Minutemen Rely On Reid
May 11, 2006
By DICK BAKER
"I was just out of high school, and I knew absolutely nothing (about playing college lacrosse)," Krygier recalled. "And he didn't have a problem letting me know that. I couldn't understand why he was screaming so much at me."
Now Krygier understands. On a team whose history boasts of "Garber's Gorillas" 40 years ago, Reid is this edition's King Kong. He is feared by his opponents, respected by his teammates. The senior captain, a two-time All-American, is a leading candidate to win the Schmeisser Award as the nation's top Division I defenseman. He is always assigned to the opponent's best attacker, and has allowed those stars only three goals over the last eight games as the Minutemen prepare for tomorrow's NCAA tournament first-round game at Cornell.
Krygier listens with less fear now when the calmer Reid takes time in practice to stop and tell him what he's doing well and offers some tips.
UMass coach Greg Cannella says that Reid's "tough love" with Krygier last year was probably the result of seeing something in him that could be developed.
"If he didn't think Sean had potential, he wouldn't have bothered," Cannella said. "Fortunately, Sean was strong enough to take it. And I think deep in his mind Jack knew Sean would be playing alongside him as only a sophomore."
Cannella sums Reid up this way:
"Tenacious, athletic, strong, and determined. Wrap that together, and he's one of the best character guys we've ever had. Beyond his abilities are the intangibles. He's a great person. It takes a special person to be in a position like him and have everyone like him. He cares more about how the team does, not how Jack Reid does."
When Reid held Austin Rodgers of Rutgers scoreless last Saturday, it was the fifth time in six games he had blanked the man he defended. And the Minutemen don't provide Reid any help to double-team the most difficult attackers.
"And it's not because I'm so good," Reid said. "But we figure if they get 1 or 2 goals on me that's better than having someone feeding passes for 3 or 4 goals to someone else."
UMass was fortunate to land Reid because the family tree indicated otherwise. His father was a lacrosse player at Yale University, and his grandfather played football at Yale. The youngest of four boys, Jack, a native of nearby Glastonbury, Conn., could have been pressed to keep up such a lofty tradition, but his father never pushed him. He was, however, being pushed by other top lacrosse schools.
"Jack took a bit of a gamble coming here, he had Virginia and Syracuse, and a couple of other big schools looking at him," Cannella said. "And when he got here, he played with people like Tom Fallon (defender, 2000-03), and Jack saw what he is now, an unselfish character player."
In Reid's freshman year, Cannella got a sneak preview of things to come. Fallon was injured for a big game at Hofstra, and Reid was given his first collegiate start.
"An attacker on the ride bounced off him, and Jack got the ball, ran up the field and cleared it," Cannella recalled. "He made it look effortless. At that point, we knew we had a tremendous player here."
Reid has his rituals on game day.
"I like to hide behind my sunglasses, and listen to music," he said. "I put on my clothes on in the same order all the time. I put on my eye black before I stretch."
And then he goes out and hits.
"My game is at its best when I can be physical," said Reid, who also played football in high school.
He doesn't let up if the opponent shows a fraction of fear.
"If there's even a hint of intimidation, he's the type of guy who'll pile on," Cannella added with a smile.
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