Spencer Wood (ADVNC SF 2020)

Playing goalie in lacrosse takes a unique mindset. It requires a special blend of fearlessness, toughness, and a dash of what some might affectionately refer to as “craziness” to stand inside the crease, while players fire shots at you repeatedly, day after day.

Whatever that special blend is, ADVNC San Francisco ‘20 Goalie Spencer Wood has it. He played catcher in baseball and goalie in soccer as a kid before he ever stepped inside a lacrosse crease in 7th grade. Spencer credits that background for making him feel at ease when he first strapped on the lacrosse goalie gear. “It didn’t seem crazy at first,” he said. “It seemed like a good fit for me. The communication was the same as in soccer and the physical skills were the same as stopping balls as a catcher in baseball.”

Wood began playing for ADVNC in 9th grade

Wood began playing for ADVNC in 9th grade

Spencer played box lacrosse before he played the outdoor game. He recalls that it was love at first sight with both lacrosse and the goalie position.  “It felt right,” he said. “I thought, ‘this is what I should be doing.’”

His father Brian Wood agreed, “He didn’t mind being the last person defending the net. He would always think: ‘I want to be the last guy standing there. If I stop it .. great!  If not, then my defense broke down.’ It is a unique mindset. For him to quickly forget about goals and move onto the next play is something I’ve always been proud of.”

His mom, Gina Wood remembers seeing her young son playing goalie for the first time and having quite a different experience than her son and husband. “I thought it was unnatural that he always had to throw himself in front of the ball,” she said. But as she watched him play more, her anxiety quickly eased. “It didn’t worry me for long, because he was so natural and confident with it.”

Spencer wanted to take his game to another level when he tried out for the ADVNC Select Team entering his freshman year. He quickly entrenched himself on the team and became a 3 year starter in net. He also forged strong friendships with his defenders. “My closest friendships on the team have been with my poles,” Spencer said. “It’s a mutually beneficial relationship on the field…  they protect me, and I protect the goal.” 

Wood is a standout goalie for the Saint Francis Lancers in Mountain View, CA

Wood is a standout goalie for the Saint Francis Lancers in Mountain View, CA

The on the field friendship became a close off the field relationship as well. Spencer said, “I’ve had a really good time playing for ADVNC. Our team chemistry has been unreal. We’ve spent as much time with each other as we could. We’ve shared so many memories.”

Brian filled a key role on the team as well.. ‘team dad.’ “Every coach needs a parent in that role so the other parents have someone to go to,” said Brian. “I really enjoyed it and I miss it now that it’s gone. It’s been a way for me to be involved with Spencer as much as I can and hang onto him as long as possible. I know things will change when he goes to college.”

Ah yes .. college. Spencer is committed to play at prestigious Bates College in the NESCAC in Maine next Fall, having made that decision this past July. Brian says, “It was a long process. We visited as many colleges as we could on our east coast visits with ADVNC. We visited over 50 schools in the last 2 or 3 years.”

The recruiting process was enjoyable for Spencer, “because it was my process,” he said. “It was cool to make my own trail and figure out where I wanted to go.”

“He owned this process,” said Brian. “We (Gina and I) didn’t do anything. Spencer did all the work. He put his highlight tapes together, he created his own recruiting website, he interacted with the coaches. He did it on his own and he should feel great about it.”  

“He’s always known the path that he wanted to take,” said Gina. “Spencer is a quiet leader and processes things in his head then comes up with an answer and then shares it with you. He puts a lot of thought into things. He knew what he wanted.”

Bates College is about as far away from the Bay Area as possible. But choosing a small, liberal arts college in faraway rural Maine fits Spencer’s personality. “He’s always been a traveler and adventurer,” said Gina. “He always wants to explore and find something new.”


Wood was drawn to lacrosse at an early age.

Wood was drawn to lacrosse at an early age.

 “I’m a nerdy kid,” said Spencer. “I enjoy history and science. It’s always cool to go back East and visit historical monuments. Most kids my age wouldn’t want to go to places like Valley Forge or the Freedom Trail in Boston. But it’s always cool to see history come alive. Coach Lasagna (Bates College Head Lacrosse Coach) encourages his players to study abroad. That wasn’t something I had the option for at other schools. That stood out to me, and I think that will really help me in the future.”

Choosing a college based on what it can do for his future fits squarely into Spencer Wood’s mentality. “I have a motto written inside my lacrosse helmet on tape.. ‘the best is yet to come,’” said Spencer. “I wrote that on my throat guard. That’s my mentality. The best hasn’t happened yet.” 

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