Eye of the Tiger

Freshman Fiorito clocks in time as Princeton goalie

College Lacrosse

March 06, 2009|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,edward.lee@baltsun.com

Tyler Fiorito has at times felt his eyes wander to the clock on the scoreboard, wishing time would slow down.

As a freshman part of a goalkeeping rotation for the Princeton men's lacrosse team, Fiorito has started the first half of a few games and scrimmages this season with the understanding that junior Nikhil Ashra would replace him after halftime.

It's a situation that takes some adjusting for Fiorito, a Phoenix native and McDonogh graduate.

"Sometimes it's tough," he acknowledged. "It might be in the back of your mind, and you try to keep it out, that you have three minutes left in your half. So you kind of want to close the door and not let any more goals go in because these are the last three minutes that you'll be in."

It's unclear whether Fiorito or Ashra will start in goal tonight for the No. 6 Tigers (2-0), who visit No. 4 UMBC (3-1) at 8 at UMBC Stadium in Catonsville.

Fiorito and Ashra each have a win this season, but Fiorito played the entire game in Princeton's 14-8 victory over then-No. 4 Johns Hopkins on Saturday at the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic.

Fiorito, a two-time Sun All-Metro selection and the 2008 Player of the Year and an Under Armour All-American, made 11 saves, including seven in the first half, and earned Ashra's and Princeton coach Bill Tierney's permission to finish the contest. Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala complimented Fiorito's play.

"I thought he played very well," Pietramala said. "I don't think he made the difference in the game one way or the other. [But] I thought he played like a highly touted recruit, and I thought he did a very good job for them."

Participating in a goalie rotation is still an unfamiliar role for Fiorito, who was a three-year starter at McDonogh. Fiorito said it has been easier to accept the arrangement because of his relationship with Ashra.

"He pushes me every day," Fiorito said after the win over Hopkins. "There are times when he won't let a goal go in during an entire practice, and I'll just think: 'Wow. There's no way I'm that good.' And there are times when he supports me when I make a save. It's a good confidence-booster, just having him there to support me. Today, when we decided to go with me in the second half, he was the first person to come up to me and support me. And it's just the same with me. If he was playing, I would be just as supportive."

Fiorito said Tierney has waited until the Wednesdays before Saturday games to announce his starter, which can be agonizing.

"Knowing early would probably be better," Fiorito acknowledged. "But I guess he decides to do that because one guy can have some good practices early and then the other guy gets hot later in the week. So I understand."

While Fiorito said his transition to college lacrosse is continuing, Tierney said Fiorito has fit in immediately with his skills and his deference to older teammates. Tierney noted that when Fiorito was a member of the U.S. Under-19 team that won the world championship in Canada last summer, he implored the coaches to allow Virginia's Adam Ghitelman to finish a first-round win over Canada in the round-robin format.

"That's telling about what kind of person we're dealing with here," Tierney said. "We knew he was a great player and a great kid from a great family, but he really gets it. He's a kid who didn't come in here saying: 'Here I am. I'm the guy. Move out of my way.' "

Fiorito said he is still refining his talents and adapting to the pace of lacrosse on the college level. But Tierney thinks Fiorito will be mentioned in the same breath as former All-Americans Scott Bacigalupo, Trevor Tierney and Alex Hewit when his career ends.

"He's got savvy, he's got skill, he's got that great goalie mind-set where he doesn't let anybody know he's bothered if a bad one goes in," Tierney said. "He's got all of the intangibles to be a great goalie, and there's no question in my mind that he will be."


Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.