From junior college to Rutgers: Max Edelmann's rise to national elite status

There’s nothing quite like being a lacrosse goalkeeper.

Picture yourself standing in front of a net for 60 minutes, tasked with keeping lacrosse balls from getting past you by throwing your body — and stick — directly in the path of 40 shots per game, each traveling at 90 miles per hour. 

That’s just a normal day at the office for fifth-year senior goalie Max Edelmann, who has cemented his status as one of the best goalkeepers in college lacrosse this season. In nine games this season, Edelmann is averaging 15.5 saves per game and is saving 60% of shots faced.

Edelmann’s story begins on the campus of the Community College of Baltimore County, where he spent the first two years of his collegiate career playing junior college lacrosse. When it came time to transfer, Edelmann committed to transfer to the Rutgers men's lacrosse team, finding a home for himself very quickly.

“Making the transition from junior college to Division I lacrosse was a challenge, especially in the Big Ten,” Edelmann said. “But we had good leadership from guys like Scott Bieda and Jules Heningburg, and it was awesome to have the guys be so helpful and welcoming once I joined the program.”

Another critical figure in Edelmann’s development was the coaching staff at Rutgers, and he cited head coach Brian Brecht as a “role model” to look toward for guidance throughout his career.

“Coach Brecht has been there every step of the way, whether it’s on or off the field, he’s been there for every aspect of our lives,” Edelmann said. “(Whether it’s) professional development in the classroom or just leading us on the field, he has had a great influence on my life.”

This is Edelmann’s third season as the starting option between the pipes for the No. 19 Scarlet Knights (6-6, 1-2), and that experience has earned him a valuable role as a mentor for the rest of the defense. 

In addition to being an elite shot-stopper, Edelmann thrives at communicating with his defensive line, filling a role as a vocal leader who keeps the backline focused on staying aggressive, causing turnovers and collecting ground balls. 

The season started out rough for Edelmann, who missed the first two games of the season with an injury. Rutgers got an unexpected preview of life after Edelmann, and true freshman goalie Ben Pounds got the start between the pipes against Lafayette and St. John’s. 

While sidelined, Edelmann remained an active leader for the team.

“I just told (Pounds) to play his game and be comfortable, and whenever I could find little pointers that I could help out with, (I told him),” Edelmann said. “He stepped up, he got us two very big wins and I was very proud of him.”

While Edelmann is currently focused on bringing Rutgers to the Big Ten Tournament next month, he’s also getting ready for life after lacrosse. As a graduate student in Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, Edelmann is pursuing a career in human resources after graduation, and has an internship this summer with IBM.

While his playing career may soon be coming to an end, it’s clear that the game that has given Edelmann everything will still be a big part of his life after graduation.

“I’m always going to have lacrosse in my life, whether it’s coaching, playing or just getting involved in the community, I think the game is growing a lot now," Edelmann said. "And wherever I can be and whatever (my role) may be, I’m going to keep it in my life.”

For updates on the Rutgers men's lacrosse team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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