As a student-athlete at Austin Prep in North Reading, Scott Corcoran was determined to play college hockey. The summer before his senior year, however, the Haverhill teen switched sticks, and committed to Merrimack College and Division 2 lacrosse. It was a wise decision. A two-captain and two-time first-team Northeast-10 defender, Corcoran has helped carry the Warriors to their second straight NCAA tournament berth. Ranked in the top 10 nationally in forced turnovers, the 6-foot longstick midfielder was tabbed the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year. Merrimack (14-2) hosts LIU Post in a quarterfinal matchup Saturday.
His fellow captains include senior midfielders Tom McLaughlin (Haverhill) and Tim Towler (Topsfield); the latter is sidelined for the season after suffering a knee injury during the preseason.
Q. What happened with your plans for college hockey?
A. That summer before senior year I realized I was a little better in lacrosse than hockey and I was offered some money to play college lacrosse and I figured rather than probably play a postgraduate year somewhere and then play a year of juniors to play hockey, I’d go play lacrosse. It’s worked out well.
Q. What do you like best about lacrosse, and defense in particular?
A. I like the personal battles where you really go one-on-one against someone. I pride myself on playing defense and I take it personally when someone dodges me. I can’t let them beat me. I really look forward to that challenge and I look forward to talking a little smack here and there.
Q. But you also have nine goals in 16 games.
A. I like playing a little bit of offense, too. Longsticks aren’t known for going down and shooting and scoring. A few of us converts from offense are given a little more freedom to push the transition offense. You can tell people get a little more frustrated when you score. You’re not usually supposed to score goals with long sticks.
Q. What are your plans after graduation?
A. I actually have a job. I’m doing accounting work for Gulf Oil Corp. in Wellesley and have started training. After class I’ve been going into the office and then coming back to do lacrosse. It’s pretty cool. I graduate on May 22 and I’ll start fulltime after that, or once lacrosse ends.
Q. Best piece of advice you’ve received from a coach?
A. Bill Maradei wasn’t my coach, but he was the football coach at Austin Prep. He had this poster in his room and it said something to the effect that your character is who you are when no one is around. I walked in there my first day in eighth grade and saw the poster and had never seen or heard anything like that. I was still a kid. To this day, I have tried to keep a high standard and just be the same person no matter if anyone is around or who’s around. I keep trying to push others to the highest standards I can. I like to push all my teammates, sometimes to the point they don’t like me at times. I think other times they know what I’m trying to say and I hope it resonates with them once I’m gone.
Q. What’s your favorite place to visit in New England?
A. Probably York Beach. We used to go there all the time when we were younger and we’d rent a house. My sister got married up there. It’s one of those places away from home that feels like home.
Q. What’s your athletic highlight at Merrimack?
A. As weird as it sound, it would probably have to be losing to Le Moyne last year (8-7 in the NCAA semifinals). It was one of those things where I was lucky enough to only be a junior when it happened and we got that experience. I think it made me personally grow up a lot. I realized you work so hard all year, really your entire lacrosse career, and you get to that point and you can lose. You can put everything you have into something and still end up losing. It’s more of a life lesson than a lacrosse-related memory. You literally have to give everything you have to get to those points. It brings you so close with everyone you play with. We made friends for life.