Bradley Voigt realizes his dream at Syracuse this season: to star for SU lacrosse

first_imgPENN YAN — The “LAX MAMA” vanity plate on the Voigt family’s Nissan Pathfinder and a block “S” Syracuse flag flying from the porch make their house stand out on the block. And they mark the governing factors of Bradley Voigt’s life: lacrosse and Syracuse University.Voigt, the third of five children, fell in love with lacrosse through his maternal cousins, the Queeners, and fell for Syracuse watching it win five national championships in the 2000s.“That’s been my only dream my whole life,” Voigt said recently. “To come here and play lacrosse.”Combining both seemed an unlikely fate for Voigt. Borderline grades and low SAT scores forced him to spend a year at a college preparatory boarding school in Connecticut before he could attend SU. But through it all, Voigt stayed committed to his dream. Even when he thought he was too homesick to finish his year at boarding school, he didn’t fold. He didn’t think to transfer from SU during his sophomore and junior years after stagnating as the fourth attack while Stephen Rehfuss and Brendan Bomberry, both transfers, locked down spots above him.But in his senior season and Syracuse in the midst of a national title bid, Voigt’s become the star attack for the lacrosse power he idolized as a little boy. He’s leading the nation’s 15th-best offense and averaging nearly a hat trick in the Orange’s 13 games this season. And with his last chance at SU, Voigt’s accomplished nearly everything he’s set out to do since he was 4 years old.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I know it might be a small dream for other people, but this is the one dream that I wanted my whole entire life,” Voigt said. “I grew up watching Syracuse lacrosse and pretending I was certain players in the backyard.”Standing in her kitchen, Laura offered backstories to the photos on the fridge, nearly all of them involving lacrosse. Pictures of the five children dominate the space, most of which involve a stick and a Penn Yan uniform. A newspaper clipping from the day Voigt scored four goals in a state tournament game hangs above the handle.Andrew Graham | Senior Staff WriterIn one picture, a young Voigt — sometimes dubbed “Chubba Bubba” because of his size — poses with JJ, Jarrett and Brett Queener. The Queeners — Brice, Brett, Sarah and Sylvia — all played lacrosse at Penn Yan, NY, and then in college. They popularized the sport locally in the early 2000s. And they all babysat the Voigt children.They gave the toddlers mini lacrosse sticks to play with, marveling at Voigt as he notched behind-the-back goals. The three brothers dented drywall and once kicked out several of Voigt’s teeth in a scuffle. Laura trailed behind and tried to get Voigt to sit still and focus on school work for even an hour. He’d stand at the sink before bed, cradling his toothbrush like a lacrosse stick and imagining the glob of toothpaste was the ball.As lacrosse became an obsession, so did Syracuse. On May 25, 2009, the Voigts crowded around a TV as Syracuse and Cornell dueled in Gillette Stadium for the national championship. Everyone antagonized Voigt as the Big Red appeared to close out the game, then watched Voigt celebrate when SU completed the comeback in overtime. When he played in the backyard, he’d pretend to be a lefty Syracuse attack, like JoJo Marasco.Kevin Camelo | Co-Digital EditorAs a sophomore, Voigt was scheduled to visit Syracuse on a Tuesday when an SU coach called his father, Jim, saying they wanted to move the visit to Wednesday. Jim was annoyed about missing a second day of work until he learned why: John Desko wanted to be at the meeting.“After that, there was nobody (else),” Jim said of Voigt’s college aspirations. “Bradley said, ‘Can I commit right now?’”Voigt already aspired to win the Kraus-Simmons trophy for the Orange despite interest from nearby rival Hobart. He committed as a sophomore after his meeting with Desko and thought he was going to Syracuse.Voigt admits he’s not a good student, and despite Laura’s efforts to keep him on track, he struggled to sit and retain information. He did poorly on the SAT in his first three tries, struggling to score higher as he became increasingly anxious and worked up about improving. Laura eventually sought a psychologist for Voigt, who was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: ADHD.Though it was classified as minor and something Voigt’s learned to live with, his grades and test scores stayed perilously low. In June 2014, when Voigt should’ve been preparing for his move to Syracuse, he got the news he knew might be coming: He hadn’t gotten into SU.Andrew Graham | Senior Staff WriterUnsure of what to do, Voigt enrolled for a year at Salisbury School in Connecticut on the recommendation of Roy Simmons Jr., who had enrolled his own son, Ryan, there previously. It had a reputation of sending lacrosse players to Division I programs across the country. It wasn’t what Voigt wanted, but he had no other options.Voigt raised his grades in core classes at Salisbury and bumped his SAT scores into the 1100 range while he played among a crop of D-I bound players. In December, Salisbury head coach Bobby Wynne called Voigt into his office and told Voigt he had gotten into Syracuse this time.“Something I wanted through my whole life was finally happening,” Voigt said. “I broke down. I finally made it there after everything.”In his freshman season for the Orange, he didn’t score a goal and only played in nine games. Voigt spent his days on the scout team pretending to be Matt Rambo of Maryland or Justin Guterding of Duke, he said. Voigt’s sister Gianna, then unenthused by lacrosse, couldn’t cheer for Voigt, so she rooted for Syracuse’s top players like Sergio Salcido and Nick Mariano.Andrew Graham | Senior Staff WriterAfter the 2016 season, attacks Bomberry and Rehfuss transferred to SU. Voigt struggled, scoring 19 combined goals in a limited role as a sophomore and junior. He could’ve easily resented his teammates, the newest obstacles between him and the starting role he coveted, but he embraced them.“You maybe should be frustrated, or you feel frustrated,” Voigt said. “But at the same time, when you bring in players like Stephen, Mariano and Bomberry, you can’t really complain about it.”Bomberry’s graduation last spring cleared the third attack spot, and Voigt, now a senior, seized it. He’s dominated the space in front of the cage with his big body and lefty shot, just like Bomberry. He scores the bulk of his team-leading 35 goals as a target man, seeking pockets of space in the middle of the defense and redirecting feeds from midfielders and attacks.Gianna’s goal cheers now have a special meaning: they’re for her older brother. She brings posters to the games, including large cutouts of Voigt’s face. Voigt knew Gianna had become an SU fanatic when she was inconsolable after SU’s loss to Cornell in the 2018 NCAA tournament.Gianna, now 11, wants to play lacrosse at SU because of how she’s seen Voigt improve. She practices wearing his No. 1 Syracuse pinnie, pretending to be the Syracuse player she idolizes most. Comments Published on May 5, 2019 at 10:50 pm Contact Andrew: [email protected] | @A_E_Graham Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *