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Shady Side Academy lacrosse players make college decisions

Tribune-Review
| Wednesday, June 3, 2015 1:57 p.m
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Shady Side Academy's Robby Woodings will attend the United States Military Academy at West Point.
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Shady Side Academy's Doc Szlachetka will attend the Air Force Academy.
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Shady Side Academy's Doc Szlachetka will attend the Air Force Academy.

Three members of the Shady Side Academy boys lacrosse team recently announced their college choices.

Robby Woodings will be attending the United States Military Academy at West Point, Doc Szlachetka will attend the Air Force Academy and goalie Blake Goodman will be going to the University of Richmond. Woodings is a senior while Szlachetka and Goodman are juniors.

Goodman, a goalie, had a good reason for making an early commitment.

“I liked everything about Richmond when I made a visit,” he said. “I just decided that it was a good fit. Academically and athletically, it just felt right.”

He is undecided about a major but is leaning towards business.

The Richmond lacrosse program is in it’s early stages but Goodman liked the way that it is headed.

“In their first year, they won the conference and made the NCAA tournament,” Goodman said. “This past season, they won the regular season championship but got beat in the conference playoffs. I’m excited about being part of a successful team.”

He doesn’t know if he’ll be able to step right in and contribute as a freshman.

“I’m not real sure what their goalie situation will be, but I’ll keep working hard,” Goodman said. “Going to a D-I program, I think just about every part of my game will need a little work. I want to increase my speed, strength and clearing ability. The clearing aspect is very important in the college game.”

Woodings, a faceoff midfielder, also gave little thought to other colleges.

“Once I knew that I would receive an appointment to West Point, that was it,” he said. “I’ve always wanted a career in the military, and now I’ll have that opportunity.” Woodings also played football at SSA until his senior year but has no plans to continue playing.

“The two reasons I decided on West Point were the military opportunities and the chance to play on a very good lacrosse team. They’re always a Top 15 or Top 20 team.”

He realizes he may have to sit and learn during his freshman year.

“They have a senior faceoff midfielder returning, and I’ll try to learn from him,” he said. “I probably won’t start but I’ll prepare like I’m going to be a starter. One thing I’ll have to learn is how to play at the high speed of the college game. There will be a lot of changes in the style of game from high school to college so I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me.”

Szlachetka, a long-stick midfielder who is also the quarterback on the SSA football team, was sold on the Air Force Academy immediately.

“After going through the recruiting process, the Air Force Academy stood out,” he said. “I had always wanted to join the service. A lot of my relatives, including my grandfather and uncle, were in the military service.”

He feels that he is going to a school with an up-and-coming program.

“They’ve had two winning seasons in a row and this past season, they made the playoffs,” Szlachetka said. “They’re definitely on the upswing. I know a couple of players who will be going there, and they are high-caliber recruits. I know if I want to see playing time, I’ll have to work on my speed. In college, speed is the big thing. The game is so much faster.”

Marty Stewart is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-782-2123 or mstewart@tribweb.com.

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