Family is a Key for Six Penfield Seniors

- Penfield LacrossePenfield NLI signings"Family" is a word that is often used in association with athletic teams, but it is somewhat unusual to hear it from a group of seniors who are celebrating their individual accomplishments as they sign their National Letters of Intent. It was the case, this week, when six Penfield seniors met to discuss their plans to attend and play lacrosse after graduation.

James Stoler picked Bryant University, planning to study business, because when he took his trip "the first think they talked to me was about the academic side. I really valued the way they had their morals straight." The four-year varsity player hopes to fit in quickly with his new team, working "between the lines" picking up ground balls and, perhaps helping with face off work after winning 118 draws for the Patriots as a junior.

Brandon Buse wants to become an optometrist and Western new England will offer him the opportunity to play lacrosse and after finishing a three-year program he will be able to finish with four more years at the New England School of Optometry and be ready to work. "Growing up I watched my mom and her work has always been interesting to me."

Andrew Miller will be playing at Thiel College (Greenville, PA) while studying economics and accounting. "They have a top accounting program and they have a one-hundred percent job placement in that area." Wanting to be away from home, but not too far, "It is a great location, not too far from here." During his visit he felt comfortable with both the coaches and the players. "The coaches were always looking after me and the players asked a lot of questions [and answered] a lot of questions, but about the team and academically."

Hunter Savitcheff will travel to warmer weather in North Carolina when he plays for the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears under Head Coach Greg Paradine, who started the program in 2009. "I really liked the school and I liked the area around it." The attackman who will start this season with forty-six points plans to major in finance and minor in entrepreneurship.

Senior midfielder John Condon will join Brandon Buse at Western New England. He was attracted to the school "because of the size of the school and the classrooms. "It's about twenty-five hundred undergrads." He liked the fit and the opportunity to get to know his professors. "The players on the team told me that they really liked their professors and that they have a really nice relationship with them." He plans to study computer science while playing for the Golden Bears and Head Coach John Klepacki, who just finished his fifteenth year.

"I chose Le Moyne almost solely on academics," says defenseman Cole Guest who plans to work toward a profession at a Physician's Assistant. The size of the school was important as well. "I want to have a relationship with my teachers." The opportunity to play lacrosse was also a factor. "It's a pretty well-known lacrosse program and they are doing pretty well for themselves." The Dolphins finished their season last year with a 16-3 record when Head Coach Dan Sheehan took the team to the NCAA D-II finals.

When the group was asked to name people who, other than their Varsity coaches, helped them along the way, several mentioned Coach Paul Jordan. "He put things in perspective for me and helped me understand that playing at the next level is a reality for me," said Andrew Miller. Brandon Buse added, "He would give me that drive to be constantly better."

Family, as usual, was high on the list of people to thank. Hunter Savitcheff talked about his father. "He got me to play, coached me in youth lacrosse, and I have loved it ever since." John Condon said of his father and his brother Matt, "They inspired me to take competition to the next level. My dad comes to every game and afterwards he is always talking to me about how to get better." James Stoler, spoke, at length about the influences of his grandfather, Hall of Fame member, Harvey Stoler, who was a long-time coach, official and supporter of Penfield athletics. "He taught what my family calls the Old School Mentality. Be a student of the game. Make it help you to be a better person. Be a better person because of the game."

The seniors were asked about how they would lead their team this year. Penfield is expected to see about a dozen seniors on the roster and there is no doubt that these six will find themselves among the leaders this spring. Most mentioned the influence of players in the past. Many were supportive of them when they were underclassmen and the six focused on how meaningful it was for them. The seniors want to ensure that the whole team feels close and uses that "sense of family" to win games without a large number of superstars. Brandon Buse said, "We have each other's back. We know we will be there for each other." James Stoler may have stated his goals for the team best when he said of himself, "I would like to be remembered as someone who has a great respect for the game, to be able to put rivalries aside and value the fact that, as lacrosse players, we are all family in Section Five."

Penfield 2016 NLI