TEWKSBURY – Throughout his high school lacrosse career, Tewksbury High senior goalie Ryan Day has met every challenge before him. Whether it was starting for the varsity team as a freshman, or struggling through a winless season as a sophomore, or being part of a great rebuilding season last season when the Redmen won seven games and narrowly missed out on a tournament berth, Day has continuously raised his game to meet the challenge.
Beginning in the Spring of 2021, Day will once again need to raise his game to an even higher level, as he recently gave his verbal commitment to attend Division 2 American International College in Springfield beginning in the Fall of 2020. There is still a long way to go before Day begins his college career, from signing his National Letter of Intent to going through his senior season at Tewksbury High, but he is already excited about finalizing his college decision.
With the great career Day has put together both at Tewksbury High as well as with his club team, the New England Twisters, there may have been other choices for Day to attend college, but AIC stood out to him right from the start.
“Their whole lacrosse culture seemed like it fit me perfectly,” Day said. “The coach (Timothy Robbins) is awesome. He really knows his lacrosse and he knows how to run a team. And they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, so I am very excited about it.
“I am ready for the challenge of playing at the college level. I am very excited to play at the highest level possible and I think I am ready for it.”
Another person who feels like Day is ready for the new challenge is his current coach, Zach Jacobs. Jacobs also made the jump from Tewksbury High to high level Division 2 college play at Southern New Hampshire University so he knows what it takes to adjust to the new level and he is confident at Day can do the same.
“It is something he is going to have to adapt to,” Jacobs said. It will be a challenge, no doubt, but this is a kid who loves a challenge. I challenged him at the start of this season to be one of the top goalies in the MVC and he was the second best goalie in the conference and I think he can be even better as a senior.
“Everything is faster at the college level. From the speed of the players to the speed of the shots coming from 21 and 22-year old men onto an 18-year old kid, but Ryan will make the adjustment. I have a lot if confidence in him.”
While Day fell in love with AIC when he visited the campus and met the coaches, AIC was equally enamored with him after seeing him play in a tournament with the New England Twisters. Coach Robbins had come out to scout the tournament and Day made quite the first impression.
“Coach Robbins saw me play and he sent me an email asking me to come down and check out the campus, and once I did that, I loved it right away,” Day said. “I was very excited to get the offer.”
Also excited to see Ryan get the offer from AIC were his parents, Christina and Mike, who have been a tremendous source of support for Ryan throughout his Redmen career.
“They were so happy for me,” Day said. “They have helped me so much through everything during high school, through all of the hard times and everything. If I was down after a loss, they were always there to pick me up. I could not have asked for better support.”
Day will enter AIC as they are in the middle of a rebuilding mode, having gone winless last season and won just one game the season before, but Day has been through rebuilds before and come out just fine and he is looking forward to doing it again at the college level.
“In high school we had a pretty good freshman year, and then sophomore year was terrible when we didn’t win a game,” Day said. “But last year we really turned things around. I liked being a part of that and I would like to be part of it at the college level as well, and with the way I have been talking AIC, I think they feel like I can be a big part of that.”
Jacobs feels like Day will be the perfect goalie to lead the rebuild for AIC.
“They are an up and coming program,” Jacobs said. “Ryan helped us so much this past year to get better and I feel like he can do the same for them. He was our backbone all year long. He had three games with over 20 saves and another two games with 18 saves. He really solidified our defense. I think he can play three or four years in net with them and have a great career.”
With a whole school year still to come, some might think it is a little early to already have committed to his college choice, but Day is thrilled to have made the decision already and to be able to focus on having a successful senior season.
“It takes a ton of stress off my back knowing where I am going, and now I can just focus on our season,” Day said.
As for what that season will bring, it is of course a little too early to tell, but based on last year’s success under Jacobs, Day can’t wait to get back on the field in the spring.
“Coach Jacobs knows the game very well and he knows how to run a team. It helps that he also played Division 2 college lacrosse so he knows how to run both an offense and a defense which is a big help for us,” Day said. “I think we have a great group of the right kids who are willing to put in the hard work to try and make the tournament this season. That is our goal this season and I think we can do it.”