Two former St. Clair Saints are now looking back at a heavenly season as Siena Heights Saints.
And even though John Holowaty and Nick Lyons are fresh off their sophomore lacrosse season, they can already be looking ahead at two more great years.
But first, let’s rewind and go over the season that Lyons said “will probably be my most memorable in my four years here.”
The Saints pieced together a 13-3 overall record and won the CCLA Central Division title by storm, but their last two games were the ones to really remember.
Earning a bid in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association Tournament in Irvine, Calif., the Saints had a chance to dethrone three-seeded Missouri Valley in the first round. It certainly wasn’t going to be an easy task as a 14 seed has never topped a three seed, and Missouri Valley came into the game with a lot of confidence – maybe too much.
“What made the difference is when the other team walked to the field they were looking at us and saying things like ‘You’re all going to learn today,'” Lyons recalled. “And we looked at each other like ‘This is going to be tough.'”
The Saints did the teaching that day, rallying with a game-tying goal off the stick of Holowaty – one of his 14 goals of the season.
“My buddy Shane Lewandowski burned someone, I cut toward the net and he threw me a perfect pass and put it off the goalie’s hip while getting hit,” Holowaty said. “I give that all to my buddy Shane.”
Siena Heights’ Danny Orr buried in the game-winner with four minutes left to advance to the second round with an 8-7 victory.
However, the next game was a reverse feeling as they lost to the eventual champs, Dayton, in a 7-6 double overtime heartbreaker.
The two St. Clair natives have thought about the game frequently since it ended, but it’s just another memory to use as motivation for next season.
“I’m already hungry for next season,” Holowaty said. “Once we got over the sadness of our seniors leaving … we were all insanely hungry for next year.”
The success with the sticks doesn’t look like it will fade away at Siena Heights either, as only three seniors will graduate from the team. Both Holowaty and Lyons also raved about their freshman class of 14 players.
Lyons will also be returning to the team after spending the season as somewhat of a utility man, switching between midfielder and attack. The constant field shuffle didn’t bother him at all as it meant he was always able to step on the field and help the squad.
“I’d rather see the field and make a difference than just sitting around and waiting for a spot to open up,” Lyons said.
Holowaty will also return as one of the Saints top scoring threats as his shooting percentage of 77.4 was second-highest on the team among players with more than five shots.
While individually Holowaty and Lyons have achieved a great season and a bright future, they stress it’s the whole unit that will make these next two seasons as special as this one.
“Our biggest strength is being a great team,” Holowaty said. “We’ve played teams that thrive on a great individual, but our coach tells us we can beat any team in the nation as a team.”
Contact Matt Sheehan at (810)-989-6267 or email@example.com. He’s on Twitter @Sheehan_Sports.