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©PHOTO CREDIT


THE EVERGREEN


WONDER HOW LATE BLOOMER PAT SPENCER BLOSSOMED INTO ONE OF THE BEST PLAYERS IN COLLEGE LACROSSE


BY GARY LAMBRECHT W


hen Loyola sophomore and All-American attackman Pat Spencer was a sophomore at Boys’ Latin School in Baltimore, Bob Shriver, the legendary lacrosse coach, saw a bright future awaiting the kid. So did others who watched Spencer on the fi eld, where his quickness, two-handed stick skills, uncanny fi eld vision, cool decision-making and fi ercely competitive streak were obvious. When Shriver recommended that Spencer — whom he considered a defi nite Division I player, even in a skinny, 5-foot-6 frame — would be best served by playing his sophomore season as a leader of the junior varsity team, the Spencer family agreed. After all, the Boys’ Latin varsity attack in 2013 was bursting with big-time talent in Colin Heacock, Shack Stanwick and Colin Chell, who had committed to Maryland, Johns Hopkins and Ohio State, respectively. “We just felt it made more sense for [Spencer] to have the ball in his stick a lot more than he would have that year playing on the varsity,” said Shriver, who retired after the 2015 season with more than 500 career victories. “Patrick was still growing. He already was a good athlete with tremendous hands. I’ve always believed that if you’re good enough, [good schools] will fi nd you. Patrick is a perfect example of that.”


Spencer — who went on to be a two-year varsity sensation, leading the Lakers to an undefeated season and a No. 1 national ranking in 2014 — became a victim of a collegiate numbers game. Since he was undersized and didn’t play varsity until his junior season, Spencer was passed over by top-tier Division I programs that increasingly receive early commitments from recruits. That allowed less prominent lacrosse schools such as Penn State, Fairfi eld and Villanova to pursue him. It also allowed Loyola, after its coaches were impressed by Spencer’s club


performances with the Baltimore Crabs, to move in and make the Greyhounds the top attraction to him. And it gave Spencer, who after a hefty growth spurt now stands at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, a place to put together a phenomenal freshman season in 2016. After leading Loyola to a 14-4 fi nish that culminated with the Greyhounds’ third trip to the NCAA tournament’s championship weekend, Spencer is a sophomore in rarefi ed air — a preseason fi rst-team All-American whom Shriver calls “the steal of the draft.” Last spring, Spencer tied Loyola’s single-season scoring record with 89 points, leading the Greyhounds with 52 assists and tying the team high with 37 goals. He capped a dazzling Patriot League run by blasting Army with fi ve goals and


50 US LACROSSE MAGAZINE May/June 2017 USlacrosse.org


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