Westminster's Jason Holman returned this season from a junior year at Boys' Latin, where he played with and against some of the best lacrosse players in the country. He wanted to spend his senior year with his friends and eliminate a brutal commute to Baltimore.
His skills honed more sharply after a season of top competition, the UMBC-bound Holman has contributed mightily to Westminster's 8-4 season, picking up where he left off after his sophomore year at Westminster when he led the Owls to the state final four.
The 5-foot-8, 160-pound midfielder, who started his freshman season for the Owls, has 23 goals and 20 assists, but his value can't be summed up by statistics. He often makes the big run down the field and feeds the man who then feeds the scorer, thus getting no statistical credit for his work.
Coach Jim Peters understands Holman's real value. "He was an impact player here for two years, and then he went away and our offense was devastated that year," Peters said. "His transition between the lines is incredible. He's really a multi-dimensional player. This year we're scoring into the teens because of him."
How feared is Holman by opposing teams?
Peters said that Francis Scott Key slid four of six guys on him whenever he moved toward the goal. "And that was fine with us because he'd just as soon take an assist as long as we win."
Opponents often play zone defenses to stop Westminster's dodging ability, and they put a long stick defenseman on Holman.
Holman nurtured his love for lacrosse in the Gamber-Smallwood recreational league, starting at age 8.
"I watched him play rec in the eighth grade at Gamber and thought that he'd spend no time on our junior varsity," Davis said. "I grabbed him his freshman year."
Holman also played soccer since he was 4, and was All-County in both soccer and lacrosse his sophomore year, but lacrosse gradually won out as No. 1.
"Soccer is low-scoring and I like the higher scoring of lacrosse," Holman said.
He scored 28 goals and had 30 assists his freshman season, 30 goals and 32 assists his sophomore season, and 10 goals and 10 assists while starting at Boys' Latin.
He had one uncle who played lacrosse at Hopkins in the early 1980s, and another uncle who played for Navy in the late 1970s, so the sport runs in the family - even if his father was a baseball player, a sport Jason said was too boring for him.
Holman has played at the Top 205 Camp at Loyola College the past two summers and made the All-Star team last summer. The camp is considered one of the best in the country.
He also played for the Maryland Bay State All-Star team last summer when Maryland defeated Long Island. He scored one goal and called it "a great experience."
After the disappointment of losing the county title last Friday, things are looking up for Holman this week. Monday he learned that he was selected to play in the Maryland Coaches All-Star Game at Loyola College. The same day he learned he's one of three finalists for a spot on the United States regional team that will play in Massachusetts.
Holman hopes the good news continues this week, because the Owls begin their playoff odyssey today against Northwestern in Baltimore City.
Holman, who has a 3.25 grade-point average, said he chose to attend UMBC after being recruited by Navy, Hobart and Denver, because he likes the run-and-gun style and the head coach. UMBC offered him a partial scholarship.
"UMBC is a good fit for him because they have a great coach and other county kids have done well there," Davis said.
Currently, two former South Carroll players are performing as freshmen for UMBC, Jesse Burford and Dan Stansbury.