The Newburyport lacrosse team's new goalie, sophomore Dylan Guthro, has some pretty big shoes to fill as he steps into the net after the four-year reign of Dean Cataldo.
That's just fine for Guthro, who stands 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds.
The first-year starter also gained quite a bit of notice in the past year as a three-sport athlete. He played center for the basketball team this winter and was an All-Cape Ann League defensive tackle on the 9-3 football team with 16 sacks. Bumps and bruises are just a part of the games as he sees it.
"My friends make jokes that I don't feel any pain," says Guthro. "Because, honestly, I can shake it off in a couple of seconds. I've got to be able to take the beating and get right back in the net, even in practice."
Guthro has been playing lacrosse since he was 5 with the Tots at Amesbury Sports Park. He's been playing in net since he was in second grade. He started playing hoops and football in sixth grade and has gained a little perspective from it.
"Lacrosse is more localized pain; in football, it's everywhere," laughs Guthro, adding that his favorite part of lacrosse is "being able to get out there and stand in the net. I don't have to run very much."
But Guthro doesn't just stand there in the net. He's aggressive, moving out of the crease, and his teammates appreciate it.
"My entire team has been so welcoming to me," says Guthro. "They help me out. I don't feel at all like I'm stepping into Dean's shadow. I feel like I'm just creating my own thing, and it's because of those guys. They accept me and I love it."
Guthro's coach in football, Ed Gaudiano, also coaches him in lacrosse.
"He's a great kid," Gaudiano says of his new goalie. "He's a confident kid. He's outgoing. He's a big kid, and he's got a big personality. Kids like him right off the bat. He's very coachable. You don't have to tell him too many times before he gets it."
Guthro didn't have much time to get up to speed, being thrown to the lions against North Andover in his first varsity start Monday. Up until then, the Clippers had never beaten the Scarlet Knights in the history of their program. But things changed that day as Newburyport held on to put North Andover away 12-9.
"The first quarter was a bit nerve-wracking," Guthro admits of the North Andover tilt. "But I've played on select teams before with really high competition, so I was pretty sure I could handle it. Plus, the entire team is out there supporting me. I'm feeling really good with my team."
And the Clippers kept on rolling, taking care of business against Ipswich just two days later, 15-6. Interestingly enough, a blowout can be just as challenging to a goalie as a nail-biter.
"I can't ever let my guard get down," Guthro says of the not-so-close games. "Lacrosse is a pretty fast-paced game. The score can go from 15-6 to 15-10 in a second. It may not mean they're in the game, but still, I've always got to be ready."
All this success has the team in high spirits.
"We're pretty excited," Guthro says of the team's early success. "We just want to keep winning, we're hoping we can do that. As long as we keep winning, keep doing what we're doing, we've got some great chemistry right now. Everybody is happy right now. We're excited to play and get out there every single time."
The Clippers' coach is happy, too, even though he would like to see Guthro clear the ball a little more.
"Part of it is trying to get a good defense in front of him," says Gaudiano. "Because he's young and we're looking at some new defensive faces. Just as far as him being a sophomore, he's already developed a style that's different from Dean."
Guthro may have a different style from his predecessor, but he says he will carry the lessons he learned from Cataldo to become his own man.
"My freshman year, Dean was the nicest guy," Guthro says of Cataldo. "Every single practice, he helped me out. He'd say stuff to keep my spirits up, and he was just a great mentor, too. It's always tough to come in and step into a guy like that's shoes. I don't want people to think that I'm trying to replace him. I just want to make my own name for myself here in Newburyport, too."