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Doc Schneider drafted, helps Toronto Nationals to MLL Championship

As one of the top goalies in the nation, Doc Schneider never got to watch much lacrosse playing for the Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team.

It’s a different story being a rookie for the Toronto Nationals.

The New York native was the 13th selection in the 2009 Major League Lacrosse draft after establishing himself as one of the nation’s top goalies, helping UMass make two NCAA appearances including a run to the NCAA Championship in 2006.

Schneider started all 61 games he played, finishing with a career 61.1 save percentage (second best in the NCAA during that time) and a 7.43 goals-against average.

His dominance in goal this past spring earned him several honors including Eastern College Athletic Conference Goalie of the Year and USILA Second-Team All-American, the first Minuteman to receive the honor since former goalie Sal LoCascio in 1989.

Schneider followed up his first losing season (5-9) in 2008 with a 9-6 record and a first round NCAA Tournament match-up against fourth-seeded Princeton in 2009. His successful season earned him an invitation to the USILA North-South game as well as the MLL combine.

The former UMass goalie was the only senior to compete in the combine. His performance earned him a spot with the Nationals, where he splits time with teammate Brett Queener.

As a rookie, Schneider has played plenty of minutes as a starter, which he has done his whole life, but now sits behind Queener in the second half.

“It is interesting getting to watch the game for once,” Schneider said. “My teammates are the best players in the world so it’s really interesting watching these players play and seeing how skillful they really are.”

Aside from gaining experience from one of the league’s premier goalies in Queener, he has also had to adjust to a more demanding lifestyle, as well as a different culture. He is one of the only Americans on a primarily Canadian team.

“I would’ve never played with them unless I got drafted by Toronto,” Schneider said. “It’s almost like going to college again.”

Getting used to being in Toronto has involved more than exchanging money and seeing everything in French as well as English. Unlike college lacrosse, game days consist of playing a game at night after a day of flying to Toronto’s road games.

The game play is also much faster compared to college. There is more shooting, partly because every player is capable of scoring, including the defense.

In his first year, Schneider has already shown his potential, ranking seventh in the league in saves (90) and fourth in save percentage (.556) this season, despite playing roughly 34.44 minutes per game. Schneider credits UMass coach Greg Canella for preparing him for the transition from college to professional lacrosse.

“The work ethic that he instilled in me got me to be the player I am, so my success is because he taught me how to do things,” Schneider said.

MLL ended its season August 23 with Schneider’s team taking a 10-9 victory over the Denver Outlaws to win the championship. He played the first half, as he did in the past, and finished with 12 saves.

Adam Miller can be reached at ajmil0@student.umass.edu.

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