At this time last year, Tim Brady was in the midst of an all-state senior season for his Providence High lacrosse team, where he registered a school-record 235 saves.
This spring, Brady wasted no time proving himself at the college level, as he became the first Gettysburg College freshman since 2004 to earn the starting goalkeeper spot.
Brady, 19, is playing at a high level for one of the top teams in the country; the Bullets are 11-0 (through April 8) and ranked No. 3 in the country, according to the USILA Division III Coaches Poll.
Brady has been stingy in net with 82 saves, allowing just 5.73 goals per contest while saving nearly 58 percent (.577) of the shots on goal.
“I have a lot of confidence in myself and my game, but it’s definitely a bit surprising to be where I am right now,” Brady said. “When I think about all that has happened in the last year, sometimes it’s hard to believe. Being the starting goalkeeper on a great college lacrosse team and program, I am basically living a lifelong dream.”
Rob Horrigan, Brady’s coach at Providence, isn’t as surprised by his former player’s success.
“Honestly, nothing that Timmy does really surprises me at this point,” said Horrigan, who is in his fifth year as Providence’s head lacrosse coach. “I knew he was going to go to Gettysburg and be ready to compete for a starting spot. He’s always been the hardest working and most focused kid on our teams, so I expected him to do well. …
“But having said all that, to earn the starting goalkeeper spot as a freshman is huge. As a midfielder or attacker, there are a lot of starting positions to earn, but as the goalkeeper, there is just one.”
Brady showed he belonged at Gettysburg from the start, making nine saves in his first game, a 14-4 win over Goucher.
The 6-foot-2, 175-pound freshman had a college career-best 14 saves against No. 7 Salisbury University to help lead his team to a 12-6 victory in the second game of the season.
Brady also had another big game at Eastern University with 10 saves in a 15-9 victory.
Brady attributes a lot of his success to his teammates and coaches.
“I definitely feel pressure to play my part for this team,” Brady said. “But my coaches and my teammates have done a great job of making me feel comfortable and leading this team. They’ve told me that none of the pressure is on me, and I just need to trust the system and play my game. I’ve taken all that to heart and just gone out and focused on seeing the ball, stopping and doing my job.”
Brady continues to be a student of the game. He works tirelessly on the practice field to prepare himself for in-game situations long before they happen on the field.
Horrigan believes Brady’s confidence on game day comes from his preparation in practice.
Brady says he just focuses on the process.
“I am complete believer in that if you continue to work hard, that the rest will follow,” Brady said. “Every day, I go out and try to compete and get better as a goalkeeper.”
Brady found inspiration on the lacrosse field from a young age. He watched his older brother, Matt, star at Providence High before going on to be a two-time team captain for the Susquehanna University. Tim’s older sister, Megan, was a standout for the Providence girls’ lacrosse team before playing at Winthrop University.
“Matt and Megan are two people that have had the biggest influence on how I go about my game and how I play,” Tim Brady said. “That’s a special bond that we will always have.”
Brady was also motivated by the lineage of great Providence High goalkeepers such as Brendan Moore (Notre Dame), Pete Wesselman (Catawba College) and Talal Alvie (Penn State).
Wesselman, who gave Brady goalkeeper lessons as an eighth-grader, had a big impact on Brady.
“I’ve been inspired by all of those guys and learned a lot from Talal, being behind him for my first two years (at Providence),” said Brady, who has given a lot of advice to current Providence goalkeeper Cam Merrill. “But I will never forget when I was taking lessons from Pete when I was in middle school. Pete told me that I had a chance to be the next great Providence goalkeeper. That really motivated me to work even harder from that day forward.”
Horrigan believes Brady’s game is even better suited for college lacrosse.
“I think the high school game was too slow for Timmy in a lot of the games,” Horrigan said. “So I think the increased pace of play and speed of the game will benefit him, because he likes to play fast. I think Timmy is just figuring out just how good he can be.”
Said Brady: “My goal is to never be satisfied with what I’ve done in the past. My focus has always been on just trying to stay in the moment on the field no matter what happens. If I can do that, I feel the results will follow.”
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Jay? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.