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Dylan Webster is a freshman phenom
Making the transition from high school lacrosse to college lacrosse is tough enough. Adjusting from high school indoor box lacrosse to Division I field lacrosse? That’s a whole different story.
Quinnipiac’s Dylan Webster is in the midst of that transition his freshman season.
“For most of my guys, they’ve played the same game and it’s just adjusting from the speed of a high school game to the college game,” Quinnipiac head coach Eric Fekete said. “For Dylan it’s a whole different ballgame because it’s a lot bigger field with a lot different spacing, so he’s trying to learn to take his game and infuse it into the field game.”
Six games into his college career, Webster is already making a name for himself. He scored seven goals and recorded 10 points so far, earning the Northeast Conference Rookie of the Week three consecutive times early in the season.
“I give him all the credit in the world,” Fekete said. “His performance in those three weeks has been worthy of getting that. He’s getting better and better in finding those wrinkles and creases so he can be successful. That’s why you’re seeing him be rookie of the week three times in a row.”
Webster, a Brampton, Ontario native, has played box lacrosse since he was 3 years old and credits his father for getting him involved.
“He taught me all the fundamentals and the little hints like how to score and the best way to get around a defender,” Webster said. “He played throughout his life and he’s been my coach my whole life.”
Webster played for the Brampton Excelsiors before he played for St. Edmund Campion, his high school. His high school didn’t have a lacrosse team until his sophomore year.
“Basketball and soccer were the big two sports at my high school,” Webster said. “My brother and I tried to get lacrosse going at our school. After I’m done here I’m going to help out at my high school a bit.”
One of the biggest challenges has been the ability to play in a zone defense. Since box lacrosse fields are the size of a hockey rink, Webster has had to adjust to playing on a 60-by-110-yard field.
“Dylan has never seen a zone defense because they don’t play that in box. In box lacrosse nobody plays a zone because it’s too close,” Fekete said. “He’s had to assimilate a little bit to the field game this year.”
Senior captain Jack Oppenheimer is another left-handed attack player who has taken Webster under his wing.
“He hasn’t really played a whole lot of field lacrosse before, so he was definitely a raw player coming in,” Oppenheimer said. “I’ve taken it upon myself to show him everything he needs to do. He’s a very talented player. I had to get it into his mindset that playing outdoors is a completely different game and that he needs to develop his game so he can adapt to that.”
Oppenheimer has seen Webster progress over the course of the season, especially with his versatility.
“He came in being mostly an inside player, playing the pick-and-roll game,” Oppenheimer said. “He’s now starting to shoot from the outside and even starting to shoot with his right hand, as opposed to just his left hand, so he’s come a long way.”
With Webster and Jake Emms, a sophomore from British Columbia, on the field, Fekete has changed his approach a bit to better utilize them.
“We took some guys that are proven scorers and moved them to the midfield to get a little bit more of a thrust in our offense,” Fekete said. “We felt like with moving Kevin Kelly or Jack Oppenheimer to midfield sometimes would open up the doors to put Dylan and Jake in.”
Webster and Emms each started the past two games and combined for five goals in that span.
Fekete remembers when the Bobcats recruited Webster.
“We thought he was a great fit for us because he’s a great scorer and finisher, and he’s a great faceoff guy,” Fekete said.
It’s only six games, but Webster has a bright future ahead of him, according to his peers.
“I think Dylan’s got a great personality,” Fekete said. “He’s carried a big load, he’s scored some big goals for us and I think his best lacrosse is still yet to come.”