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Goffstown's Simoneau has breakthrough season for MLL's Rochester Rattlers

Special to the Union Leader

August 22. 2017 12:49AM
The Rochester Rattlers' Drew Simoneau, left, takes a faceoff during a game against Denver. (Courtesy Isaiah Downing)

NCAA Division III athletes don’t often get a crack at playing at the top level of pro competition for their sport.

Lacrosse is the outlier, though, as Division III talent has mixed its way into the world of Major League Lacrosse, and a shining example is Goffstown’s Drew Simoneau.

Simoneau, a product of Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y., just finished his second season for the Rochester Rattlers of the MLL. The faceoff specialist had a breakout year, helping the Rattlers to the postseason. In 13 games, he posted a faceoff percentage of 58 percent, registering four goals (including a game winner against Boston on July 16), two assists and 124 ground balls.

Not bad for a player who fell through the cracks before getting a pro tryout with the Rattlers.

“I was invited (to camp) and tried my best and hoped for practice squad, and made that, and thought hopefully I get time in a game,” said Simoneau. “It goes from there. Being a D3 player in the league, it’s an underdog story. There have been a few guys I know of from D3 who are aspiring to play MLL. It makes them try, not harder than D1, but competitive edge comes in. D3 players have tremendous drive to make a practice roster.”

With the Golden Flyers of Nazareth, Simoneau put up numbers higher than 70 percent as he converted to a full-time faceoff specialist. He broke the school’s record for ground balls in a season, and became the first Empire 8 Conference player to make the all-conference first team for four seasons.

In high school, where Simoneau played for Goffstown for three seasons before transferring to Kimball Union Academy of Meriden, he earned U.S. Lacrosse All-American honors in his senior season. He also played hockey and football at Kimball Union.

“I went to public and private, and New Hampshire has the talent level and it has tremendously increased.” he said. “There’s been a resurgence of coaches that were college players and that’s helped. When I started, only one coach who played in college was around, and he played 30 years ago.”

Simoneau is planning to return to the Rattlers next season for his third year as a pro. He runs a clinic in Rochester, and plans to be involved in the sport in that capacity while also working on his career as a physical therapist.

“We finished the season super strong,” he said. “Four awesome team wins to get us into the playoffs. Our NLL guys coming back with (Jordan]) McIntosh, (Joel) White and (John) Ranagan from the (Georgia) Swarm bumped us up. Started out rocky but things started to click towards the end.”

There has been speculation about the future of the Rattlers, but after a strong turnout at the end of the season, and a late postseason push, Simoneau is expecting a return to upstate New York.

“Preparing to be in Rochester, I’m hopeful we’ll stay there,” he said. “We had 3,500 fans show up last game. The fans are there; we need them to show up. I’m hopeful we get to stay. Being the team we are, we love each other, would be a shame to see them dissipate. I’m excited to continue my career, staying with Rochester.”

Lacrosse Goffstown