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Senior Matt Koziy is an integral member of a dominating defensive unit for the Morgan boys’ lacrosse squad. (Photo courtesy of Matt Koziy )
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Matt Koziy wasn’t on the lacrosse field when he started playing sports, but as he grew up, Matt was drawn to the physical nature of the game. Now a senior at Morgan, Matt is using that aspect to his advantage as a sound defensive presence for a stingy boys’ lacrosse squad.
Matt played soccer and baseball, before transitioning to lacrosse through the youth program in Clinton, where he was coached by Morgan’s current Head Coach Brendan Hylan. This year, Matt and the Huskies are storming into the playoffs after putting together a regular-season record of 10-6. A defender, Matt has helped Morgan limit the opposition’s offense to single digits in nine of the team’s 10 victories.
“It was fun to learn the sport, and I’ve grown to love it. Lacrosse is more of a tough-hitting sport, and I love that atmosphere. It’s just fun to go to practice,” says Matt. “My coaches from every sport were huge. If you allow the right coach to guide you in the right direction, then you will get better no matter what.”
Matt likes how a team’s defensive unit is often the unsung hero. Matt wants the Huskies’ defense to serve as a steel curtain when it comes to protecting their turf.
“The defense never gets any of the glory in any of the sports, but we are solid on defense on this team,” Matt says. “Knowing you are one of the more lethal defenses in the league, it makes you proud knowing that you are part of a brick wall.”
Matt started off his varsity career on the attack as a freshman, but then made the move to the defensive end. Matt credits his coaches for ensuring that the transition went as smoothly as possible.
“I listened to them, and they taught me all the aspects of defense,” says Matt, who will play lacrosse at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. “Being on varsity as a 14 year-old playing against 18 year-olds toughened me up and allowed me to grow.”
Matt learned all about what it takes to lead a team as a result of watching the seniors who came before him. Now, Matt is the one who’s providing guidance for his teammates as a senior leader.
“I always looked up to the older guys on our team. I always looked up to the seniors and thought they were cool, so I try to be that type of person now,” Matt says. “I want the other kids to like me and want to play with me. My main takeaway has been that when someone looks up to you, you have to be there for them.”
Coach Hylan says that Matt has benefited immensely from becoming a student of the sport. Hylan adds that Matt leads Morgan’s defensive corps through his actions on the field.
“Matt is a sponge for the sport of lacrosse. His love and desire for the game have just grown more and more each year,” says Hylan. “Matt is part of a long list of tremendous defensive players throughout Morgan history and, because of his drive, he has really given younger players a new perspective on the sport. His example and level of play says it all.”
Morgan has a major objective on its radar as the team dives into postseason play. Matt knows that the Huskies are going to prepare well and play with lots of heart as they chase down championship gold.
“We need to win Shorelines this year. It’s ours, and we need to win it,” Matt says. “We’ve been working hard in practice and taking things seriously. Our coaches preach to us to always be working harder than the other guy.”
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