The Conestoga junior has been a stellar goalie for the Pioneers’ boys lacrosse squad. He recorded nine saves and scored a 60-yard goal in Conestoga’s overtime win against nationally-ranked Calvert Hall (Md.); made eight saves in the Pioneers’ 11-6 victory against defending PIAA state champion Springfield (Delco); recorded 15 saves against Radnor; and let in only one goal against Marple.
Q: Tell us a little about the 60-yard goal that you scored against Calvert Hall, how the play unfolded.
A: The 60-yard goal was a crazy moment for me. Coach Bickel, our offensive coordinator, was telling me to shoot the ball throughout the whole game because Calvert Hall was in a 10-man ride. So when I received the ball from Sean Bailey on a routine clear, I decided to run up to the restraining line and let it rip, and to my surprise, it went in.
Q: Can you tell us a little about the fake ball trick you and James Reilly performed against Radnor in the first quarter?
A: James and I talked about trying this in the practice before Radnor, but we really didn’t think that we would get an opportunity to get to use it. It all started as James picked up a ground ball directly in front of the crease. He then walked up to me and “dropped” the ball in my stick. I started to run up the left side of the field without the ball, but everyone (even the coaches) thought that I still had it. While all of this was happening James was running up the right side of the field with the ball and no one knew that he had it. He then shot the ball into the empty net and everyone was extremely confused.
Q: You mentioned that your favorite save so far this season is the one you made against Calvert Hall in overtime. Can you describe how the play unfolded, and your role in it?
A: It was a one-on-one coming from the left alley way that turned into a diving shot for Calvert. I knew that if they scored then the game would be over, so I was determined to make a save. After making the save, I cleared it to Tommy Sopko, who then scored the game-winner.
Q: You had 15 saves against Radnor. What was the key to your performance that day?
A: Whenever we play Radnor, it is always a close and competitive game. I knew that I needed to have a big game, so before the game I was really dialed in and ready to play. I do have to give most of the credit to my defense because they were eating shots left and right, and when one did go through it was from far out so it made it easy for me.
Q: As a goalie, tell us a little about how your on-field communication with the defense plays a big role in the team’s defensive success. Can you give us an on-field example of how communication has helped?
A: As a goalie, communication is one of the most important things for a defense. The goalie is supposed to tell the defense who is sliding to the ball, when to slide, the ball location, and when to do a certain defensive play. I have probably saved more goals with my communication than with my actual stick. One example of this is when the other team has a player that only can play with one hand. It is my job to tell the defense which way to force him, which can completely shut down an offensive player.
Q: Have you always played goalie? What sparked your original interest in the goalie position?
A: I have been playing goalie since fifth grade and it has been the best choice of my lacrosse life. I always thought that I was a really good mini lax and street hockey goalie, so I thought that I would try it out for real.
Q: What do you think is the strongest aspect of your game as a goalie? What part of your game are you working on the most currently?
A: I think the strongest aspect of my game is saving time and room shots. I have gotten much better at this throughout a couple of years and am still working to get better at it. An aspect of my game that I am currently working on is controlling rebounds.
Q: Tell us a little about your pre-game preparation the day of a game.
Q: You wear uniform jersey No. 2 for Conestoga. Is there a reason you picked this number – does it have special meaning to you?
A: I really don’t have a story to the number other than that it was one of the only single digit numbers left and it is a cool looking number. I also like my boy Kyrie Irving who is No. 2.
Q: What colleges are among your current favorites? What do you think you might like to major in at college? Is there a career path that particularly interests you at the present time?
A: I am currently looking at a few Division I schools, some Division III NESCAC and NCAC schools. I would be interested in majoring in business or pre-med and maybe one day becoming a physical therapist. I am only 17 years old, so I like to keep my options open.
Q: Do you participate in any other extracurricular activities at Conestoga? What sparked your interest in each of these activities?
A: I am on the Conestoga Varsity Ice hockey team, enjoy fishing and golfing. I always thought that it would be cool to play ice hockey because I loved watching the Flyers, so in sixth grade, I decided to try it. I enjoy fishing with friends on the weekends, even though it seems like I never catch anything. I go out golfing during the summer with my father whenever we can. It is great to get a break from our busy schedules and get to spend some time together.
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