Since Inside Lacrosse reported Monday the decision by attackmen Tom and Matt Palasek to transfer from Johns Hopkins, there’s been a sufficient amount of hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing by Blue Jays fans.
True, the loss of Tom Palasek hurts. The sophomore set career highs in goals (13), assists (7) and points (20), ranking fourth on the team in each of those three categories. Palasek was expected to start on an attack unit composed of redshirt senior Chris Boland (torn anterior cruciate ligament in right knee) and senior Kyle Wharton (24, 9). Matt Palasek, a freshman, played sparingly in five contests.
Now freshman Zach Palmer (10, 5) figures to move into what would have been Palasek’s spot. For his part, coach Dave Pietramala wasn’t climbing down from a ledge at the moves.
"You graduate players, you get players hurt every year, and that’s why you recruit," Pietramala said. "Tommy had a good year, and he was a contributor. Chris Boland comes back, Kyle Wharton returns, we’ve got a group of young, talented freshmen coming in, Zach Palmer moves back to his natural position where earlier in the year he was averaging a goal or two per game. How do we handle it? Simply. We move on. Next guy up. Thankfully, Zach Palmer, who is a pretty talented kid who we feel like is ready to play attack now, can go back there. In the Syracuse game, he had a goal and an assist as an attackman. So we’ll make that natural adjustment, and we’ll move forward."
As he told Inside Lacrosse, Pietramala described his meeting with the Palasek brothers as amicable, and he said he did not oppose their decision.
"If the young men are looking for something different, then we want them to be happy," he said. "It’s a mutual decision that they go, and we’ll do everything we can to help them. And you’re seeing this more and more in lacrosse. So it’s not like it’s uncommon. We’ve gotten calls from several other kids that are interested in transferring. So it’s going on, it’s a part of the process now. As a coach, you’re never happy to lose guys, but you lose some and you gain some."
Pietramala would not say whether one of those phone calls came from sophomore attackman Matt Mackrides, who has reportedly requested a release from his commitment to Penn State. Mackrides led the Nittany Lions in both goals (36) and points (44) this past spring.
"I couldn’t confirm or deny anything," Pietramala said. "That’s not my place to do that. That young man is obviously going through a process, and it would be very inappropriate for me to even comment on him."