Reilly McDermott doesn’t take offense to the idea that he’s been labeled as a bit crazy when he pulls on his lacrosse helmet and takes the field. In fact, he embraces the characterization.
“You can ask the team (and they’ll say), ‘Reilly’s one of the craziest guys on the team whenever it comes to game time,’” McDermott said. “You have to be crazy. Getting hit with a 90-mile-per-hour shot, not knowing it hurts – even though it does – you have to be a little crazy.
“It’s just the intensity level and the pressure that you play with during the game – that’s all a factor.”
McDermott was anything but erratic this season for Marvin Ridge, however, as the junior added a steadying influence to the Mavs’ stellar defense that helped contribute to a Conference 12 title and a 16-3 season, including a trip to the quarterfinals of the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs.
McDermott, a Furman University recruit, led the state with 5.25 goals allowed per game and was second with a 66 percent save percentage while corralling 156 saves. As a result, he was named the Conference 12 Player of the Year and picked up an All-American nod from US Lacrosse.
Now, he can add 2013 Union County Weekly Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year to his haul.
McDermott, however, was quick to point out that his gaudy stats were more indicative of a team-wide effort on the defensive side of the field, especially his goals-against average.
“I think that’s more impressive because it includes the defense, not just me,” McDermott said. “They did a great job this year. Without them, I’m not saving half the shots I saved.”
McDermott arrived on the scene last year when, as a sophomore, he was an all-conference selection and considered one of the top young talents in the state. That also translated to a little extra pressure on his shoulders this season when opposing teams attacked the crease.
“It motivated me more knowing they were trying to beat me, they were trying to target me,” said McDermott. “But my defense held their ground and gave me the opportunities to make the saves I needed to make. I just used it as motivation to try to beat (the other teams) even worse.”
Crazy or not, McDermott said he relished his role of being the safety net this season for Marvin Ridge, a program that has established itself as one of the best public-school programs in the state.
“I like being the last line of defense,” McDermott said. “I like the pressure and its level of intensity. I love (playing) goalie. I don’t even know how to describe it, really.
“You’ve just got to get in the way of the ball. You have to have the mentality that nothing’s going to get past you and no one can stop you.”