Riders goalie Gross to cap star lax career at Blue-White Game Tuesday

CAMDEN — Four years ago, Caesar Rodney High’s boys’ lacrosse team needed a goalie.

Tyler Gross, a young freshman, volunteered to give it a try.

He’s been in the goal ever since.

While Gross’ career at Caesar Rodney is over, he’s not done playing goalie just yet.

He will continue his lacrosse career next year at Susquehanna University, a Division III program in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania.

Gross has one more chance to represent Caesar Rodney during the annual Blue-White Senior All-Star game. The girls’ and boys’ games will be held at Wesley College on Tuesday beginning at 6 p.m.

Tyler Gross finished his senior year with 107 saves and a 6.3 goals against average, while helping CR to the Henlopen title and a berth in the state semifinals. (Delaware State News file photo)

“It’s been a long road,” Gross said. “To look back to being a freshman, my first year playing the position, and then going to play in college now feels great. I’ve come a long way.”

Tuesday also gives Caesar Rodney coach Matt Faircloth one final time to coach Gross.

Faircloth is the head coach of the White team, comprised of Kent and Sussex County schools along with a few schools from southern New Castle County. Gross will be joined by fellow Riders Jacob Pangle, Jacob Copio and Jacob Mollohan.

Gross was an attacking player during youth lacrosse but switched to goalie when Caesar Rodney needed to replace All-State goalie Johnmichael Smith, who graduated in 2013.

“He was a great goalie so I definitely had big shoes to fill,” Gross said. “I said, ‘Hey let’s give it a shot.’ It worked out well for me. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I think it worked because of all the coaches we had here helping me.”

Of course there was a learning curve and Gross took some lumps in the beginning, but he developed to an All-State goalie in his own right, landing on the honorable mention list this season.

Gross finished his senior year with 107 saves and a 6.3 goals against average, while helping Caesar Rodney to the Henlopen Conference championship and a berth in the state tournament semifinals.

“He has physical toughness but even more mental toughness,” Faircloth said. “He’s incredibly smart and knowledgeable of the game. He makes the people around him better because he holds them accountable for matchups, schemes we’re in and where they should be playing.”

Faircloth is going to miss more than just Gross’ on the field play.

Gross is a two-year captain and was an Academic All-American in 2017.

“He’s the complete package,” Faircloth said. “You ask for a student-athlete, he’s it on the field and off the field. It’s been incredible to watch him develop into the person he is today.”

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