All Reilly Hupfeldt had known in his scholastic and lacrosse life was Haverford School’s way of doing things.
That made for a bit of trepidation when the senior decided last year to take a post-graduate year, landing him at the Lawrenceville School.
Now that his high school career is officially over, the Penn-bound attacker is grateful for the lessons learned in New Jersey.
“It was important for me to come to Lawrenceville, and get a little bigger, a little faster, a little stronger, which is hopefully what I did,” Hupfeldt said last week after his team’s loss to Malvern Prep in the semifinals of the Inter-Ac Invitational. “I played a little different game last year and I wanted to expand my game. I think I’ve done that, which is good, and I’m ready for the next step.”
The objective was for Hupfeldt to expand his arsenal of skills at Lawrenceville. His time at Haverford School had proven his reputation as a ruthless finisher, but to cope at the next level, he’d have to be more than just skilled around the crease. His technical ability and shooting were certainly never in doubt, but the ability to create for himself and others was an aspect of his game needing reinforcement.
“They knew my stick was good and everything, like shooting,” Hupfeldt said of his conversations with Penn. “They just wanted me to get better at handling the ball because everyone needs to be able to handle the ball and didn’t want me to get eaten up. They wanted me to go to Lawrenceville, and work on the stuff they I needed to. Every player can work on everything. It’s not like I didn’t work on my shooting and my stick; everyone can use improving on everything, but I just wanted to work on every facet of my game.”
The improvement is clear to Haverford School coach John Nostrant, who helped facilitate so many of the early steps in Hupfeldt’s development.
“He’s maturing, and he’s thinned out and he’s got much better speed,” Nostrant said. “He shot it great against us. I think he’s going to be a good college player. He obviously has great hands and can finish outside, and now he can do a couple different things than he could a year ago. … I think socially, academically, physically, all those things, you get that extra year, it’s huge.”
About the only bump in the road for Hupfeldt was when he had to play against Haverford School at the Katie Samson Lacrosse Festival. His performance wasn’t affected that day in a 17-11 loss that featured four goals by the former Ford. While Hupfeldt had already tussled with his former team in the fall when he played on the Lawrenceville water polo team, it didn’t make the occasion all that much easier.
“It was weird,” he admitted. “I didn’t really enjoy it. I went there my whole life, for 14 years. It’s the only school I know. … Those are the only coaches I’ve ever played for. All the stuff that they teach is all I know.”