Athlete of the Week: New net, same goal for Lazaroff

Everyone knew Joey Lazaroff was going to be a star goaltender – except on the ice, not on the turf.

Once a promising hockey netminder who played junior hockey in the U.S. Olympic development program, Lazaroff suddenly and surprisingly decided to make the transition to lacrosse last season, his junior year at Socastee.

Just call it a successful lacrosse-over move. Just one week into his senior season, Lazaroff is already getting lots of looks from college scouts and he was named the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week.

“I played hockey all my life and all over the world and I just decided I wasn’t going to play anymore,” said Lazaroff, who rode to Charleston three nights a week and flew to national tournaments on the weekends until his sophomore year.

“I went out for lacrosse and a lot of it just came natural to me. (Both positions) are kind of the same concept, except in lacrosse I’m on my feet instead of my knees so I’m more of a moving object. Now I like lacrosse better.”

The transition might have been smooth, but not necessarily easy. Lazaroff suited up for Team Palmetto, a local travel squad coached by Dennis Daley, and joined his high school club and worked with coach and former college player Matthew Fox.

“After only picking up the sport last year, he has really grown into a great goalie.  I only wish I had him for one more year,” Fox said. “He is possibly the most intelligent goalie I’ve ever had and has been a great student of the game since he started playing the sport last year so that he could perfect his position.”

Lazaroff spreads the credit: “I’ve been lucky to have a lot of help from coaches and teammates in making the transition,” he said. “Hockey has been a big help too because even though I go out there with the mindset to have fun, I’m also a competitor. I want to stop them all.”

Lazaroff has come close to that lofty goal, posting 48 saves in the Braves’ first three games this season. Now he finds himself being recruited to play lacrosse at the next level, although he hasn’t decided where he wants to go to college.

Lazaroff’s ranking in the top 5 percent of Socastee’s senior class will pretty much allow him to play anywhere with a lacrosse program, but right now he’s only focused on the Braves. Featuring a collection of lacrosse players from all over Horry County. Socastee is currently awaiting a ruling on its appeal to be allowed in the state playoffs.

“We’ve got a great group of guys and we all work together as a team and get along off the field,” Lazaroff said. “I think we have the talent to make a run at it. I just hope we get the chance to see what we can do in the playoffs.”

That’s one goal Lazaroff wouldn’t mind seeing.

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