Jesse Schulze is pretty focused on football these days.
And why not? After all, Schulze is one of the leading players on a Croton-Harmon team looking to make a return trip to the New York State Class B title game and win its third straight Section 1 title.
The Tigers play at Lourdes this weekend in a battle of 3-0 teams.
The 5-foot-10, 165-pound senior midfielder will be playing collegiately at Eastern Connecticut State University.
A faceoff specialist, Schulze won 168 of the 226 faceoffs he took last season (.743 percentage). In addition to that, he’s a true, traditional middie.
“I play smart and aggressive and I’ll do anything for a groundball,” he said.
While Schulze is a relative newcomer to football, he’s an experienced lacrosse player, having started playing the sport in third grade.
Now, here’s a Q&A with Jesse on his commitment.
What were the main factors in your decision?
I wanted a school that has three things – the right academics, a strong lax program and one where I could do ROTC. I had visited Eastern a couple of times but after I met the team and coaches at their Warrior for a Day Clinic (on Aug. 5), I knew it was the place to be, plus (ECSU Head) Coach (Justin) Axel expects me to fill some big shoes as a faceoff guy and I look forward to that.
What other schools were you considering and what schools did you visit?
I visited Mount St. Mary’s and SUNY Maritime. I was also considering Nazareth, along with some other schools.
What are your strengths as a player and how would you describe your style of play?
My strengths are I have a high lax IQ, above average stick skills and speed. I like to play smart and aggressive and I’ll do anything for a groundball.
How did you originally become a faceoff specialist and then work on developing your skills?
I started on varsity as a freshman, and after my first practice, my mom (Kelly) told me to develop a midfielder skill that would set me apart, I picked facing off. My friend George Lopano, who was a senior when I was a freshman, encouraged and helped me develop the skills I would need. Then, it just took off after going to Chris Eck’s clinics and Alex Smith FOGO camp. I will also be going to the National Faceoff Combine Invitational in January.
Who have been some of the biggest influences on you during your development as a player?
Since Croton is really small, I was kind of forced to play with other leagues which gave me a lot of other coaches. I started playing in third grade with Cortlandt Youth. Mark McDermott, Carson Jacobs and my dad were my coaches and I played with all of the Hen Hud players. Then in sixth grade, I moved over to Croton Youth Lax with Nathy Aviram. I also played Lax It Up in the Fall with Paul Carcaterra.
I played on the Cortlandt Wave with Jordan Hirsh, Troy Lepore and Joe Variano, then on Team Superstar with Roy Colsey and all of his great coaches.
Of course, I have to thank my Croton coaches Steve Palencsar, John Schwamb , Dennis Coxen and Joe Streany.
All of these different coaches kept me going and learning new things.
What travel team did you play on and what were some of the big showcase events you participated in this summer?
I played for Team Superstar White and this summer I played at UMass, Yale Bulldog Bash, Hot Beds and Peak 200.
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