Tao: They are definitely good competitors with a lot of talent on their teams. I think that we just kind of have to assess our roles and play Swarm lacrosse. The ball should roll in our direction. We are young, fast, competitive and skilled. There’s no reason why we can’t take them for our first playoff win.
Baltes: This coming Saturday is Hive Cares Night. Have you had the opportunity to see the new jerseys yet?
Tao: Yeah, I saw them and they look really good. I’m excited to put that on and support and represent cancer awareness. Every little way that we can help support a good cause helps.
Baltes: The team will be taking on the Philadelphia Wings on Saturday. It seems like the win in Philadelphia got the team’s momentum going into the final stretch of the season. Do you think playing the Wings again will help to keep that going?
Tao: Definitely. We all know that seasons have their ups and downs. We are fortunate enough to be entering the playoffs in a good manner. That is huge and it’s definitely on our radar and something that we want to do. We want to play well and continue to improve.