Casey Rees has been going full-bore pretty much since September, and the senior midfielder for the Navy men’s lacrosse team has shown practically no ill effects from the torn ACL he suffered in a fall workout in 2016 that sidelined him for the entire 2017 season.
But that has not stopped coach Rick Sowell from checking on the Sykesville resident and Boys’ Latin graduate.
“I’m constantly asking him how he’s feeling,” Sowell said half-jokingly. “He came back in September, and he got over it being his first time back. They say that after surgery, just getting over that mental hurdle, knowing that you can plant and cut and do all those things that you were able to do. He probably practiced 85 percent of the time in the fall. He would be fine. He would say, ‘Coach, I’m good. I’m kind of sore, but it’s that good sore.’ He was in excellent shape. He just needed to get into that lacrosse shape with the cutting and the moving and getting hit. He wore the knee brace, and that gave me a lot of comfort. But he went through all of that in fall ball. That being said, I’m still checking in with him and asking how he’s feeling.”
Rees was poised to be a key piece of the Midshipmen’s offense after scoring 34 goals and three assists in 2016. The 34 goals ranked as the third-highest total in program history by a midfielder and the most since Brian Keith set the record of 41 in 1989.
Instead, Rees was relegated to the sideline, and Navy finished 2017 tied for 47th in scoring after averaging 9.4 goals.
Rees has returned to the first midfield where he will be flanked by juniors Greyson Torain (23 goals, 15 assists in 2017) and Ryan Wade (13 G, 25 A). Sowell said it should not be a stretch to anticipate that Rees mights exceed his output from two years ago.
“I think he’s ready to go,” Sowell said. “Greyson is two years older, and that’s going to help Casey. And we have [senior attackman] Jack Ray and some really good players around him. So in terms of pressure on him, there’s no more pressure on him than any other time that he’s been here. It’s just a matter of him coming back and fitting in and doing what he does very well in the scheme of our offense. But I would say that Casey has very high expectations of himself, and he should. He’s healthy. Obviously, he missed last year, but I see no reason why he can’t be even better than he was in that sophomore year.”