This article appears in the January issue of Lacrosse Magazine, which mails to US Lacrosse members next week. Don't get the mag? Join USL and its 300,000-plus members today to start your subscription.
MCLA's Top Player Looks to Reinvent Himself, Prove He's Not Just 'System' Guy
by Jac Coyne | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff
Michigan attackman Trevor Yealy, LM's MCLA Division I Preseason Player of the Year, wants to be more of a threat dodging with the ball in his stick in 2011.
© Marc Piscotty
It's difficult to believe that the premier crease finisher in the Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association, a player who has amassed 232 goals in his first three years, was this close to being relegated to the second middie line as a freshman, possibly derailing one of the most prolific careers in non-varsity history. But that's the bullet Michigan dodged in the fall of 2008.
As fate would have it, Trevor Yealy — a lanky (6-foot-4, 180-pounds) kid from Pittsburgh — was inserted into the starting attack unit after the assumed starter left the team, and promptly established himself as a devastating scorer.
"We knew he was going to play a lot as a freshman, but we were deep at attack and thought we'd get him on the field as a middie," said Michigan coach John Paul. "Then we moved him back down and he started blowing up pretty quick."
It started with a 70-goal rookie campaign followed by 85 goals as a sophomore and 77 more last spring as the Wolverines won their third straight MCLA championship. These numbers, along with a paucity of assists — he has 10 in three seasons —lead to the criticism that he is a "system" guy. Yealy doesn't disagree.
"To be honest, people ask me that question a lot and I always tell them a monkey could do it," he said. "I completely agree with that. There are things here and there that can help and I've been working to get better at them."
It's this modesty that has made him a leader for Michigan the last two years, but it's not accurate, according to Paul.
"He has a really good awareness of where to be, and that, more than anything, is what makes a crease attackman great," Paul said. "He can get inside when he needs to be."
Although his career has been defined by his proficiency on the crease, Yealy is poised to erase the system myth this spring. Called the best dodger on the team by his coach, Yealy is expecting to expand his role as Big Blue chases its fourth crown, aided by the addition of two solid crease players.
"I think I could be a threat dodging," said Yealy, who was a dodger at Upper St. Clair High School. "I haven't really had to do that the last couple of years because we had guys who were much better than me at it. This year, I want to get outside a little bit more."
It might seem odd to change things now, but after scoring that many goals and winning nothing but championships, just about the only thing the Lacrosse Magazine Preseason Player of the Year has to prove is he can succeed without "the system."