Choosing what sport to play growing up can be a difficult decision for any kid. The choice is infinitely more difficult when your dad is the junior varsity baseball coach and you choose lacrosse.
This was junior Brian Scheetz’s dilemma as he grew up.
He began playing lacrosse in kindergarten, but he also played baseball. For a while he could do both, but once organized leagues began, one of them had to go because both are played in the spring.
“In fifth grade I had to pick,” said Scheetz. “It was a tough decision because I was the ball boy for the baseball team, but baseball wasn’t fast enough for me.”
A slow, pitch-by-pitch game was not what Scheetz was looking for, even in fifth grade. He wanted to run up and down the field with the ball in his hands.
Even so, lacrosse wasn’t the only fast sport he played prior to his collegiate career. Scheetz played football and basketball throughout high school, along with lacrosse. He was captain of each team his senior year. This was a characteristic that Mercyhurst men’s lacrosse coach Chris Ryan loved about Scheetz.
“I could tell he was going to have a pretty quick impact on the team as a freshman,” Ryan said.
After earning accolades in all three sports, Scheetz chose lacrosse full time for college. But the other sports helped Scheetz on the lacrosse field as well.
“Basketball has a lot of similar defenses, and the lanes are similar,” said Scheetz. “Football helped from being a team game and talking to your teammates.”
Time management was not going to be an issue for Scheetz as his only major adjustment was playing one sport all the time, instead of three different sports. The mental transition to full-time collegiate lacrosse was a natural transition.
Scheetz’s experience and leadership led to an explosive first season in Erie.
He led the team with 61 points as a freshman, but his impact wasn’t a surprise to the coaching staff.
“He was one of very few freshmen in the program’s history that we handed the ball to day one as a freshman,” said Ryan. “We knew early on he was going to be a good lacrosse player.”
Good is an understatement when describing Scheetz.
In only his junior season, Scheetz has already secured the university’s all-time record for assists in a career with 90. He is on pace to break the school record for points in a career. So far, he has 152 points, only three away from the record. With these records, it is easy to forget he still has one full season left to go.
Even with all the accolades and attention, Scheetz is still focused on the current season and helping the younger players.
“I prefer to stay quiet and let my play speak, but I will definitely speak up if I have to,” said Scheetz. “This year I tried to take a bigger leadership role.”
Scheetz is still progressing as a lacrosse player, even though it seems he can do just about anything.
“I am more confident in big games now,” said Scheetz. “My first two years I was a little shaky, but this year I’m more experienced so I am more even keel.”
After watching Scheetz play for almost three full seasons, Ryan is very pleased with his progression.
“He is a fully mature lacrosse player and on his way to becoming a complete player,” said Ryan. “He has a high lacrosse IQ, and we have a high level of confidence in him.”
One unexpected aspect of Scheetz’s game is that he puts up spectacular numbers despite being the shortest player on the team.
“Although he is only 5 foot 7 inches, he has tremendous athletic ability,” said Ryan. “I would say he is arguably, pound-for-pound the strongest guy on the team.”
Despite his time and effort being focused on the lacrosse field, Scheetz also excels in the classroom.
“He is over a 3.0 in the classroom and mature,” said Ryan. “He is a pretty good example of what it means to be a student-athlete.”
Scheetz’s hard work in the classroom has led to good grades and his work on the field to a National Championship. With continued dedication, Scheetz and the Lakers could be headed for another title.