Orange Crush 2018 Devin Lee 2nd Goalie in Section III History to Surpass 1000 Saves

UpdatedWednesday May 23, 2018 byOrange Crush 2018.

Of the thousands of high school boys lacrosse players to suit up and try their hand as net-minder over the years, just two from Section III have ever recorded 1,000 saves. Last Thursday against Vernon-Verona-Sherrill, in his final game for the Clinton varsity program, senior Devin Lee became the second member of the illustrious club, wrapping up a historic four-year journey with the Warriors with 1,016 career stops.

Devn Lee (submitted photo)

Lee is also one of only nine goalies in state history to surpass the milestone according to the NYSPHSAA record books and Pacing the crowd is current Major League Lacrosse player Charlie Capriano, who gathered 1,366 saves at Herricks High School from 2005 through 2008.

The soon-to-be graduate of Clinton High School was a four-year captain for the group and finished just 12 stops behind Section III record-holder Greg Klossner, who picked up 1,028 saves for Jamesville-DeWitt from 1999-2003.

"I think coming into this year, checking out the stats, I thought it was a possibility. It was a goal for me," Lee said. "It was a good goal for me to achieve after putting in the hard work."

Lee, who will continue his lacrosse career at Vassar College, posted at least 200 saves in each of his four campaigns, while also increasing the total each season. Here's the breakdown:

2018       274 203 .574
2017 1 1 2 272 124 .687
2016       260 148 .637
2015       210 160 .568
CAREER 1 1 2 1016 635 .615

From 2015 through 2018, Lee and the rest of the Warriors varsity program saw plenty of changes in personnel, as three different coaches held the reins of the Class C group. Lee's freshman-year coach was John Lehmann, his coach during sophomore and junior year was Bruce Curtis, and the current man at the helm is Mike Hoover.

Clinton posted a 24-40 record over the course of their star goaltender's tenure, including a pair of 12 defeat seasons, but highlighted by an 11-7 season a year ago that saw them make the sectional playoffs for the first time since 2013. Not only did the team compete in the postseason, but the Warriors took a tight 4-3 victory over the Red Devils in the opening round (a game in which Lee had 22 saves,) before ultimately falling to state-finalist Jamesville-DeWitt in the quarterfinals.

Under Curtis' leadership, the playoff victory snapped a streak of five consecutive first-round exits from 2009 through 2013.

"He kept us in a lot of games. His sophomore year, then his junior year, a lot of the players were seniors. They had a year under me, they knew my style. ... The games were closer," Curtis said. "He was definitely a team leader, a guy getting them ready to go for games. ... He was a real good teammate, a real good player to coach."

Both Curtis and Hoover praised the first-team all-star for numerous attributes.

"He has tremendous hand-eye coordination and that doesn't even take into consideration his intangibles such as work ethic, being another set of eyes for coaches on the field, etc.," Hoover said. "He is absolutely coachable. As someone who has thrown a variety of defensive schemes at our team, he's been willing to facilitate those processes. We've probably gone through four different schemes."

"He has a really good work ethic. He is always working on his craft, weather in practice or in a game. I always had a very up-tempo offense and that allowed teams to get a lot of more shots on him, because we had a good goalie," Curtis added. "His attitude, his approach to the game, and his work ethic, those are all things that will be beneficial to him (in college.)"

Lee noted that lacrosse was not his first passion, as he only took up the sport in sixth grade. Prior to that, the senior played baseball, and was able to use his experience on the diamond to translate to the lacrosse field.

"I was a catcher. All my friends were playing lacrosse. ... I showed up and tried out and they needed a goalie, so I volunteered. I got a bunch of 'oohs and ahhs' and I stuck with it and I excelled at it," he said. "You need good hand-eye coordination as a catcher and obviously need it to play goalie in lacrosse. I was used to having fast objects coming at me."

Lee's former and current head coach agreed that reaching 1,000 career saves not only signifies the goalie's longevity, but consistency as well.

"It speaks to his resiliency and his commitment to the sport. Certainly, that milestone should be something that he is, and we are very proud of. I know that he will continue to get better and he will take that experience and be an excellent college goaltender," Hoover said. "Certainly, he provided a tremendous presence out there. His ability to communicate, ability to understand the game, and talk about the game with our kids. His ability to see things on the field and communicate it out there is something you don't see every day on the high school field and it's something to be valued."

"I texted them the other day, told them congratulations from me. I wish him the best of luck in college. I'm going to be trying to follow along with his college career," Curtis added.

(Save No. 1,000 - Video courtesy of Mike Lee)

While Hoover only just wrapped up his first season as a high school varsity lacrosse coach, he has plenty of experience on the field, having played for Heartwood College.

"I've played with goalies that played at the highest level and Devin ranks right up there," he said. "Not only is he a phenomenal lacrosse player, he's an excellent student with an extremely high GPA and I think that's what anyone's looking for in an athlete; a standout on the field and in the classroom."

When asked about the legacy he hopes that he leaves with the Warriors, Lee pointed to the major players who helped shape his success. They included his parents, Michael and Catherine Lee, as well as his youth lacrosse coach, Eric Huckaby.

"My parents have been such a huge influence on me. My Orange Crush club coaches and Clinton coaches have been such a huge support to me. ... It was my youth coach who introduced me to the game and pushed me to be the best player I could be," Lee said. "I hope a lot of people take away that I really worked hard. ... I really focus on getting better every single day."