Plattsburgh State junior Matt Massaria must be a little nuts to go out and do what he does every day.

Day by day, he has grown men shooting a hard rubber ball upwards of 90- something miles per hour at him while he has on only a helmet, chest protector, gloves and a cup for protection.

Don’t feel bad for him, though, he isn’t afraid of that hard rubber ball flying toward him. Actually, he absolutely loves it.

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Massaria first got involved in lacrosse when he was with the third grade, but it was the following year when he first became a goalie. His involvement with the position stems from the fact that he was feeling lazy that day, and the other positions on the field didn’t quite suit him well.

“My fourth-grade coach was like, ‘Whoever plays goalie doesn’t have to do conditioning today,’” Massaria said. “That’s why I volunteered, and I just liked it a lot more because I was pretty bad at the other positions.”

The show Massaria is putting on for the Cardinals this season has provided more than enough proof that he made the right choice to skip out on conditioning during that practice session.

Massaria has won three of the seven SUNYAC Goalie of the Week awards this season, is currently first in the conference in saves and is top four in both goals against average and save percentage.

The junior netminder has never been afraid of the ball and believes that has allowed him to develop as a goalie, but he also puts in a great deal of work. Head coach Ryan Cavanagh talked about the increased effort that Massaria puts in to improve.

“He is certainly one of the hardest workers on the team, if not the hardest,” Cavanagh said. “Saturday and Sunday mornings he’s calling people at 6 in the morning to go out and go shooting on him.”

Massaria acknowledges he often asks teammates to help him out by shooting on him, but not quite as early as his coach may believe.

“I don’t bother people at 6 and 7 a.m., but I try to shoot at least five to six times a week during the offseason,” Massaria laughed. “The more you practice in the offseason, the more prepared you’ll be.”

Massaria is inspired by two major people: his father and his uncle Peter. Both of these men were firefighters in 9/11, and unfortunately his uncle Peter passed on that day.

He says their strength helps him perform on the field.

“I always play hard because I know he’s watching me,” Massaria said. “I do a lot of it for him.”

Off the field, Massaria is described as relaxed, but on the field he is an intense hard-worker who gains the recognition of his teammates.
Freshman long stick midfielder Andrew Soffroniou said Massaria is definitely a leader on the field.

“He is one of the kids that leads by example,” Soffroniou said. “So kids sort of follow him.”

Massaria is having an absolutely dominant season. He is leading the Cards to a successful campaign and accumulating some impressive stats along the way. With him at the helm, it would seem that the Cards are poised make a deep run this spring.

Email Bailey Carlin at bailey.carlin@cardinalpointsonline.com

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