When Sean Murphy moved over from the football office to become Husson University’s men’s lacrosse coach, one of his priorities was making senior midfielder Chris Pelletier realize how good he is.
“Chris is a special guy for us. He’s talented beyond his belief,” Murphy said.
As Pelletier has gained confidence this season, he’s shown a knack for making the big play. Pelletier’s talent was on display on March 13, in overtime against Mitchell College. Just 1 minute, 50 seconds into overtime, Pelletier cut past a defender and whipped a shot from 15 yards out past the keeper for the game-winning goal.
“He just took it, attacked the goalie and stuck it in the corner,” Murphy said.
A Messalonskee High School graduate, Pelletier is fourth on the team in scoring with eight goals and two assists for the Eagles, who bring a 2-5 record into this afternoon’s game against the University of Southern Maine.
“Our record doesn’t reflect how well I think we’re doing,” Pelletier said. “We have a tight knit group of guys, and I think we’ll turn it around.”
Pelletier has 54 goals and 22 assists in his career at Husson. At 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, Pelletier is one of the biggest players on the Husson roster. After today’s game against USM, the Eagles close the regular season with seven consecutive North Atlantic Conference games. When those games begin, Murphy’s goal for Pelletier is simple.
“I want him to be the guy other teams should game plan around,” Murphy said.
Pelletier is still relatively new to lacrosse. He played his first game as a freshman at Messalonskee eight years ago, following in the footsteps of his older brother, Matt.
“I wanted to be like my brother,” Pelletier said. “I love it, just the speed, the constant movement.”
Pelletier said his biggest improvement on the field this season is his ability to shoot ambidextrously.
“Now I’m just as confident with my left hand as I am with my right,” Pelletier said.
Although formerly Husson’s head football coach, Murphy worked with the lacrosse players in the Eagles’ strength and conditioning program. Pelletier excelled in the preseason fitness testing, and Murphy said his next goal was turning the senior into a team leader.
“He really came in in great shape and really set the bar high. He’s got the right mindset and loves pushing himself,” Murphy said. “With confidence comes leadership skills. I’ve been trying to encourage that role for him for some time, and it’s going well.”
The Eagles don’t have set captains, they’re chosen on a game-by-game basis. Pelletier served as a captain in back-to-back games earlier this season.
“He just did a great job. His voice and his ability to communicate has developed,” Murphy said.
A Health Care Studies major, Pelletier hopes to work for the World Health Organization.
“I’ve always had a passion for helping people,” Pelletier said. “I never want to work a day in my life, and if I love what I do, I won’t.”
Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242