Big shoes to fill

By on April 11, 2012

Freshman goaltender tries to live up to Benzing’s legacy

From having catches with his father and older brother, to being the goalie of a nationally-ranked high school team, Dylan Torey has shown the leadership and courage to take on anything set in front of him, especially as the starting freshman goalie for the Quinnipiac men’s lacrosse team.

“We recruited Dylan to be the starter here since we knew Kevin (Benzing) was graduating,” head coach Eric Fekete said. “In the fall, Dylan just earned the job. Even though he was slated to do it, he earned it and he was the top guy every week. It’s a hard job to do as a freshman.”

Torey played both hockey and lacrosse at Darien High School (Conn.). His lacrosse team was ranked third-best in the country when he was a senior last year. During his years with his high school team, Torey won two state championships and one Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference championship.

Matt Eisenberg | The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Quinnipiac freshman Dylan Torey has started the team’s first nine games of the season and has logged more than 520 minutes.

After he committed to Quinnipiac University during his junior year, Torey set his eyes on bringing his school its first undefeated FCIAC championship since 2008.

Torey said that the recruiting process took a toll on him during his junior year, but has no regrets looking back.

“The recruiting process is almost always hectic, but as I went through the journey, I have to say Quinnipiac University made my choice easy,” Torey said.

The team started the season with 23 new faces and six straight losses. But Torey didn’t push the panic button at that point. Since then, the team has won three games in a row heading into Tuesday’s matchup vs. Harvard and is in a three-way tie for first place in the Northeast Conference.

“Since winning three straight games, including a great win over Mount St. Mary’s, I can see that the team is heading in the right direction,” Torey said. “A month ago, I don’t think I would of believed that we would be in a three-way tie for first place in the NEC at this time.”

To put more pressure on Torey entering this season, he is the successor of former goalie Kevin Benzing. Benzing ended his career with the Bobcats with 500 career saves and led the team to the Northeast Conference championship last season, when it lost to Mount St. Mary’s.

“He’s the backbone of the operation. Having Kevin graduate last year, who started four years here, it’s big shoes to fill,” Fekete said. “He’s filling the shoes of probably the best goalie that’s ever played here and in the conference and country in Benzing. But being a freshman goalie in Division I lacrosse is a hard job because you don’t have the experience from learning from someone that starts in front of you for a year or feeling it for a year through the sidelines.”

Torey even requested to Fekete to wear Benzing’s number 13 before the season started.

“I had the pressure of filling the very big shoes of my predecessor Kevin Benzing,” Torey said. “Thirteen was my lucky number in high school and I wanted it to be my lucky number in college. If it worked for Kevin, I hoped it worked for me.”

All of Torey’s teammates have supported him as he faces an immense amount of pressure this season.

“I think everyone supported it,” Fekete said. “I can’t say our poor start was a result of Dylan not playing well. We started nine freshmen who are all in the same boat as him, but Dylan’s transition is a little more transparent.”

Entering the last stretch of the regular season, Torey continues to pursue his level of play heading down the stretch and enjoys the pressure that comes with it.

“I understand that you have to play at a higher tempo, emotional state and stay focused all four quarters. It’s always better when you play a team a second time. You have a better understanding of your opponents. You can capitalize on the mistakes you made the first time and try to best them the second time,” Torey said. “The last three games of our regular season are all [against] top teams and will be a test.”

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