Sam Cordish has come a long way since he joined the Park School of Baltimore’s lacrosse team as an unassuming freshman more than three years ago.
The 6-foot, 160-pound senior goalie worked hard to get a chance to showcase his talent, cracking the Bruins’ starting lineup as the No. 1 goalie after playing sparingly his first two seasons.
“To see him kind of go through this journey, it’s been such an interesting time for him,” Park head coach Josh Davey said. “He’s put in a lot of hard work, and he’s really busted his butt to put himself in a great position to play beyond high school.”
In mid-October, Cordish, who also plays for the Greene Turtle Lacrosse Club of Towson, announced his next step, making a commitment to play for the University of Pennsylvania next season.
A touted recruit, Cordish said he held one offer from perennial national title contender Johns Hopkins University. He also drew the attention of Division I powers University of Notre Dame and University of Richmond and Division III schools Dickinson College and Franklin & Marshall College, both in Pennsylvania.
Cordish had a good feeling about Penn from the start of the recruiting process with head coach Mike Murphy at the forefront of Cordish’s longing to play for the Quakers.
“Having met with the coaches a few times, I loved them, and [they] were definitely people I wanted to play for in college,” Cordish said. “The school itself has great academics, which is something I was looking for.”
Because Ivy League schools do not offer athletic scholar ships and Cordish has not formally been admitted to Penn, NCAA rules prohibit coaches from speaking about commits.
Cordish, son of The Cordish Companies vice president Jonathan Cordish, comes from a bloodline with a longstanding tradition of dominance in the sport.
His grandfather, David Cordish, CEO and chairman of The Cordish Companies, was a three-year letter player at Johns Hopkins who helped lead the Blue Jays to the 1959 national title. The Cordish Lacrosse Center, home to the men’s and women’s lacrosse programs at Johns Hopkins, is named after David Cordish, who was the principal donor for the $10 million project.
He’s put in a lot of hard work, and he’s really busted his butt to put himself in a position to play beyond high school.
— Josh Davey, head coach of Park
Sam Cordish’s uncle, who shares the same first name, lined up in between the pipes at Penn and was an All-Ivy League performer.
“I think having a relationship with someone who cares about him as much his family does has been big for Sam,” said Jonathan Cordish, who played two years on Penn’s men’s tennis team. “To know what it’s like to be an athlete at a high level has been very instrumental in Sam’s nurturing on and off the field.”
Last season alone, Sam Cordish led Park to an 8-5 record, notching 116 saves to go with 13 grounds. With Cordish serving as the last line of defense, the Bruins’ defense was one of the best in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference, holding six of 13 opponents to five goals or fewer.
Davey said Cordish’s work ethic in the weight room and classroom — Cordish is a lacrosse team captain — have propelled the goaltender to provide leadership for Park’s younger players.
“I think on and off the field, Sam is going to go as far as Sam wants to go,” Davey said. “If he continues to work as hard as I’ve seen him work, there’s no limit to where he can go. The possibilities are endless for him, because he’s one of those kids that when he puts his mind on something, I would say there’s nothing he can’t do.”
Cordish has also actively combined his lacrosse acumen with his Jewish identity. A two-time Maccabi Games participant, Cordish led Team Baltimore to a gold medal in the Under-16 seven-on-seven tournament in 2013, the first year lacrosse was a part of the Games.
He has also volunteered with Charm City Youth Lacrosse, passing on his lacrosse knowledge to underserved kids in Baltimore City.
“He might not be the most vocal leader on the lacrosse field,” Dia Clark, the boys’ director of athletics at Park and an assistant coach for the lacrosse team, said. “But people take notice of what he does. He seems very mature for his age and is one of the nicest people anyone will ever meet. Sometimes, I think it gets lost that Sam is not a man of many words, but he is always there for his classmates and teammates.”
Pleased with his college decision and having it behind him, Cordish is looking forward to putting together a banner senior season.
The Bruins expect to contend in the highly competitive MIAA B Conference and are hungry to capture their first league postseason championship since winning it all in 2005.
“I want us to do better this year, of course,” Cordish said, “and I think with another year of experience, we will be even better. For me, I just want to continue improving my game and leadership skills and be someone the younger guys on the team can look up to.”