BY DAN GARDELLA
Asst. Sports Editor
On April 5, men’s lacrosse senior Max Tuttle was named to the “2019 Inside Lacrosse Midseason All-American Second Team.” According to Athletic Communications, Tuttle is second on the team in goals (27) and points (40) through the team’s first 11 games.
“It feels pretty good,” said Tuttle. “But we’re more focused on the games ahead and making the playoffs.”
Last season, Tuttle became the first Pioneer in program history to be named to an All-American team. He earned honorable mention honors after scoring 46 goals and scoring 64 points in 15 games in 2018. For a player as decorated as the Boulder, Colo., native is, it also puts a target on his back that every team looks for, forcing Tuttle to adjust his game.
“This year especially, I’ve changed my mindset to approach it as ‘I want to go as hard as I can,’” said Tuttle. “I want to focus on making small plays, such as picking up ground balls.”
According to head coach Jon Basti, the key to Tuttle’s continuous success has not only been his consistency, but his constant improvement.
“The thing about Max is that it’s been consistently better,” said Basti. “He just wants to win. He is going to do whatever it takes to win. You don’t become an All-American because you score a lot of points. You become an All-American because you are a really good player. Being a really good player is more than scoring points.”
By having an All-American on the Pioneers’ side, it allows other players to elevate their game. For senior Joe Saggese, who has been his teammate for four years, this rings true.
“My game mixes in well with his,” said Saggese. “I think we’re two different play styles that can play off of each other pretty well. If they’re sliding to Max early, then we know that I will be open.”
For now, Tuttle’s focus is squarely on the end of the season. In Basti’s eyes, this shows the team-oriented attitude that the senior has. Basti also says that the award was a result of the team around Tuttle, allowing him to thrive. The key to Tuttle as well as the team succeeding is the care they have for each other as well as good team chemistry.
With three games remaining, the Pioneers sit with a record of 6-5 overall and 2-2 in Northeast Conference (NEC) play. Their conference record puts the team in a tie with Robert Morris for fourth in the conference.
With only seven teams in the conference, the top four teams make the conference tournament with hopes making the NCAA Tournament. Having senior leaders such as Tuttle and Saggese provides a big plus on the Pioneer sideline.
“It’s good to have those guys. When you have players like that, you always have a chance,” said Basti. “You are never out of a game. We have talent that works hard and doesn’t quit. You can’t stop playing against us because we will not stop playing.”
Saggese said the key to winning and giving the team a chance to make the playoffs is to play the game that their coaches set up for them. Trust was also a word mentioned as a huge element within the team.
The Pioneers will finish the season on the road at Wagner on April 27.