Injuries didn't hurt Boys' Latin graduate's path to Final Four
By Nelson Coffin
May 27, 2016 | 3:34 PM
Counting the spate of injuries that have plagued Jeff Chase's career on the lacrosse field won't require a calculator.
Still, it's not exactly a simple task to tabulate the hurting-and-healing cycle of the Loyola University Maryland midfielder completing his fifth year on the Evergreen campus.
Add three torn anterior cruciate ligaments (ACLs) to a labrum tear in each shoulder, and it's easy to see why Chase might think he's sustained more than his share of medical issues since they first reared their ugly heads while he was a star for legendary coach Bob Shriver at Boys' Latin.
He was also a talented football running back at BL when the first injury cropped up.
Along the way, a variety of minor lumps and bruises have also taken their toll on the marketing graduate student with a year of playing eligibility left after qualifying for a pair of NCAA-approved medical redshirt years.
This season was a banner one for the Greyhounds that resulted in their second trip to the Division I championship weekend since 2012, joining the universities of Maryland and North Carolina and Brown University at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field for the showdown.
While the Greyhounds won the national title by handling the Terps four years ago, Chase was a medical redshirt. He also missed the entire 2015 campaign.
"He just has a wonderful presence," said Loyola Maryland junior attackman Zack Sirico. "To see what he's overcome is impressive. He just has this will to keep coming back."
Running on the second midfield unit with sophomore Jay Drapeau and freshman John Duffy, Chase played in the first 17 games this spring scoring five goals and adding two assists as the Greyhouhds posted a 14-3 record.
"They call me 'Dad,' " said Chase alluding to his status as one of only two Greyhounds — redshirt senior longstick David Manning is the other — around for the last title run. "Even coach (fellow BL grad Charley Toomey) calls me an old man."
While age is not really a factor for Chase, the experience he gained by being with the team in the 2012 postseason is definitely something he can share with his current teammates.
"I'm helping them learn from my mistakes," he said. "When we went to Ohio State (for a 10-8 win over Towson University in a national quarterfinal), the guys were pretty tense. I told them deep down inside, it's just like any other game and that it's not as different as you think."
Chase did caution the Greyhounds, however, that there are differences that need to be addressed.
"It's a business trip, but there's a lot that goes with it," he said. "You're playing in an NFL stadium, and it's like the Wimbledon or Kentucky Derby for our sport. David and I bring a certain level of understanding to the younger guys, so I think that helps."
While being tabbed as an Under Armour All-America midfielder coming out of BL, Chase's battle with balky joints has cut into an ability to produce overwhelming numbers for Toomey's club.
"The biggest thing for Jeff is what he brings to the locker room," the coach said. "He handles adversity just the way you would expect from a great leader. Our program is better because Jeff is on our team."