John Distler, the head coach Joel Barlow High School, has used a term not often heard in relation to lacrosse players to describe Mike Mattson, one of the Falcons’ leading players on this past season’s Connecticut Class S state title team.
That word is slippery.
“I generally agree with that label,” said the 5-foot-11, 175-pound attackman/midfielder who also excelled in soccer and hockey.
Mattson’s college destinate will be Division III power Tufts, which won the 2010 national title.
Now, here’s a Q&A with Mike on his commitment.
What were the main factors in your decision?
The academic side of the student-athlete equation was most important to me. The schools I began to focus on were all strong academically, affording me the opportunity to look at other aspects of the schools.
(Tufts Head) Coach (Mike) Daly runs a highly competitive lacrosse program that is full of motivated student-athletes. The coaching, culture and work ethic at Tufts made my decision very easy.
What other schools were you considering and what schools did you visit?
Other than Tufts, I visited and strongly considered Amherst, Middlebury and Wesleyan. (Amherst Head) Coach (Jon) Thompson, (Middlebury Head) Coach (Dave) Campbell and (Wesleyan Head) Coach (John) Raba couldn’t have been more helpful during my search.
What are your strengths as a player and how would you describe your style of play?
As a ‘traditional midfielder,” I enjoy being comfortable at the X and running both sides of the field. (Joel Barlow Coach) Coach (John) Distler has characterized me as “slippery” and I generally agree with that label.
I tend to set myself up to play to my strengths: righty on the run and time and space.
What areas of your game have you been working to improve on?
I’d like to even out my right-handed tendency and create more separation on my dodge.
Who have been some of the biggest influences on you during your development as a player?
My parents did a great job remaining involved yet objective throughout my progress as a player, allowing me to take ownership of my development.
I also owe a great deal to Coach John Distler, who built the Joel Barlow program from scratch in 2001. He created an environment in which any player could feel at home and raise their level of play.
Coach (Graham) Niemi of the CT Bulldogs was certainly a support system along the way as well.
How do you think your PG season at Taft will benefit you?
Taking a year at Taft will ensure that I have solid habits going into a school with as much academic rigor as Tufts.
Athletically, I’ll have a year to prepare myself physically as I work to bridge the gap between the pre-college and NCAA standards of fitness.
Also, being under the guidance of Coach Casey D’Annolfo, a former (Tufts) Jumbo, will be ideal as I prepare myself for the next level in Medford.
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