After graduating from Walkersville High School in Frederick County and enrolling at Loyola, Brian Schultz did not have any preconceived notions about his status or playing time.
“I came from a small school, and I didn’t have too many expectations,” he recalled. “I didn’t think I was going to be an immediate impact player, and I knew that coming into Loyola. I knew it was an opportunity to play at the highest level, and that was what I wanted.”
Schultz, however, has shed those reservations in an emphatic way. In his first year as a starting attackman, Schultz ranks second on the top-ranked Greyhounds (11-1 overall and 7-0 in the Patriot League) in goals with 21 and third in points with 31.
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Schultz, a senior, is enjoying his finest season after amassing eight points on three goals and five assists in 2012 and 2013. But even coach Charley Toomey admitted that he and his colleagues on the coaching staff could not have anticipated this from Schultz.
“He hadn’t had a lot of minutes,” Toomey said. “His minutes had really been on extra-man prior to this year. So we had our fingers crossed with Brian, and I think the chemistry that Brian and [senior attackman] Justin [Ward] have and continue to have has put him in positions to succeed. If Justin can get him the ball in good spots, Brian does a good job of finishing his shots. It’s that simple. We haven’t asked a ton of Brian, but what we have asked of him, he’s run through that front door for us.”
Schultz’s opportunity arose after sophomore Zach Herreweyers, who was penciled in as the third attackman next to Ward (Old Mill) and junior Nikko Pontrello, was ruled academically ineligible prior to the start of the season. Schultz, who was already running with the midfield, said the transition went smoothly due to his familiarity with the offense.
“I was pretty confident that if the coaches thought it was my time to step up, I’d do just fine,” he said. “I’ve been playing with Justin forever [as members of the Rough Riders Lacrosse Club in Howard County], and I’ve been playing with Nikko for the last three years. So just being in the right spots and knowing the offense pretty well has actually put me in a good spot to help out. I think I anticipated playing well, but it’s always nice to get that reassurance.”
As pleased as he has been with his individual numbers, Schultz said he has taken more joy out of his ability to contribute to Loyola’s run to the Patriot League regular-season title and the top seed in the upcoming conference tournament.
“The team is doing well, and I’m glad to be in a position where I can help out with getting some of these wins now,” he said. “In years past, I was getting onto the field a little bit and helping, but this year is my first season starting and it’s been a lot of fun to be a senior, step up, and help the team out.”