MJ: Tufts Goalies Ready for Stretch Run
Tufts goalie Steven Foglietta got dinged the first time in the Stevenson game, a contest in which he made 24 saves. He aggravated the same injury in the Williams game three days later. When the Jumbos played WNEC two days after that, it was clear Mike Daly had to make a decision.
"It just go to the point in the WNEC game where he wasn't able to do what he does, and that's sacrifice his body for our team," said Daly. "We probably gave him too much time, but we just have such respect for him and his toughness."
Foglietta was one of the big reasons Tufts made its run to the national champion last spring, so the prospect of inserting a rookie out of Tennessee into the starting spot might make a coach nervous. Not Daly, however.
Patton Watkins, a frosh from the McCallie School, has posted an 8-2 record with a 8.70 goals against average and 61.4 save percentage. Watkins picked up his first postseason win when he made 13 saves and allowed just six goals in the Jumbos 12-6 victory over Conn. College in the NESCAC quarterfinals on Sunday.
While Tennessee high school lacrosse doesn't always translate to the college game, Daly -- who is also the linebackers coach for the Tufts football team -- liked what he saw out of the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Watkins.
"We really loved Patton because he was also a football player down there," said Daly. "He's played in front of huge crowds on Friday nights. We had a respect for his toughness. There's always some unknown, for sure, but knowing what knew from [McCallie coach Troy] Kemp, our evaluation and what we knew from recruiting two-sport athletes, we thought he was a good fit."
While Watkins is doing his job, Foglietta is close to full strength. He played the second half in a late-season win over Babson and has showed signs of his previous form.
"We're just getting him back into the mix and back into the flow," said Daly of Foglietta. "Now, he's trying to protect himself and not get hit with the ball; be more of a technical, fine goal. Patton Watkins has just flat out done it. It's given us a good problem. It's just another example of how lucky and blessed and I am."
Best & Worst
Best part about today: Just another day closer to the NCAA tournament. The Little East trims its tournament down to the finals with a pair of semis today.
Worst part about today: There's a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms at the game I'm officiating this afternoon. Still waiting to ref my first game with sunshine.