By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 9/21/09
Conestoga senior face-off specialist Ryan Buttenbaum has made a verbal commitment to play Division I lacrosse at Lehigh University.
Buttenbaum was an Honorable Mention All-Phillylacrosse.com and Central League pick last year for Pioneers, helping them finish 24-2 while claiming the first District 1 championship and advancing to the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIA) title game.
Buttenbaum, who will join teammate Matt Smith (attackman) at Lehigh, liked the coaching staff and the school’s academics.
“Big part of why I chose Lehigh was the coaching staff of Kevin Cassese (head coach), Taylor Wray and Brendan Callahan,” said Buttenbaum. “They have instilled a confidence that the program is going to new places. The school has strong academics as well and I thought it was the perfect fit for me.”
Buttenbaum, a regular Honor Roll student, will major in biology and plan to follow his father into the field of orthodontics. He also is happy that Smith – also a teammate with the Mesa Fresh 2010 club team – will join him
“I am pretty excited about that; I am not going as a lone ranger.”
Buttenbaum emerged last year as the Pioneers’ key at the face-off X, winning 70 percent of his draws. The possessions were critical to the team’s success as Conestoga used a fast-break offense to go undefeated in the Central League and finish with the No 15 in the Lacrosse Magazine national rankings.
“I think a lot of my success comes from strong wing play,” Buttenbaum said. “My strong points are my strength and quickness.”
Buttenbaum and Smith are two of six Pioneers to commit to Division I colleges. The others include midfielder Ryan Lord and defenseman Casey Ikeda (both Maryland), goalie Peter Zonino (Hobart) and attackman/midfielder Austin Rogusky (Loyola).
With so many key players returning, Buttenbaum knows expectations will be high.
“I think we’re carrying pretty high expectations into this season,” he said. “We definitely lost a couple key players, but we’re bringing our core back.
“We have some (juniors) that are really going to step up big-time this season. The championship is on everyone’s mind, but we’ll take it one day at a time.”
Seniors can sign National Letters of Intent during the early-signing period Nov. 11-18.