Doktor is just what Quakers lacrosse ordered
The freshman has helped stabilize a much-improved Penn offensive attack
March 19, 2013, 8:56 pm·
Imran Cronk | DP
There are currently only four captains on the roster of the Penn men’s lacrosse team, all of them upperclassmen.
But after watching freshman attack Nick Doktor play, you would swear on your life that there’s a new veteran leader in the Quakers’ ranks.
In only his first year on the team, the newcomer has quickly established himself as one of Penn’s most dependable and mentally tough players.
It hasn’t taken long for Doktor to impress his coaches.
“He is our fourth attackman, but he’s played a lot of minutes, scored a lot of goals for us, a lot of points,” coach Mike Murphy said. “He is very skilled and very smart and he also has great deal of poise and composure, so he doesn’t get rattled playing in big games and being in big moments.”
For Doktor, though, it’s been a group effort in making the difficult leap from high school to intercollegiate competition.
Senior captain Tim Schwalje and fellow fourth-year Ryan Parietti have taken Doktor under their wing, helping him adjust to his role on the Quakers’ offense.
“It’s obviously a lot different than high school, it’s obviously a lot faster paced at the Division I level,” Doktor said. “But the upperclassmen on the team really helped me out with the adjustment and made it really easy for me.”
The college game becomes much faster because of the increased speed and strength of the players on the field, often stymieing newcomers used to easily outhustling weaker competition.
But Doktor hasn’t had that problem.
“Nick is able to slow things down a little bit and process information quickly on the field ,” Murphy said. “So it hasn’t been too much of an adjustment for him and I think that is part of the reason he’s performed well.”
This year, 14 new freshmen have joined the Quakers. An increase from the usual recruiting class of 10, they are not only strong in number but also in talent.
“We’ve got Nick and a few other guys that have been playing pretty significant roles for us as freshman, which is not always common and they’ve done a great job,” Murphy said. “They’ve added a lot of energy and talent. The freshman class has been good for us and Nick is as strong as any of them.”
After a disappointing campaign last year, Doktor and his classmates have re-energized the program, leading Penn to wins over three ranked teams on the way to a 5-1 start, its best since 2006.
Doktor is happy to be a part of the Quakers’ newfound success.
“We have a lot of great leadership from the seniors, especially the captains. They set a great example for us from the top down,” Doktor said. “Guys are really buying into what we need to do and thus far it’s been working out really great for us.”
The new freshmen have definitely helped with the success of the team, but there is more to Penn’s success than the presence of the underclassmen.
“In the fall we spent a lot of time honing in on our own specific skills and really breaking things down a lot more than we did in high school and I think that has been a big part of the success,” Doktor said. “Going back to the fundamentals, simple passing and catching which has allowed us to play a lot faster pace of lacrosse and that been a big part of our winning.”
And if Doktor can keep his heady play up, there may be plenty more wins to come in the Quakers’ future.