Lacastro’s lacrosse dreams find a home in Pennsylvania
The hope was the experience might open some doors in the sport of lacrosse, a lifelong passion for the youngster who, at the time, was three years into his secondary school career at St. Benedict.
The emerging maturity that came part and parcel of being thrown into a very structured environment was an unexpected bonus.
Earlier this year, it all came together for Lacastro when he accepted a lacrosse scholarship to Queen’s University of Charlotte, a Division II program that also boasts an outstanding business school.
It’s been an interesting path that Lacastro has travelled in following his dream.
Though the move to Kiski provided some challenges, “It was pretty hard leaving everything back here behind for the first time,” Lacastro said.
A steady stream of trips to the GTA and south of the border in previous summers did help ease the teenage talent into a more independent environment.
On the field, as a member of the respected Edge Lacrosse summer elite program, Lacastro needed to grow and develop as well, because the bulk of his experience was limited to the indoor box lacrosse game.
“I was right-handed in box and coaches in the States were telling me that if I wanted to go to the NCAA, I needed to gain a left-hand,” said Lacastro, back home recently for spring break.
“I would work outside all the time, doing ‘wall ball’ with my left hand,” he said.
While the indoor game is built around offensive strategies that see players shooting and handling the ball consistently from their “strong side,” dexterity is key to the outdoor field game, where the additional space provided allows far more room for one-on-one manoeuvres.
Picking up the nuances of the field game, the only version of the sport contested in NCAA competition, would require some work.
But not nearly as much as the change of basic daily habits that Lacastro was about to encounter.
“When I was here (Sudbury), I would come home after doing three sports a night,” he said. “There was little time spent on studying. At Kiski, we had mandatory study hall from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. every night.
“My grades went up by almost 20 per cent,” Lacastro added. “It was a huge adjustment, but it definitely helped me.”
His confidence in the classroom appeared to be moving in tandem with an increased sense of belonging on the field and he took on a key role at Kiski.
“I was expected to get the game-winning goal — I was expected to have the ball on my stick,” he said. “My teammates and coaches gave me a lot of confidence.”
Still, the mandate at the 125-year-old school was clear — develop well-rounded young students, fully capable of handling the rigours of post-secondary education.
In fact, student-athletes at Kiski must, by necessity, participate in at least three school varsity teams. The structure allowed Lacastro to maintain his foot in the door in cross-country, soccer and hockey, three of his favourite athletic pursuits.
One of just two Canadians at Kiski, Lacastro cracked the roster of the Pittsburgh Revolution last summer, playing in tournaments that opened the possibility of recruitment by U.S. schools in all three divisions.
Thankfully, the Kiski experience had additional benefits.
“Going to Kiski really opened my eyes, academic-wise,” he said.
“If you’re a Division I athlete, your sport is your job,” Lacastro continued.
“You’re on the field six hours a day — it has a big impact on you.”
Opting for Queen’s University gradually became easier and easier.
“I could play immediately and get a really good education.”
Yes, Jordyn Lacastro has done some growing up these past couple of years, both on the lacrosse field and off.
Randy Pascal is the founder of SudburySports.com and a contributing sports writer for Northern Life.