By: Garrett Osterode/GCU Staff
Being named ‘captain’ is a respected achievement in sports, but for Grand Canyon University Men’s Lacrosse, it is an honor. Each year, three players are selected to lead their teams in the field, and this year’s three, Lopes’ Head Coach Jeff Guy ensures, are the right men for the job.
“This a credit to these guys hard work – on and off the field,” said Guy. “It is evident to everybody that these guys are leaders and at the top of our lacrosse program’s hierarchy.”
GCU senior long-stick midfielder Aidan Ryan, senior goaltender Jamie McKay and junior Kyle Crews were named the captains for the 2020 season. Each of them are upperclassmen, and each have produced significantly on the field during their careers.
Ryan enters his senior year as the clear-cut leader of Guy’s defensive attack. After years of learning from former GCU captain Jack Lamey, Ryan aims to take that next step after a great season a year ago.
“We’ve been fortunate in the past five years to have great long-stick [midfielder] play,” said Guy. “Ryan has the potential to be the best we’ve ever had. He has the stats to back it up.”
Though Ryan has the ability to light up a stat sheet, his impact will mostly be felt underneath the box score.
“He’s a leader on the field in multiple ways,” said Guy. “He knows the defense better than anyone else. With a guy like that, it allows me to have complete faith on the defensive side.”
This will be Ryan’s first season as captain, but as Guy explained, he has been a leader since the moment he stepped on campus.
“Everyone here knows that,” said Guy. “He has earned the right to take on this responsibility.”
McKay’s path to becoming a captain on this team is one of perseverance and hard work – something that McKay will have an opportunity to set an example to the younger players without even having to play a game. McKay enters his senior year with not only the label of captain, but also opening-day starting goalie for the first time in his career.
“Jamie is a guy I am really excited for,” said Guy. “He’s also a guy who has sat behind some pretty talented players, but he’s put in the work and put in the time and knows the defense.”
Much of the time, the goaltender acts as the team’s vocal leader on the field, having to call out defenses and making sure players are in the correct position. Guy sees McKay as that on-field coach.
“The goaltender position is the most important position on the field,” said Guy. “This position attracts natural leaders and that is exactly what Jamie is.”
Crews enters the season as the only non-senior captain, but by no means does that make him less of a leader.
“It isn’t rare for a junior to be a captain,” said Guy. “Kyle sets the tone on and off the field. He’s arguably the strongest player on our team. Pound for pound, he puts in the work.”
Crews has been a contributor to the team since Day 1, recording back-to-back seasons with double-digit goals, and led all returning players in assists (11) a year ago.
“There’s always a guy in a program that comes along that seems to grasp the concepts a lot quicker than usual, and that guy is Kyle,” said Guy. “It has just worked with him. He’s been a great player since Day 1.”