The start of Bryce Kendrigan's goaltending career was just something that happened without much preparation.
The former defenseman just decided to toss on some gear and take a crack at it, then took a liking to it. Still, it didn't stop him from going back to having a longpole in his hands the following season. After that, though, his full-time stint as a 'keeper began out of necessity the way many goalies' careers kick off.
"Our team didn't have a goalie at first and we needed someone to play goalie for the team," Kendrigan said. "I started playing well and I really liked it. (Team 91 Florida coach) Danny Loftus basically taught me how to play goalie."
It quickly became apparent that Kendrigan's future was in goal, and that was confirmed even more this week when college coaches were once again able to contact class of 2020 players. A Team 91 Florida and The Benjamin School goalie, Kendrigan didn't need to wait long, quickly getting a call from Towson head coach Shawn Nadelen on Sept. 1. He knew he'd be getting some interest from the Tigers, but didn't expect an official offer to join the Tigers. When it came, it didn't take long for him to jump all over it.
"Towson was on my dream school list, but the offer came as a bit of a surprise," Kendrigan said. "My coaches had contacted Coach Nadelen at the beginning of the summer, and when he came to watch me, I played really well in front of him. When we're in those big games, I expect to see a bunch of shots, and it really helps me with the mental side of it. When I make a couple of early saves, I get hot and I keep going."
Kendrigan stood out wherever he went this summer, putting on a show at basically every event ranging from the Baltimore Summer Kick-Off to the Big 4 Champions League to the NLF National Championships. A lefty who thrives as a vocal leader, Kendrigan has a knack for coming up with highlight-reel saves and is always in command in the crease. The thought of being good enough to play college lacrosse first crossed his mind in his eighth grade summer, when many of his 2020 peers were starting to get recruited, but the NCAA's rule change that only allowed players to talk to college coaches on Sept. 1 of their junior year changed his recruiting timeline.
"The rule put a stop to everything, and it was pretty annoying at first, but now I think it betters the sport," Kendrigan said. "It made me mad at first, but it actually helped me a lot and it got a lot more coaches to look at us."
"I've worked with Bryce and his brother, Tyler, since they were in elementary school," Loftus said. "They're a great family and very hard-working. Bryce always looked up to his brother, so he was always at the field and around the game. He had some God-given ability, but he worked really hard at his game and got himself into really good shape. He makes the saves he should and also has the ability to make a few big stops to change the momentum in the game. He commands the defense and has the respect of the guys around him, and I'm thrilled for him that he found the right school for him."
Playing for the CAA power Tigers would be special enough as is, but it'll be even more so as Kendrigan gets to continue playing with longtime teammate Devon Rasmus, a 91 Florida and Jupiter midfielder who committed to Towson on the same day. The two go back to their second year of travel lacrosse and Pee Wee football, so it was a cool moment when the two realized that they'd still be playing together in a Tiger jersey.
"It's a dream come true because Devon is one of my best friends," Kendrigan said. "We didn't really talk about it, but it's awesome. We both knew as soon as it happened that the easy part ended and that we'll both have to get 10 times better. It brought us closer, but we also both know the real goal."