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by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
If you happen to glance at Tyler Zickel, you may not want to stare at him for too long.
His scowl can be rather intimidating.
But don't let his menacing stare frighten you.
The standout Hudson senior goalkeeper has a lighter side.
"All the kids like him," longtime Explorers' head boys lacrosse coach David Blue said. "They know Tyler has their backs. They will play a lot harder for him."
That surely won't change when he heads to Beantown.
Zickel recently signed a national letter of intent to continue his academic and lacrosse careers at Boston University, which will have its first men's lacrosse team in school history next spring. Zickel, who was named the state goalkeeper of the year in 2011 after guiding Hudson to its first state title, welcomes such a challenge.
"It was a good fit," Zickel said. "It's a big university and I like the idea of starting a program. I want to help the program build a foundation."
Zickel, who helped Hudson reach the Division I state semifinals in 2012, originally committed to Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.
But he recently changed his mind. His teammates and coaches at Boston University are glad he did.
"Tyler has continued a long run of very good goalies in our program over the last 10 years," Blue said. "He can compete for a spot right away."
Now that Zickel has decided his future, he can enjoy the final six months of high school. Before he graduates, though, Zickel wants to add another trophy to his collection.
"I want to win another state championship," he said.
If the Explorers do this, their goalkeeper is expected to play a major role.
"It's his time to be a leader," Blue said. "He makes a lot of saves and throws good outlet passes."
Zickel learned a thing or two about leadership from a couple of his former teammates, who were All-Americans in 2011.
"I followed guys like Cooper [Charlton] and Robby [Lynott]," he said. "They motivated me to be successful."
Blue has no doubt Zickel will succeed on the collegiate level. But he also knows the road only gets tougher.
"He has a lot of upside," Blue said. "Goalkeeper is such a hard position to play in college. You will have guys who are shooting at the cage from small windows. But the good thing is Tyler has seen a lot of higher-level shots in high school."
Despite Boston University's lack of experience in lacrosse, Zickel won't accept any excuses. He wants to win now.
"It might be tough at first, but I like the challenge," Zickel said. "I think we can be pretty solid."