March 30, 2006

Upstate Trio Connects for M. Lax

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When freshman Kyle Doctor scored the first goal of his collegiate lacrosse career in the Red’s 13-1 thrashing of Army on March 13, a crowd of players rushed over to congratulate him. One of the players to say a few words was junior Eric Pittard, but the junior-transfer didn’t merely congratulate Doctor.

“Eric kind of gave me a hard time because right before I scored I missed a pass from him that I should have caught and scored on,” Doctor said. “He gave me a hard time on that. He was a little upset about it.”

Pittard’s comments didn’t stem from the rookie and him being on bad terms. To the contrary, senior Derek Haswell, Pittard and Doctor all share something in common – they played for Skaneateles High School in Skaneateles, N.Y.

“And that goal was actually scored on a goalie on Skaneateles who Eric and Derek both played with their senior year,” said Doctor, who joined the Skaneateles team after the two had graduated.

But the connections don’t end there. Doctor’s older brothers played with Pittard and Haswell in high school. Pittard’s older brother Dave (’03) lived with Haswell for a year here at Cornell. Pittard’s father and Doctor’s father even co-coached the Skaneateles team.

“Actually, I thought it was nice. I mean, he was always tougher on me and my brother when they played too just because he wanted us to excel the beat we could,” Doctor said. “But it was nice because you could always get away with stuff being the coach’s son. And I think Eric experienced that too.”

“I moved [to Skaneateles] from a nearby high school my sophomore year,” Haswell said. “[Pittard’s] family has always been great to me. I’ve always kept on going over there after school or something and just hanging out.”

Haswell and Pittard played together for their junior and senior seasons, leading the team to the New York State semi-finals and finals in 2001 and 2002, respectively. Pittard was named a high school All-American his senior season, and finished as the school’s all-time leader in points, goals and assists.

“That was fun. My junior year, I guess it was kind of similar to up here at Cornell, I kind of got a break my junior year, where coach was switching guys around and I got fortunate enough to get put in a spot to get playing time,” Haswell said. “I was excited because I had always been friends with Eric too, so I got bumped onto the attack line with him and Chris Doctor [Kyle’s older brother].”

But when it came time to graduate, the two took different paths to Cornell. Haswell enrolled as an engineer at Cornell, and like his brother Nate Haswell ’02, made the Cornell squad as a walk on.

“It definitely motivated me in that he was an engineer as well, and he was a walk on candidate and stepped it up and had done a great job … My brother did a great job of bringing me in and teaching me how things happen,” Haswell said. “The [Cornell] system is a lot like ours was in high school, so I feel very comfortable with it.”

Pittard, however, decided to play for a year at the Hotchkiss School in Massachusetts. After a standout season there, he earned a scholarship to the University of Virginia to play lacrosse. Pittard had a change of heart after his sophomore year, however, and decided to transfer to Cornell.

“I knew that it would help me down the line academically as well as in lacrosse,” Pittard said. “I just felt that Cornell would be a better fit. Mostly, it was closer to home, Virginia is eight hours from Skaneateles. That was a big part, having my family come watch and be at all my games.”

This season, Pittard and Haswell have thrived together. Pittard is second on the Red in points and first in assists, while Haswell is third in points and second in goals.

“I think that coming from high school to college playing with Derek, we know each other’s tendencies, so that helped a lot,” Pittard said. “And now having [junior] David Mitchell there really complements both of Derek and my games.”

Pittard is grateful about how easy it has been to move to the Cornell team, and felt his teammates were especially nice to him.

“I think that’s more of the personality of the team, and how we kind of try to create the team environment,” Haswell said. “The guys on the team are really like each other’s best friends, which I think is one of the coolest things we have going for us right now.”

As for Doctor, he’s jus hoping to fit in with the high school idols he watched growing up.

“Kyle’s also done a great job of fitting in,” Haswell said. “He’s also got a great work ethic too, which is going to do a lot for him in the future.”

Archived article by Josh Perlin
Sun Assistant Sports Editor