UA grad proves he's a keeper
When Cory Nyeste signed on to be an intern for the Charlotte Hounds, the 2006 Upper Arlington High School graduate was ready to do just about anything for the Major League Lacrosse expansion team.
"My primary focus has been on ticket sales and box office operations, but I basically do whatever needs to be done," he said. "It can be different on any given day."
Recently, the word different took on a new meaning for Nyeste.
In addition to his daily internship duties, Nyeste was added to the team's practice squad as a goalkeeper behind Adam Ghitelman, Joe Marra and Mark Manos. Nyeste still hasn't received any playing time for the Hounds, who were 3-7 after losing to Denver 21-7 on July 14, but he's relishing the opportunity.
"Cory told me it's like a dream come true," UA boys lacrosse coach Ted Wolford said. "He was excited to work in the field of lacrosse down there. Now he's gotten the chance to play in practice. He's thrilled to have that opportunity."
Nyeste, who has been playing lacrosse since he was 10, said growing up in UA helped prepare him for his work with the Hounds.
"Playing at Jones (Middle School) all the way through high school, we had a bunch of success," he said. "I credit much of the success I have had in lacrosse to UA and especially to coach Wolford."
As a senior at UA, Nyeste (177 saves, .691 save percentage) was first-team all-MSLCA, all-region and all-state and was named the state's Goalkeeper of the Year while leading the Golden Bears to a 20-1 record and the Division I state championship.
Nyeste had the opportunity to play collegiate lacrosse at schools including Bryant, Bucknell and Butler, but he decided to focus on academics and play club lacrosse at Ohio University from 2007-10 while majoring in marketing.
After serving as an assistant coach for UA during the 2011 season, Nyeste packed up his goalkeeper's gear and traveled to North Carolina, hoping to get a chance to earn a spot on the Hounds' roster.
When he arrived in Charlotte, Nyeste learned the Hounds had decided against having open tryouts. He applied for the internship position in the club's front office, but never gave up his dream of playing for the team.
"He kept bugging them, saying, 'Hey, I'm a goalkeeper, too. If you ever need someone to sub or fill in a practice or something, I'd be happy to do so,'" Wolford said.
Like most MLL teams, the Hounds only practice on the Friday before a game.
Nyeste's big break came June 15, five days before his 25th birthday. Marra was sidelined with a concussion and Ghitelman had to miss practice for personal reasons.
"(With two of our three goalkeepers out) we couldn't even have a full practice," Nyeste said. "(Coach Mike Cerino) asked me if I could do the team a favor and fill in at goalkeeper for the time being.
"I was ecstatic. They knew how badly I wanted to play and I kept my equipment down here just in case."
Nyeste was tested in warm-ups by Matt Danowski, the NCAA men's lacrosse Player of the Year in 2007 at Duke, and came up with four saves at the start of practice.
"I don't know if I impressed them enough or turned some people's heads, but they asked me to stay on. Now I work in the front office by day and practice with the team on Fridays," said Nyeste, who also is hoping to work for the Hounds after his internship ends.
"It's been so cool. I remember watching Danowski play when I was in high school. It's been sort of surreal playing with the guys I used to watch and getting to know them as people."