Del. roots land Moyer among nation's best

Tower Hill grad again reaches lacrosse semis
Handed a defenseman's longer stick when he began playing lacrosse as a sixth-grader, Matt Moyer was shorter than that pole.

"It probably weighed more than me, too," he joked.

He has stood tall on the lacrosse field ever since, however.

Today, the 2005 Tower Hill School graduate plays in his second NCAA Tournament semifinal as a long-stick defender for Cornell in its showdown with top-seeded Virginia at 2 p.m. at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

He'd prefer his career, which culminated Thursday when he was named a first-team All-American by the U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association, extends to Monday's title game against today's Syracuse-Duke survivor.

No matter how and when it concludes, Moyer's Cornell days have been as satisfying as he could have hoped. And he appreciates where he put down his roots, with the Wilmington Wings youth team, now in its 20th year of existence.

"When I joined the Wings in sixth grade," Moyer remembered, "everybody wanted to be a midfielder. The coaches, Rick Cobb and Skip Metz, told me, if I wanted to get on the field, it would be with the [defender's] long stick.

"To be honest, I did feel a lot more comfortable with a long stick. A lot of times coaches will take kids at a young age and put the least athletic players in goal and on defense, thinking the athletes need to be on attack. The Wings coaches had the opposite approach -- put the athletes on defense and build from there. They were able to teach me a lot of fundamental defense. I was a bit undersized but quick and fast and it all ended up working out."

Cobb remembers how comfortable Moyer was with the long pole, and also with playing a defensive position and his ability to "see the field," which he attributed to Moyer's time spent as a catcher in baseball.

"Matt picked up a long stick and immediately had a gift for catching and throwing and getting ground balls," Cobb said. "That's not easy. Often kids start at the short stick and it takes two or three years when you transition them to the long stick.

By KEVIN TRESOLINI • The News Journal • May 23, 2009 g
Reprinted with permission of The News Journal