PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (WDVM) – “Work hard and control what you can control.” That was always the message that Tucker Almany’s parents preached to him growing up.

When Almany was recruited out of St. James School in Hagerstown, Md. to play lacrosse at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pa., there was the likelihood that he would replace an outgoing senior goalie and get quality minutes as an underclassmen.

Never did he think he would have to compete for the starting spot against one of the top netminders in the country.

“Mike and I were probably…he was my best friend on the team,” said Almany.

St. Joe’s recruited top goalie prospect, Mike Adler, in Almany’s freshman year and named him the starter.

“As a competitor, you always want to be around people that are better than you or make you better,” said Almany. “It was pretty obvious that [Adler] was talented, and for me, I didn’t have a grudge against him, because I knew he was really good but I just had to keep working hard and he was making me work hard.”

It wasn’t always easy for Almany though, and many college athletes in his position would have transferred to get more playing time.

“I definitely had that conversation with my parents,” admitted Almany. “But the way I looked at it was that if you go down the list of everything that you want in a school – like the academics were perfect for me, the location was perfect, all my friends on the team were great, the coaches were awesome – it was literally just that one last piece was the playing time.”

That last missing piece seemed to be in reach when Adler decided to take his talents to Duke for his extra year of eligibility, leaving the starting spot wide open for Almany in his senior season.

Then in comes a new recruit – this time, Jack Zullo, a transfer from Notre Dame.

Zullo was named the starter at the beginning of the season but the Hawks opened up with an 0-3 record and Almany was then given the nod in net.

Since then, the Hawks have been perfect, going 6-0 in conference play.

“It’s been awesome this year to have the success that I’ve had with everything that I’ve been through with being behind Mike for so long, but the best part I think has been the fact that we’re having so much success as a team.”

That early message of hard work has proven to hold true, and it’s a message that Almany will continue to live by after he’s played his last collegiate lacrosse game.

“When you get out of college, you might not get the job that you want or you might not be in the position that you want, but if you just keep working and doing what you’re supposed to be doing, then eventually you’re going to get where you want to be.”