With his team holding a one-goal lead in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference lacrosse championship final May 6, Lasell College goalkeeper Jorge Salazar helped make school history.
The Waltham High graduate made two clutch saves — he had 12 overall — to ensure a 13-12 victory over Mount Ida and secure the program’s first appearance in the NCAA Division 3 tournament.
Salazar, the conference Goalkeeper of the Year, then made 17 more saves in Lasell’s 9-7 loss to Misericordia in the first round of the tournament Tuesday in Salisbury, Md.
“Jorge is a phenomenal leader and a passionate person and player,’’ said Lasell head coach Bill Mason. “He works hard at his position, studying the film of every opponent, and he combines quick reflexes with playing the proper angles.’’
An exercise science major, the 22-year-old Salazar was among the conference’s top goalkeepers with an 8.95 goals-against average and 59.3 percent save percentage. Last fall, he worked as an intern with the Harvard University strength and conditioning department. Salazar was a football and lacrosse captain at Waltham High. His brother, David, is a senior at Newton North High where he played four seasons of football, and his sister, Kamilla, is a Newton North sophomore and a member of the cheerleading squad.
Q. How did you handle the pressure of the conference championship game?
A. My coaches and teammates were encouraging, which was a big trust factor. I just felt I was the best goalkeeper in the conference and that gave me confidence and motivation.
Q. When did you first play lacrosse, and were you always a goalkeeper?
A. I was a baseball player throughout middle school and hurt my shoulder, and a couple of my buddies urged me to try out for the freshman lacrosse team at Waltham High, which did not have a goalie, and I’ve played the position ever since.
Q. What is your favorite memory as an athlete at Waltham High?
A. My senior year on the football team. In the first game of the season against Newton North, they tied us late and we came back in the final seconds to win it. I played tight end and got the linebacker’s attention, which helped set up the passing play for the winning score.
Q. Coach Mason had a conversation with you prior to the season about opportunity. What was his message?
A. He told me I had the potential to become one of the best goalies in the conference and to do something no other goalie has done in Lasell history — help get us to the NCAAs.
Q. How does it feel to have accomplished those goals?
A. It’s a great feeling, hard to describe, but definitely emotional because we did it together and against our archrivals.