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Austin Geisler will take skills he honed with the Fellowship
BY TAFT COGHILL JR.
Austin Geisler can see the lights at Klockner Stadium from his dorm room in St. Anne's-Belfield private school in Charlottesville.
But the Stafford County resident isn't claiming his proximity to the University of Virginia lacrosse field is what has given him the talent necessary to play there.
Instead, the STAB junior said it has been hard work and guidance from a handful of influential coaches in the Fredericksburg area that have led to his status as one of the top two goalkeepers in the nation for the class of 2010.
Geisler said yesterday he will take that talent across the street to Virginia, the school he has given his oral commitment to.
"Ever since I went to my first U.Va. game in 2004 against Johns Hopkins, I wanted to go there," Geisler said. "I'm just glad I got the opportunity to commit."
The Cavaliers won that particular game in overtime.
Geisler said he was in the sixth grade at the time, and his coaches with the Stafford Lacrosse Association took the team to watch.
Their intention was to give the players confidence that they can reach that level.
"They said, 'Maybe one day some of you will be on that field,'" Geisler recalled. "It's a great day to have that come true."
It has come true partly because of the sacrifice Geisler's parents made in allowing him to leave home for high school as a freshman.
Gary Geisler said his son, a former Fredericksburg Christian School student, took up lacrosse to give the family some financial relief from travel ice hockey, which Austin played earlier in his youth.
The elder Geisler didn't think Austin would excel so greatly in lacrosse.
"I had no idea what his talents were until [his coaches] told me," Gary Geisler said. "I just figured, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah. He's a good goalie.' I didn't know he would progress to where he is today."
Not many lacrosse players from the Fredericksburg area have progressed as far.
Geisler chose the Cavaliers over their Atlantic Coast Conference rival North Carolina, who also offered a full scholarship.
The Cavaliers are perennially one of the top programs in the nation and they have six national titles to show for it.
Geisler's teammate, Howie Long Jr., (son of NFL Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long), will play for Virginia next year.
"The university is pretty much synonymous with playing for national championships and being in final fours," STAB head coach Bo Perriello said. "I know that's something that drew Austin to them."
Last spring, Geisler helped lead STAB to the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association's Division I state title by converting 80 percent of his save opportunities during the playoffs.
St. Anne's-Belfield defeated Norfolk Academy for the state title.
Perriello said Geisler has all the intangibles of a big-time goalkeeper, and he could see the talent as soon as Geisler arrived on campus as a freshman. He said Geisler shows "absolutely no fear."
"I just think he has a great combination of work ethic and natural ability," Perriello said. "He's got a great temperament. He really puts his teammates at ease. But when you put him in the goal, he's just got an incredible ability to stop the ball."
Taft Coghill Jr.: 540/374-5526