He’s a three-sport athlete at Montgomery High School in New Jersey, but for Matt Stagnitta, lacrosse has always held a special place.
Stagnitta is the son of former Washington & Lee and Rutgers coach Jim Stagnitta, who is now the head coach of the Denver Outlaws of Major League Lacrosse. His mother, Laurie, is a former Division I women’s lacrosse player.
So it should come as no surprise that the rising sophomore midfielder’s college future will indeed include playing lacrosse as well.
Matt Stagnitta decided where that will be, giving a verbal commitment to Johns Hopkins University late last week, as reported on Twitter.com/Joe_Lombardi.
The athletic Stagnitta has good speed and field vision and a strong lacrosse IQ.
What were the main factors in your decision?
I’ve been around the game of lacrosse my whole life because of my dad (Jim Stagnitta), and I’ve been fortunate enough to be on college campuses throughout the years. My dad was at W&L and Rutgers which are two completely different schools, so I got a general idea of what school I would like to go to at a young age.
Some of the other schools I was considering were Maryland, UPenn, Notre Dame and Denver. The only other school I visited was UPenn, which is where both my mom (Laurie) and dad played in college.
What other schools were you considering and what schools did you visit?
Ever since I was little, I’ve wanted to go to Hopkins. I remember when I was about 7 years old (my dad was at Rutgers) and Hopkins played Rutgers. At the end of the game, I remember shaking (Hopkins Head) Coach (Dave) Pietramala’s hand, and I was struck by his presence, mostly because all because all the great stories my dad told me about him.
I think ultimately why I chose Hopkins is because it is a great academic institution, its incredible lacrosse tradition, and for the opportunity to play for coaches like Coach Pietramala, (Associate Head) Coach (Bill) Dwan and (Assistant) Coach (Bobby) Benson. I’m certain they will help me reach my potential in the classroom, on the lacrosse field, as well as developing my personal character.
What are your strengths as a player and how would you describe your style of play?
Right now the criticism about me is I’m not going to be 6-foot-4 200 pounds, but a coach who I have come to know and really respect has told me I have a way of sticking out and being noticed without the huge size that the early recruiting process requires.
I’ve been told that my greatest strength is my vision and the ability to create offensive opportunities for my teammates.
I have a good lacrosse IQ because I’ve had the benefit of being around the game for my whole life. I’d say the best way to describe me is a “coach’s son.”
Your impact did your father have on your development as a player?
My dad has had a huge impact, in more ways than just the obvious ones. I’ve learned so much through his interactions with players at each level. I’ve been taught as much about what you don’t do as what you should do in order to be successful, and that goes way beyond the lacrosse field.
Being successful as a lacrosse player means nothing if you don’t do the other things in your life right. While my dad was always helpful with the fundamentals of the game and will still always help me with shooting, dodging, etc., and I’ll watch film with him at times, the biggest impact that he has had on me is the importance of making good decisions in my everyday life.
How did you get introduced to lacrosse and what other sports have you played?
I’m a three-sport athlete at Montgomery High School. I also play football and basketball, and I’ll continue to play these sports throughout my high school career. I was introduced to lacrosse at a young age by my parents, I started with a town league in Princeton, then Coach (Marc) Moreau got me involved with Leading Edge when I was in fourth grade.
What travel team did you play on last summer and what showcase events did you participate in?
Last summer I played on my eighth-grade Leading Edge team. I didn’t attend any other showcases besides my team’s tournaments last summer. Last week, I attended Jake Reed’s Nike Bluechip, and next week I’ll be attending Maverick Showtime.
This spring I was fortunate enough to play varsity for Coach Tim Roy who has really been a great mentor to me, and has made me a way better player.
I was also fortunate enough to play on a midfield line with Josh Reinson, who will be attending Maryland next year to play lacrosse. Josh has always pushed me to be the best lacrosse player I could be my whole life, and I learned a lot from playing with him.
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