When Loyola closed out its season with a second consecutive section championship last month, it also closed out the high school career of goalie Joe Theuer, one of the most decorated players in L.A. lacrosse history.
A four-year starter for the Cubs, Theuer graduates as a:
- Four-time All-Mission League selection, including Player of the Year honors this year;
- Three-time Greater LA US Lacrosse All-American, only the second player to achieve that triple honor;
- Three-time Loyola team MVP;
- Two-time US Lacrosse Southern Section champion and four-time playoff qualifier.
Theuer will play next year at NCAA Division III Tufts University outside Boston, and it’s probably safe to say that Loyola’s Mission League rivals — and many other LA-area programs — are happy to see him go. The Cubs allowed an average of only 6.7 goals per game during Theuer’s career in going 71-17 overall, 31-3 in the Mission League.
— Loyola Lacrosse (@LoyolaLax) May 22, 2017
While he certainly had help — at least eight Class of 2017 Cubs seniors will play NCAA lacrosse next year, four at the Division I level — one constant for the Cubs has been Theuer in cage. He finished his career with what is believed to be a state record 760 saves.
As Mike Loveday wrote on LaxRecords.com: “Theuer made 30 saves in the final two games of his high school career, and both games won the Cubs championships. The Tufts commit made 24 saves in an 11-5 win over Palos Verdes to win the LA Championship. He followed that up with six saves in a 13-4 win over Foothill. … Theuer finished his career with 760 saves — the most known in California history.”
According to Loveday’s research, the previous known California leader in career saves was Matt Sandoval of Fallbrook, who recorded 747 saves from 2011-2014.
As he begins to look ahead to college and a new lacrosse experience, MaxLax asked Theuer to reflect on his high school journey. He answered questions via email.
What were your expectations when you arrived at Loyola as a freshman?
Joe Theuer: “Coming in, I didn’t expect it to be anything close to what it turned out to be. I knew we had a good incoming class of freshmen, but I didn’t really expect to play that much my freshman year. In my first game, I didn’t really understand the dynamics of high school lacrosse. I assumed I’d be splitting time with the other goalie on the team, because that’s what I’d been doing in club lacrosse. But then they told me to go back in for the second half. I guess that speaks to how oblivious I was my freshman year.”
What was the high point of your Loyola career?
Joe Theuer: “Beating Palos Verdes in overtime last year to win our first LA Championship. We were the underdog going into that game, and it had been close all game. At that point my nerves were pretty much shredded, and for it come down to a sudden-death ending and see all my friends storm the field was amazing to say the least.”
What was the low point? (And how did you respond?)
Joe Theuer: “Losing to Crespi in OT in the quarterfinals my sophomore year. We had beaten them twice earlier in the year, and beating a team three times in a row is always a challenge.
“In the moment, I responded by breaking my stick against the goal, but in the long run I responded by vowing to myself to never let mental weakness overcome me and by carrying the anger of this loss with me for the rest of my career. Not to mention that this game was on my birthday.” [For the record, Loyola went 41-8 and won two section titles in the two seasons following that OT heartbreaker.]
What will you take with you from your Loyola lacrosse experience?
Joe Theuer: “I believe I will always carry the discipline that I’ve developed from my career at Loyola. This discipline helped me become the player I am today, and it even affects my everyday life by helping me form habits that allow me to become a better student and person. Also, I hope that I’ll be able to keep the friends that I’ve made from lacrosse forever.”
What are you looking forward to at Tufts?
Joe Theuer: “I’m looking forward to all of the new friends that Tufts will introduce me to, as well as being able to play lacrosse at a high level. My love for the game is undying, and I’m blessed to be able to call Tufts my new home after such a crazy run at Loyola. Also, I’d love to have the chance to win a national championship at Tufts as a capstone to my lacrosse career.”