By James Boyle
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/25/13
It took Jack Forster a while to warm up Friday, but when Travis Crane, his teammate and co-captain from Penn State, connected with him in front of the net, Forster got his goal.
Forster’s goal gave the South All-Star team a 12-4 lead over the North in Friday’s USILA Division I-II North-South All-Star Game at Cabrini College. The South prevailed, 16-10, and Villanova’s Jack Rice (three goals, one assist) was named the MVP.
But for Forster, a La Salle grad, the event was the perfect capper to an incredible college career that saw more comebacks from injuries than could fit on any medical sheet.
“It’s a great experience playing with and against these great lacrosse players,” said Forster. “It was a great experience. I got a goal, Travis got a goal. He was trying to beat me there at the end.”
Forster, whose career at Penn State was riddled with knee problems, had two strong back-to-back seasons to close his tenure This past season, he and his teammates made the NCAA tournament, before falling to Yale, 10-7. he earned USILA Honorable Mention All-America honors this week.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better season,” he said. “We set out what we wanted to do, something that no other Penn State program has done, which is make it to the playoffs, get a home game for the playoffs. It’s a shame that it ended that way but it was a great ride. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to be and a better group of guys to do it with.”
Forster ended his career at Penn State tied for second all-time in goals scored with 104 tallies. This year he scored 41 goals and added 16 assists and 57 points, all of which were career highs. The 57 points were the most scored by a Nittany Lion since 1995 (Erik Merkel, 61). For his career, Forster notched 148 points, the sixth-most in Penn State history.
All his success came with exhaustive rehab. Forster had six knee surgeries during his time at Penn State, and tore his ACL on both knees while also tearing his meniscus. His injuries forced him to miss two full seasons (2008 and 2010) for the Nittany Lions.
“In my Sophomore year, I came back from the ACL and meniscus and still wasn’t 100 percent,” said Forster. “But I kept working my way back and then tore my other ACL and had to start back from scratch. But I have no regrets. I worked hard to get back and I achieved a lot in the last year or so.”
But after missing two seasons to injury, many, including even Forster, questioned whether he would ever play again.
“It went through my mind, yeah,” said Forster. “After my Junior year, and when coach [Jeff] Tambroni came in, he called me up and we had a talk that summer. He really got it in my head that I needed to get back on the field, and I worked my butt off to get back.”
Said Crane (one goal, one assist): “Jack’s a guy I look up to on the team a lot, and being a captain with him this year was really special. So to have the opportunity to play with him one more time was amazing.
“He brought so much to the Penn State program and really changed that culture. So to share one more experience with him on the same field, it’s going to mean a lot to me and I’m going to remember it for the rest of my life.”
Forster and Crane represented Penn State well on Friday.
“I have a special place in my heart for Penn State with everything I’ve been through,” said Forster.
USILA Division I-II North-South All-Star Game
South 16, North 10
Div. 1 North 3 1 2 4 10
Div. 1 South 4 4 5 3 16
Div. 1 North SCORING: GOALS: Doherty, Jack 2; Rice, Connor 2; Baker, Matt 1; Froccaro, Jeff 1; Silberlicht, Jake 1; Lunney, Corey 1; Zdrill, Kirby 1; Kennedy, Kevin 1. ASSISTS: Baker, Matt 1; Doherty, Jack 1; Froccaro, Jeff 1; Silberlicht, Jake 1; Snow, Sam 1; Sorichetti, Adrian 1.
Div. 1 South SCORING: GOALS: Rice, Jack 3; Diachenko, Nick 2; Cummings, Zach 2; DiMaria, David 1; Prosser, Aaron 1; Crane, Travis 1; Griffo, Greg 1; Schmidt, Brett 1; Schmidt, Bryant 1; Forster, Jack 1; Hart, Max 1; Fantoni, Dante 1. ASSISTS: DiMaria, David 3; Church, Robert 1; Crane, Travis 1; Griffo, Greg 1; Morrissey, Dan 1; Prosser, Aaron 1.
Villanova’s Jack Rice named MVP.