Sometimes people place the greatest challenges on themselves.
It would have been understandable if Ballston Spa’s Zac Schuette crossed the stage at Springfield College’s graduation last May and called it a career. Coming off a USILA Scholar All-American senior year, the health science major had a 3.34 grade point average and a dynamite men’s lacrosse season — 52 goals, 39 assists for 91 points, second best in school history, and All-ECAC honorable mention — to wrap things up.
But then he thought about using his additional year of eligibility from the COVID pandemic. It eventually landed him at Siena, two divisions up from what he had played at — albeit spectacularly — and on a team with big goals in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Association.
“Originally, I was just not even thinking about the extra year,” Schuette said. “Once I graduated, I started to consider it. I didn’t feel Springfield was going to be a financial option. But I had this option to come to Siena, figured it would be a great time to come home to the 518 to a Division I team with a great facility, a great college. And I knew coach [Liam] Gleason from back in high school. [Siena] was familiar, had a small campus.”
Schuette also was in discussions with Ohio State and Saint Rose. The Buckeyes went in a different direction, and Schuette had no hard feelings.
Gleason told him his staff had heard nothing but good things, so he made the decision to give the step up a try.
“The main thing is I just wanted to prove to myself I could do it,” Schuette said. “I could be a positive part of the team, no matter what that role ended up being.”
Schuette said his new teammates helped him feel comfortable and improved his game, which was important since he tore his knee and missed fall ball.
“They helped me in the film room and on the whiteboard, so that once I could get back on the field, I’d feel comfortable,” Schuette said.
Of course, Schuette put some pressure on himself to show he belonged.
“I’ve never been the biggest or the quickest guy, so if I was going to see time, I would have to use both hands well, and make sure I could catch, pass and shoot with both hands. If I’m going to be out here, I have to be one of the best sticks out here,” he said.
Judging from Siena’s 1-0 start in the conference and 3-2 overall record heading into Saturday’s game at VMI, it has been mutually beneficial. In four games, Schuette has five goals and five assists. His 10 points rank fourth on the team. He credited assistant coach Tim Cox for shifting him from attack to midfield to help his strengths.
Schuette also had no problem matching his teammates’ zeal for winning the league tournament, something it reached the semifinals of last year.
“We were picked third in preseason, but that’s not good enough for us,” Schuette said of the Saints. “We lost our conference tournament my senior year at Springfield, and except for COVID, we’d won it, like, the previous 12 years. I know what it takes to win, and I remember what it feels like not to.”
With three assists in UAlbany’s California swing against Stanford and UCal-Davis, UAlbany junior midfielder Katie Pascale has 84 for her career and is in second place on the all-time list. Sam Tortora (‘20) has the record with 101.
KEEP THIS GAME
OK, it’s a haul, I get that. But the games between Stanford and UAlbany’s women have been outstanding since they renewed their series in 2019. That year, Stanford won 16-13. Last year, UAlbany put on a furious rally, but came up just short, 15-14. And last week, Stanford had to rally from two goals down to eke out a 21-20 victory.
MONSTER STRETCH OF SCHEDULE
Now that the Union College players have finished their winter term exams, the Dutchmen, ranked sixth in both national polls, enter the bullish part of their schedule.
It starts Tuesday against Middlebury in Austin, Texas. Union then hosts Liberty League rival St. Lawrence next Saturday, hosts Tufts March 28, travels to Clarkson April 1 and hosts its white whale, RIT, on April 8.
Middlebury, St. Lawrence, Tufts and RIT are all ranked in the top 12 of the polls, and Clarkson is off to a 5-0 start.
Union College junior faceoff specialist Matthew Paolatto earned a spot on the USILA’s Division III Dynamic Team of the Week. In the Dutchmen’s two victories, Paolatto won 23 of 26 faceoffs (88.4%) and scooped 19 ground balls against Williams and Emerson.
Union College junior Dan Donahue and freshman John Sula were named the Liberty League Defensive Performer of the Week and Rookie of the Week, respectively. It’s the ninth time Donahue has won that award. He played one game last week, made 11 saves and matched his career low by allowing four goals in a 12-4 win over Williams. Sula gathered six ground balls and had three caused turnovers in the wins over Williams and Emerson.
Siena fifth-year goalie Christopher Yanchoris was named MAAC Defensive Player of the Week after tying a season high with 13 saves in an 11-8 league win over Sacred Heart. It’s the fourth time Yanchoris has won that award in his career.
Saint Michael’s College senior Drew Collins, of Niskayuna, was named Northeast-10 Conference Player of the Week. he scored two goals, added six assists and two ground balls in an 18-9 win over Lake Erie.
Russell Sage junior attacker Grace Hines, a Guilderland graduate, was named the Empire 8 Women’s Lacrosse Player of the Week. She had 15 goals and two assists as the Gators went 2-0 for the week.
Contact Will Springstead at [email protected] gazette.net. Follow him on Twitter @WLSpringstead.
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Categories: College Sports, Siena College, Sports, UAlbany, Union College