Strange as it sounds, one of the state’s top scorers in boys lacrosse languished somewhat under the radar when it came to attracting the attention of college recruiters.
Not that those slights ever meant much to Nathan Puldy. Come next year he still will be flying around with a stick in his hands and his eyes set on the opposing goal. As long as he is out there competing, regardless of the jersey he wears, Puldy will be more than content.
Playing the game as a passionate emotional outlet, Puldy, a fresh graduate of Monarch High School, gradually developed into one of the most consistently prolific scorers in the state. And after combining that impressive scoring ability with the leadership qualities that helped steer the Coyotes into their first-ever berth in the state quarterfinals, Puldy has been named the BoCoPreps.com Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year.
Surprisingly, Puldy was unable to land a Division-I scholarship offer attractive enough to fulfill his financial and academic concerns. Instead, Puldy will compete for the club team at the University of Washington.
Puldy is turning that career path, like the player of the year award, into a family tradition. His older brother Alex, the area’s 2009 player of the year, competes for the club team at the University of Colorado.
“As long as I’m playing lacrosse, I’ll be happy,” Puldy said. “I get to keep playing and I’m going to get an education. That’s pretty much all that matters. I had some offers and there was some interest, but nothing that really clicked for what I wanted academically.”
Puldy proved to be a one-man wrecking crew against opposing defenses. He was held without a goal in only one game — the Coyotes’ 13-1 quarterfinal loss against Arapahoe — and he scored at least three goals in 15 of Monarch’s other 16 games. Boulder was the only team that limited Puldy to a lone goal, and he responded to the Panthers’ increased attention by dishing out a season-high six assists.
Puldy finished his senior season ranked second in the state with 92 points, compiling 63 goals (which ranked third in the state) and 29 assists. Puldy also shattered the Monarch career records previously held by his brother, finishing with a four-year total of 173 goals and 86 assists.
While Puldy noted Monarch’s 15-10 win against Fort Collins on April 20, which ruined Fort Collins’ perfect 24-0 mark in Northern League play, as one of the biggest highlights of his career, it was Puldy’s leadership skills that impressed coach David Auday in the aftermath of that big win.
Monarch lost two key starters to injury against Fort Collins, and the Coyotes were still without those players entering a key nonconference tilt against Wheat Ridge on April 28. Puldy took charge, recording five goals and two assists to lead Monarch to a 12-6 victory.
“We had two starters out after Fort Collins, but if we lose to Wheat Ridge, we don’t get that bye (in the first round of the playoffs),” Auday said. “Nate, from the outset, he took over and basically said, ‘I’m the guy.’ Was it surprising? No. But it was awesome to watch.”
Follow Pat Rooney on Twitter: @prooney07