Goalkeeper Andrew West has made a seemingly smooth transition from Darien High Schools championship lacrosse team to Cornell. West was one of the Blue Waves most valuable players during last season's state championship run. West has already seen action in four games as a freshman and is second on the Big Reds depth chart for goalies. The Daily Darien spoke with West by phone recently about his adjustment to playing for one of the most highly regarded college lacrosse programs in the country.
TDD : Youve already seen significant playing time as a freshman, which is impressive. What does it mean to you to play meaningful minutes for Cornell so quickly?
West: Coming in, my expectations werent too high. My first thought was just to get into this great school and to make the team. But to compete with [starting goalkeeper] A.J. Fiore and to push him to make him a better goalie is just crazy. To really get in there in games its been incredible so far.
TDD: How does playing at an NCAA Division I level school compare to when you played for Darien and in the FCIAC?
AW: You can get away with a lot more playing in high school. I used to run with the ball all over the field. Now I dont think Ive crossed the restraining line with the ball this year. Its a lot faster, guys are stronger, and everyone youre playing against was the best player on their team in high school.
TDD: What was your Whoa, Im here! moment, arriving at the D-I level?
AW: Well, I actually tore my meniscus early in the school year, so I missed all of fall [practice]. So when I was getting back from that, coach [Ben DeLuca] didnt want me doing anything that might re-injure myself until after Christmas break. But one night I snuck out with our captain Jack Dudley and we went on Schoellkopf Field and Jack took some shots at me under the lights. That was an amazing welcome to college moment.
TDD: Whats your fondest memory from playing for the Darien High School varsity lacrosse team?
AW: There are so many, but my favorite was a game against Fairfield Ludlowe where I assisted my little brother, Henry, on a goal. Im hoping he gets up here to Cornell, too, in a couple years and we can play together again.
Check back later this week for The Daily Darien 's boys and girls lacrosse preview for Darien High School.
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