Considering Darien’s tradition of goaltending success, Phil Huffard’s chances of eventually playing at the highest level of Division I lacrosse seemed almost ordained even before he earned a spot on Darien’s varsity team as a freshman.
That’s because, as you will learn more about, Huffard’s four predecessors as Blue Wave starting goalie have all gone on to play at the D-I level, most recently 2012 graduate Dylan Torey (Quinnipiac).
Huffard quickly became a target recruit of teams from throughout the Ivy League before deciding to stay close to home by verbally committing to Yale, as first reported at Twitter.com/joe_lombardi.
He is a strong stopper with quick hands who clears the ball well and is active outside the crease.
Now, here’s a Q&A with Phil on his commitment.
What were the main factors in your decision?
There were many factors that influenced my decision to commit to the Yale admissions process.
Because New Haven is only 40 minutes away from Darien, I was able to visit Yale many times this spring. I was able to attend practices and watch multiple games which gave me a good sense of the program and the coaches.
Another main factor in my decision was the coaching staff. (Head) Coach (Andy) Shay, (Assistant) Coach (Graham) Niemi and (Assistant) Coach (Brian) Schneider all made me feel very welcome and at home whenever I talked to them or went up to Yale to visit and watch games.
The current Yale player also played a big part in my decision. They all had nothing but positive things to say about Yale as a school as well as the lacrosse program.
Yale is one of the best universities, and I think I am very lucky to have the opportunity to attend.
What other schools were you considering and what schools did you visit?
In addition to Yale, I visited and considered Harvard, Penn, Brown, Dartmouth and Georgetown.
What are your strengths as a player and how would you describe your style of play?
My style of play is very aggressive. In addition to stopping the ball, I try to make plays out of the crease on loose balls and in the clearing game. My strengths include my outlet passes and my ability to command the defense.
Who have been some of the biggest influences on you during your development as a player?
Darien has a long tradition of great lacrosse, even starting at theyouth level. My first travel coaches in fifth grade were former Syracuse players Dom Fin and John Glatzel.
Darien also has a longstanding tradition of great goalies. My first three goalie coaches were former Darien goalies Chris Madalon (UNC ’11), Jameson Love (Bryant ’12) and Andrew West (Cornell ’14). I have been lucky enough to be able to learn from each of them, as well as Jake Myers (Cornell’09), during the course of my career.
Lastly, (Darien Head) Coach (Jeff) Brameier has helped me every step of the way. He was involved during my youth lacrosse years, he has watched me every summer as head of the CT Chargers program, and he has been there as the coach of Darien High School.
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