Growing up Pulver

The Pulver brothers, Josh and Jake, have been playing sports together for a while now, however, that is about to change as the two will be embarking on different lacrosse paths. The two discuss their recruiting process, why they chose Syracuse and Cornell and some of their fondest memories inside.

Josh and Jake Pulver have been intertwined in sports since they could remember.

Football, believe it or not, was a big part of why the two got involved with another sport – lacrosse.

"One of our Pop Warner football coaches asked if my older brother, Josh, and I would get involved with a local youth lacrosse group," Jake said. "As a result, we learned the game of lacrosse and had the opportunity to play in some local youth tournaments. Once we started, we never stopped playing."

The Fayetteville-Manlius, N.Y. natives, both defenders, will take separate paths when it comes to their collegiate lacrosse careers. Josh is set to join Syracuse this season as part of its coveted 2013 class while Jake, a 2014 rising senior, has pledged to Cornell, a brisk, one-hour drive down 81.

A successful high school season this past year transcended the recruiting process for Josh and Jake, whom originally committed to SUNY Cortland and Sacred Heart, respectively. The Hornets went undefeated in the regular season (16-0) and made it into the Section III championship game. The brothers were the anchors that spearheaded a defense giving up just 4.6 goals a game. The state-ranked squad was garnering attention from several college coaches.

"Yes, my plan was to go to SUNY Cortland and play lacrosse for coach Beville," Josh said. "I am very appreciative to coach Beville for wanting me to be a part of his great program."

He continued, "However, ever since I was very young it has always been my dream to go to SU and play football or lacrosse at the Carrier Dome. Therefore, when the opportunity was presented to me to visit Syracuse there is no way I could say no. When I visited the campus and met with the SU coaching staff, I had no doubt where I wanted to be."

Aside from meeting Director of Operations, [Roy] Simmons and head coach [John] Desko, Josh spent most of his time with assistant coach and defensive coordinator, [Lelan] Rogers. "I could tell he would push me hard to make me a better player," Josh said. "He is into putting hard work in the weight room and I agree with that approach."

The process itself, specifically for Josh, was, in his words, "slow and frustrating."

"My injuries and their timing were devastating to my recruiting process," he said. "In addition, my body type did not fit the "typical" lacrosse player mold. I am stocky and medium height and was viewed by some to be more of a football player. Also, some coaches viewed how I played defense as too aggressive for their liking. All of these items made it difficult to be recruited early for either the Division I or Division II level."

In the words of F-M head coach Chris Kenneally, Josh was "off the radar in terms of recruiting." While he did in fact receive interest from college's heading into last summer's tournament season, those schools quickly shied away since they were unable to fully evaluate him during those months.

"Syracuse came into the picture because of the great season that our high school was having," Josh said. "We were winning some big games against some great local CNY programs."

Meanwhile, Jake's experience was the polar opposite of his older brother – "incredible and fast."

"I had a very successful and explosive spring lacrosse season with F-M," Jake said. "Coach Kenneally had me playing LSM and dropping back on defense. Towards the end of the season, I began to receive contact from multiple college lacrosse coaches."

This past June, Jake tried out and made the Upstate Under Armour All-America Underclassmen team – quite arguably, the summer's biggest lacrosse event.

"As a result of my performance during my tryout," Jake said, "even more college coaches began contacting me and wanting me to schedule unofficial visits. Top college lacrosse programs were interested in me, which is an opportunity most high school lacrosse players dream of. During discussions with both my parents and my high school coaches, they advised me to carefully consider all of my options and visit those colleges that I was truly interested in from both an academic and athletic standpoint."

With the impromptu attention, Jake kept in contact with then Sacred Heart head coach Tom Mariano and made him aware of all developing situations. During this time of unofficial visits and research, coach Mariano left to pursue his coaching career at Pace University, further solidifying Jake's decision to verbal to Cornell. He was so impressed with the Big Red that he called head coach Ben DeLuca on July 3, the day after his visit.

"We spent the whole time with [coach DeLuca]," Jake said. "He gave us a detailed campus tour and spent time talking to us about what my life at Cornell would be as both a student and a lacrosse player. We discussed the Cornell lacrosse program, his vision and how he saw me fitting into the team. He talked about my versatility and how he could use me on the field in different scenarios."

"It was like he really knew the type of player I was and what my strengths and weaknesses were. I could envision him developing me into a better, stronger player. I really liked his personality and his passion for Cornell (alumni) and their lacrosse program. I really liked everything about the campus and its proximity to Manlius, too. Like I said, I knew when I was there it was the place for me."

Jake considered Yale, Bryant, Syracuse, Harvard, Brown and Holy Cross in the process.

Although Josh and Jake have chosen different lacrosse paths, it's the memories of playing together that really stand out to them.

"With Josh and I being so close in age and sharing the same interests," Jake said, "it seems like we have always been together. In addition to playing defense together in lacrosse, we also were alongside each other on the football field as linebackers. We are close and work very well together and have a great chemistry. We have different styles, both effective, that complement one another."

Josh, too, notes that he will never forget playing lacrosse alongside his brother and long-time friends since they were young, coach Kenneally's pump-up speeches before big games and playing in the championship game in the Carrier Dome.

"Although it was unfortunate that we lost the game," Josh said, "it was an incredible experience that I will not forget. This was also memorable because it would be the last time I would be on the field playing with my brother."

"In regards to Josh and I being rivals in a couple years," Jake said, "I don't think it will be anything new really, as we still competed with each other while being teammates. You see part of what makes us the players that we are is our competitiveness. My family has always been very competitive with one another, and that makes you better. Yes, it would be great if we were on the same team but we both knew that we had to make our decisions independent of each other."

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