ST. LEO, Fla. – Canadian Zach Lysyk is working on taking the success he found in high school into his career playing NCAA Division II lacrosse at Saint Leo University.
Lysyk, from Oshawa, Ont., who has two goals and one assist in six games this season, attended Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School where the club won back-to-back OFSAA provincial championships in 2012 and 2013.
“Winning two OFSAA championships and getting into the final three of four years in high school definitely changed me as a player and gave me the mindset that I could actually do something with lacrosse,” he said, at the beautiful campus near Lake Jovita, in central Florida.
“My high school coach, Mike Drake, played a big part in my success. He taught me the whole field game and how to transition from box and into field.”
The marketing major, who originally verbally committed to Robert Morris University in Pennsylvania, said he chose Saint Leo because Jake Gilmour, a former teammate with the Edge Elite, had committed there as well.
He also felt the education offered at the university would better set him up for the future.
“Great classes at Saint Leo. Small classes down here, so you’re not really left behind. You’re always ready to go. The professors get you ready. Everything here, gym-wise, and facility-wise are great,” said Lysyk. “It’s different coming into the setting of NCAA Division 2, where you’re playing with the big boys.
“You don’t have time to fool around anymore.”
The midfielder believes this team, which is 5-1 on the year, has the pieces in place to do something special for this year and many more moving forward.
“As the year goes on, and in my next two years here after my sophomore year, we can start producing and hopefully win a Sunshine State Conference Championship,” said Lysyk.
“We have some good recruits coming in over the next few years. I could definitely see that as we grow into juniors and seniors that in a couple years we’re going to be a very strong group.
“A lot of people are going to underestimate us and we’re going to come out strong and give them a show.”