Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/8/22
From Press Release
Without a strong group of team leaders, a team will never go far.
For Marquette men’s lacrosse, opening Saturday at Bellarmine, this year’s captains include five uniquely different players and leaders: Devon Cowan (Hun School), Zach Granger (Penncrest), Garrett Moya, Jordan Schmid and Mason Woodward.
Cowan, a redshirt sophomore attackman from Mount Laurel, N.J., who led last year’s team with 30 goals, recognizes the importance of his role as a captain.
“It’s one of the biggest honors that you can get to be named captain by your peers,” said Cowan, who played for Duke’s LC. “To be able to represent them on the field, off the field, as a person and as an athlete, I feel like I owe it to everybody to give it everything I’ve got.”
Granger is a redshirt junior defenseman who started every game a year ago. The Media native realizes how many capable leaders are on the team and looks to make his mark as captain each and every day.
“It means the world to me that guys I care about the most see me as a worthy leader,” said Granger, who also played for Duke’s LC. “It’s truly a blessing to have the opportunity to be that voice on the team. I just hope that I live up to that title and I’m going to do everything in my power every single day to do that.”
Woodward returns from a stellar season where he earned honorable mention All-American honors. The close defenseman from Maryland is the lone returning captain of the group, but plans on expanding his role as a leader.
“I’m trying to be a captain where I focus a lot on relationships and getting to know guys on a more personal level,” Woodward said. “This year, I hope my responsibility increases a little bit, just talking a little bit more in the huddles and leading the guys on the field and off the field in every aspect of life.”
While all five players individually bring an important voice to the program, each recognizes that the leadership group’s variety is its greatest strength.
“All of us bring a unique perspective, outlook and style to the leadership of this team,” Granger said. “There are so many different personalities between the five of us, and it’s really cool that we have different perspectives, play different positions, and come from different backgrounds.”
“We kind of fill all the gaps,” Moya said. “Mason is a leader on the field and a relationship guy. Devon gets there before anybody and sets up the field before the coaches even get there. Granger does 15 minutes of failing a day just so there’s something he can work on. Jordan is the definition of Marquette Lacrosse, he checks all the boxes. I keep things positive and light, I’ve gone through everything you can go through as an athlete.”
In the end, though, while winning a BIG EAST Championship is at the front of each captain’s mind, the real goal is to build a community of love and respect within the program.
But in unusual fashion, two of those captains won’t suit up at all for the Golden Eagles this season.
Moya, who has split time at attack and midfield, and Schmid, a defensive midfielder, have both medically retired from playing lacrosse, but are as involved with the program as ever.
“The two guys who won’t be playing are the tip of the spear for us from a leadership perspective,” head coach Andrew Stimmel said. “They are two of the most selfless players and leaders that I’ve ever been around. When you go through an injury, it’s easy to focus on yourself, but they’ve always found a way to do that but also worry about other people and put everybody else first.”
Schmid, the president of Marquette’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee last year, knows his influence on the team reaches beyond his effort between the lines.
“I pride myself on being a servant-leader,” Schmid said. “I know I can still have a huge impact in more of a coaching role and I’m just trying to be more of an older, calming voice for some of these younger guys out there on the field.”
Schmid plans on using his experience as a program veteran to help coach up his former position group, the defensive midfielders.
“Being a d-mid for four years now, I’m really trying to take over a little bit of that and take a bit of the pressure off Coach (Jake) Richard,” Schmid said. “I want to use the knowledge that I’ve gained over my time here to make sure that our defense can be what we’re hoping it’s going to be.”
Moya, a graduate student from Long Island, said the captaincy is something he’s been building towards for four years.
“When they named me captain, it was just pure joy,” Moya said. “Being a captain is the best honor I’ve ever received, especially in the lacrosse world. It goes way beyond any statistical or personal award that you could win.”
After suffering his second leg injury in the fall, Moya had to shift his focus from being an on-field leader to more of a coach’s role.
“I can have just as big of a role being retired, almost more of a liaison between the players and the coaches,” Moya said. “I can have good in-depth conversations with coaches and players and see where things are going well or struggling. I can be getting extra work with specific guys, taking them down to the field in groups or individually, saying, ‘this is what we need to work on.'”
The former attackman said his main aim as one of the team leaders is to assist in the development of younger players and see his investment pay off.
“My biggest goal is to watch the development and see if the hard work I put in will make a difference the way I think it can,” Moya said. “It can’t be me getting First Team All-BIG EAST, but it can be somebody else and seeing them develop is the biggest thing for me.”
Woodward acknowledged that the role of the two medically-retired players will be vital to the program’s success.
“The three of us that are playing have a view from us playing, how we’re feeling and what we think the coaches are saying. But the two guys that aren’t playing have their opinion of what it looks like from the outside, from a coach’s perspective,” Woodward said. “The two guys that are in a coaching role can be like, ‘hey, these are the small details you’ve missed.’ It’s really important to have those guys and have them be able to give us a coaching perspective in the leadership role.”
As far as the other three captains, Cowan, Granger and Woodward are returning starters who come off all-conference seasons.
“The other three have a unique perspective,” Stimmel said. “They’re great players, they’ve got a lot of experience on the field, they understand what it takes for us to get to the next step. Mason has the chance to be a four-time captain for us, Devon a three-time captain and that’s very rare. That tells you a lot about their impact on their teammates and what their peers think about them.”
“We pride ourselves so much on our relationships and we’re not afraid to tell the guys to our left and our right that we love them, we’re playing for them,” Schmid said. “Of course lacrosse is what we do and we’re trying to win championships, but what’s more important to all of us is that we can create a family atmosphere and really love the guys in the room and invest in them as individuals before players.”