Lenox's Tibbetts Commits to Play Soccer at Holy Cross
LENOX, Mass. -- Years of devotion to his sport made Matt Tibbetts a Division I athlete.
But he was not devoted to the idea playing the highest level of collegiate soccer so much as devoted to finding the right college at which to play soccer.
“How I approached it was I kind of made a list of schools that fit me academically and schools I was interested in without soccer,” Tibbetts said. “Then I just contacted coaches at those schools.
“I didn’t go into my college search dead-set on wanting to play. But at the schools I liked academically, I wanted to play if I could. … It just happened that most of the schools I was looking at academically were Division I schools.”
On Tuesday afternoon, surrounded by family and with his Lenox teammates looking on, Tibbetts signed his NCAA National Letter of Intent to attend Worcester’s College of the Holy Cross and play soccer.
But just as important for the star goalkeeper is the studying he would do toward a degree in either pre-dental or pre-medicine as he eyes a career in the medical profession.
Of course, that career is down the road. On Tuesday, he admitted it was pretty cool to be continuing his academic career at a level to which hundreds of thousands of high school seniors aspire each year.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “It’s nice just because I can show people that even if you go to a small school, it can be done.
“There’s some great talent for all sports here at Lenox. If people just work hard and use the resources that they have, it can be done. They can go to whatever school they want.”
On the pitch, the Holy Cross men went 7-9-4 last fall, a campaign that ended in a 1-0 loss to Colgate in the Patriot League Championship Game.
Head coach Marco Koolman has a .707 winning percentage in six years at the school.
Tibbetts backstopped Lenox to a Western Massachusetts Division 4 Championship last fall. The Millionaires posted nine shutouts along the way, and Tibbetts allowed just 17 goals in 16 games -- five of them in a regular season-ending loss to eventual D3 Western Mass semi-finalist Mount Greylock.
Tibbetts said his final college choices came down to Holy Cross, its Patriot League rivals Lehigh and Lafayette, UMass-Amherst and Northeastern.
He reached out to the Crusaders relatively late in the recruiting game, contacting the coaching staff last spring. When he visited the Central Mass campus, he was impressed with what he found.
“Just the energy and connectivity among all the players,” he said. “When I went on my visit, they all made me feel at home. They’re just a great bunch of guys, really nice. No attitudes or egos -- and that’s just what I want to be around for the next couple of years, both academically and athletically.”
Tibbetts Tuesday became the fourth Lenox Millionaire in the last three years to commit to play Division I intercollegiate athletics. In 2016, Alessandra Arace went to Providence College for soccer. Last year, Shannon Meisberger and and Emma Jourdain signed on to run track and cross country at Georgetown and Maine, respectively.
“I’ve always looked up to people like Alessandra Arace, who did it, and [Lenox and Georgetown grad] Scott Carpenter,” Tibbetts said of Tuesday’s signing ceremony. “It went by quick.”