Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/28/09
Courtesy of suburbanonesports.com
“Playing Zack,” he said.
Zack, in this case, is Central Bucks East teammate Zack Sharman who will be taking his lacrosse talents to Providence. The two will most assuredly have some interesting Big East battles.
But for the next seven months, Bitzer and Sharman will be teammates on a Patriot squad with decidedly high expectations.
Recently, Bitzer, Sharman and teammate Matt Hughes were honored at a signing ceremony. All three have received scholarships to play at the next level. Hughes has signed a letter of intent to play lacrosse at Towson University.
“Kudos to all three,” coach Bruce Garcia said. “I really don’t like to see them moving on. That’s a personal, selfish answer, but I really don’t. I get very attached.”
According to Garcia, all three bring different strengths to the lacrosse field. Sharman, a two-year captain, plays midfield while Bitzer and Hughes anchor the attack.
“Zack is probably the workhorse of the team,” Garcia said of Sharman. “He is tireless. He didn’t come into his own until this summer. He was always good, but he has now become very good.
“I think it was a wise choice to go to Providence College. It’s a good place for him, it’s a good Division One program. He has a good chance of getting playing time his freshman year.”
Sharman began playing lacrosse when he was in eighth grade with the Twist Lacrosse Club.
“I saw all the kids that were going to college,” he said. “I’ve been around the game so long that I just knew that’s what I wanted to do when I got older.”
Sharman selected Providence over a list that included Ursinus, Dartmouth, Stevens Tech, Dickinson and Washington College.
“I got a call from the coaches to come up and visit the campus in September,” he said. “It was beautiful. I really fell in love with it the second I got on campus. The guys on the team were real nice.
“Academically, it’s real strong. I wasn’t looking for a big school, but I wasn’t looking for a tiny school either. It has 4,000 (students). It’s right in the range I wanted.”
Hughes is undecided on a major but is leaning toward history with his sights set on possibly becoming a history teacher.
Bitzer, who was hampered by injuries last season, is looking to come back full strength this season.
“Adam is a blue collar type of attack man – puts his shoulder down and gets the job done,” Garcia said. “He doesn’t mind getting dirty. Adam Bitzer is more a bring-it-to-your-face type of player. He faced off for us and was very good.”
According to Garcia, Bitzer brings other skill sets to the table because of his background as a former member of the football team. Bitzer selected St. John’s from a final list that included Massachusetts, Dartmouth and Air Force.
“Growing up in the Doylestown area, I’m not really used to the city,” he said. “As soon as I got up there, I fell in love with the city atmosphere, the campus and the lacrosse team itself. It’s a new experience for me.”
Asked when the idea of playing college lacrosse entered his mind, Bitzer pointed to his freshman year when he and Sharman were moved up to the varsity.
“Throughout the playoffs, watching seniors like Jimmy Green and Gordon Lawson just tear it up – I knew I wanted to be like those two,” he said.
Like Bitzer, Hughes also brings extensive background in another sport – ice hockey – to the lacrosse field.
“At East, we like to have our lacrosse players play other sports,” Garcia said. “Matt’s a perfect example of it. He brings certain skill sets from hockey onto the lacrosse field that would be very, very difficult for a lacrosse coach to teach. Those skills sets make him that much better a lacrosse player.
“Actually, that was one of the reasons he got noticed by Towson because of his certain ability playing the attack position that came from being a hockey player.”
Hughes, who was one of East’s top scorers last year, will also serve as a captain. He selected Towson from a list that included Lehigh, Colgate, St. John’s and Villanova. His reasons for selecting Towson?
“The campus was beautiful,” he said. “The coach – coach (Tony) Seaman is a great guy, the reputation, and it’s a lacrosse city.”
Hughes pointed to his team’s 16-15 loss to Abington in the opening round of states last year as one of his most memorable high school lacrosse experiences.
“Even though we lost, it was still one of the best games,” he said.
The Patriots are hoping to improve on last year’s first round exit.
“Final Four,” said Hughes when asked his goal.
“Hopefully a state championship, but it will be hard with La Salle,” Sharman said. “But that’s what I want to shoot for.”
Bitzer will settle for anything that is an improvement over last year.
“I think our senior leadership is outstanding,” he said. “We have so many seniors that will play a whole lot. I’m hoping final four, state championship – at least get past the first round of the (state) playoffs.”
No matter happens this year, it’s already been quite a ride for the trio of Patriots.
“I’ve had an awesome time here at East,” Sharman said. “My freshman year I got to dress for all the playoff games when we went to the Final Four. I had so much fun with that.
“Sophomore and junior seasons were both great experiences, so hopefully my senior season will end with something even more amazing than what happened that year.”
Time will tell!
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