Q&A with Boys Lacrosse Senior Zach Monzo
Spring-Ford High School's Zach Monzo scored the last-second winning goal in the 2012 PAC-10 Championship. We pulled him aside for an exclusive interview this week.
Coming off of arguably one of the most exciting games in Spring-Ford boys lacrosse history, senior leader Zach Monzo is helping to prepare his team for a District One Tournament appearance tonight at 7 p.m.
Monzo scored the winning goal in the final second of regulation in the 2012 PAC-10 Championship, and has had a nice season overall. Monzo has registered 52 goals and 11 assists in 18 games (Lower Merion, Perkiomen Valley [4/27] were not included, as stats were not submitted).
LRSC Patch Editor Kevin Haslam and Monzo took some time this week to chat about his career, this season and his future in this week's Q&A.
LRSC Patch: Let's talk about your lacrosse career. When did you get started? When did you realize you liked it?
Zach Monzo: I've been playing since I was like eight years old. So, ever since I picked up a stick, it was pretty much my whole season - every summer, fall, winter. It's all lacrosse.
Patch: So, it's been the only sport you've really ever played?
Patch: Take me through your high school career, from freshman year on.
Monzo: Freshman year, we had a freshman team. A lot of new guys on that team. Me and some of the other seniors today kind of carried that team. Sophomore year, I played four or five games and dislocated my elbow. I was out for that season.
Last year, we had our best season ever, I think. That was kind of pretty much the start of it. That's what brings me here, now.
Patch: This season specifically... For a team that loses 22 seniors and wins the PAC-10 Championship... You've done pretty well for yourself. Take me through the highs and lows of this season.
Monzo: Yeah. A lot of the younger guys really stepped up and showed they knew what was going on. They really improved from even the beginning of the season, especially from last year. They knew they had to step up and be a big part of the team this year. That's exactly what they did. We have freshmen starting, a bunch of sophomores, a lot of juniors and only five seniors.
Patch: What would you say was the personal best game in your high school career?
Monzo: It's hard to think of a personal best, but as of right now, I kind of look back at Thursday in the PAC-10 Championship. I wouldn't say that was the best game I ever played, but it ended the greatest.
Patch: Let's expound upon that a little bit. Now that you've had a few days to think about it and cool off - we talked about it right after the game and the adrenaline was still pumping and everything. To think about that game - that final minute, those final seconds. Take me through that. What was said in the huddle, what were you thinking to yourself?
Monzo: Me personally, I was in my own zone. Just trying to figure out what we were going to have to do. I know the coaches were telling us what plays to run, but I was just kind of like seeing in my own head what I could do. It was probably the most intense minute of high school lacrosse I've played.
Patch: What would you say is the worst game you've personally every played - where you didn't play well and took a step back and saw what you need to fix about your game.
Monzo: Probably the Great Valley game we played a few weeks ago. Didn't really come out and do much that game. I guess I wasn't in the zone that game. Other guys stepped up and we ended up winning. I was happy about that. It wasn't anything too bad but I definitely look back at that and know what I have to do for [today].
Patch: Yeah, so you guys barely beat them last time. 12-11. What are you expecting out of that one on your home field?
Monzo: That was probably the best team we played all season. We came out and they came out too. They're a good team. We know how they play now, so I think it will be a little bit easier for us. I think we'll be fine.
Patch: The other all-star on this team is junior Paul Major. Tell me about playing with him. Just so quick and smart out there on the field.
Monzo: We have awesome chemistry out there with all the plays we run together. We just bond out there and have our own thing sometimes. It's good to have him out there.
Patch: Being a senior, and there's so few seniors this year, you kind of have to step into a leadership role whether you like it or not. What qualities about you make you a good leader for this team?
Monzo: I just try to make sure everyone's staying positive. Some guys may think we're going to lose this game and all that. I kind of just give them motivation and show everyone that we're the best out there and can beat everyone pretty much. That's what we try to do out here.
Patch: McDaniel next year? Tell me about the recruitment process and how you narrowed it down to that school.
Monzo: Went through a few recruiting tournaments, camps, showcases over the summer. I got looked at in the Top 205 for them. I had a bunch of other choices and was going back and forth with them, talking to all the coaches. I just ended up taking a visit down there in November, stayed over night, did all that, came back, slept over other places and narrowed it down to McDaniel and Ursinus. McDaniel was the choice for me.
Patch: Are they in Maryland?
Patch: So, moving far away from home, as opposed to Ursinus. Two different dynamics. One in your backyard and the other a few states away. How do you think you'll adapt to being away from home?
Monzo: I should be fine. I kind of wanted to be away from home a little bit. It's not too far. It's about two-and-a-half hours. Shouldn't be too bad.
Patch: What are you taking up down there as far as a major goes?
Monzo: Business Economics.
Patch: Any ideas of a career or is that a stepping-stone to pave the way for your decision?
Monzo: Yeah. I'm not too positive yet.
Patch: What did you like the most when you visited there? What drew you to McDaniel?
Monzo: The coaches were probably the biggest factor. They have really nice coaches. The assistant coach is actually my coach for one of the summer tournaments. So, I knew who he was. They're really awesome guys. Even just the team. Everyone is really nice. I like the way they play. Really good lacrosse.
Patch: You think you guys this year have a shot at making it past round one and going far in the district tournament? If so, what's it going to take?
Monzo: Yeah, definitely. It's going to take a lot. If everyone plays how they do, we'll be fine. As long as no guys get a little cheap on us. If everyone goes out there 100 percent, we'll be fine and we'll go possibly farther than last year. That's what we look for.
Patch: If you can leave behind a legacy or a message for the young kids on the team to follow, what are you trying to teach them?
Monzo: Always give 100 percent. A lot of the young kids from the beginning of the season were a little immature. We had to correct that. The difference of the way they play lacrosse from now, you can definitely tell the difference. Now, if we were the team we were at the beginning of the season, from the way they were acting, we definitely wouldn't be making it this far. A lot of guys looked up to the seniors, realized what they had to do, realized they needed to stay focused and just give 100 percent all the time. Not worry about losing and we'll be fine. Hopefully they'll pass that down to the younger kids when they're seniors too.
Patch: Last one. If you could go back and talk to yourself as a freshman and give yourself some tips to make it easier in becoming the guy you are today, what would you tell yourself?
Monzo: That's hard. Maybe just give a little more in the academic field. It probably would have made things a lot easier in the college process - not that I do bad. Also, practice a little more with everything, not just lacrosse. Everything takes a little more practice.