By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/5/09
Andrew Sim knew a little about starting from scratch when he came to Immaculata University three years ago.
The Mighty Macs’ junior goaltender was a key member of Interboro’s team when it moved from the club level to varsity. So when he became one of the first recruits for Immaculata’s new program, he was prepared to deal with building from the bottom up.
“I think the biggest challenge was not having an upper class,” said Sim, the Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer & Brecher Collegiate Scholar-Athlete of the Week. “Being a junior, now that’s taking shape. Now we have upper class leaders that show the freshmen what to do.”
Sim, himself, has become one of the leaders on an Immaculata team that has slowly begun to establish itself in its third year of play. After defeating another first-year program, Gwynedd-Mercy College, 11-9, on Saturday, the Mighty Macs are 2-6 overall and 1-1 in the Colonial States Athletic Conference (previously the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference).
Sim, even as a freshman, was a mainstay for Immaculata. He has been the starting goalie since Day 1 and has been a major reason the Mighty Macs have become competitive in a short time. In each of his first two years Sim earned second-team All-PAC honors and last year he made an amazing 233 saves for Immaculata (3-10). This year he has a 124 saves.
Sim has been equally successful in the classroom, earning 2008 Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Team selection as well as All-PAC Academic Team honors in his first two years. His grade-point average is 3.8.
At Interboro, Sim was a three-year starter who helped the Bucs enjoy their best year as a senior when they pulled off an upset of powerful Radnor and qualified for the Eastern Pennsylvania Scholastic Lacrosse Association playoffs for the only time in school history.
“I think the thing that helped me decide to come here was the fact I knew I was going to play for four years,” said Sim. “I love playing so much I didn’t want to sit and watch others play.”
Sim admitted it’s been tough playing for a program – coached by Philly lacrosse guru Bob Bush – that sprung from the ashes.
“It’s been a little challenging, but the guys here are funniest group of guys and I wouldn’t trade anything to hang around with them,” said Sim, who is joined by fellow Interboro grad and top scorer Tom Hartney. “I guess being from Interboro, I had already had experience with taking a lots of shots.
“It gets tiring after a little while when you’ve had 50 shots by the fourth quarter. I know I have to play well for the team to have a chance to win. If I don’t play well, our chances go down a lot. I understand my role as part of the team.
“But it’s not just to stop their goals; it’s to give the team a boost. If we’re down by a few and I make a big save, it heightens morale. Then maybe we’ll go in and score and that instantly changes the momentum of the game. Just like at Interboro, it’s great to see all the guys get excited about it.”
Sim said he also has to lead his defense.
“Being in goal, it gives me the opportunity to direct guys on defense,” he said. “Some of the guys are newer to the game and kind of need that direction to better understand where they need to be. I remind guys that we need to communicate.”
After the season ends, Sim will focus on his future as a teacher. Next fall he will be student-teaching in a middle school. A secondary education major in math, he is excited to lead young minds off the field.
“I actually decided to become a teacher because of lacrosse,” he said. “My dad (Rich) was the head of the youth lacrosse league at Interboro and I got dragged to all the games.
“Helping the kids was so much fun and so rewarding. They are a laugh, the kids are too funny. Teaching them skills and watching them get better was so amazing to see. I loved watching them get excited.
“That experience made me want to become a teacher and help change these kids. It’s amazing how much you can affect a person doing simple things. It was strange to me when that first happened, having little kids hanging on every word I said. That’s really neat.”