Sophomore Devin Dwyer of the Harvard men’s lacrosse team came into the 2014 campaign as the reigning All-New England Rookie of the Year. Despite the target on his back, the attackman only gotten better this season, despite teams focusing their defenses on stopping him.
“Teams are going to start getting out on him and try to eliminate his ability to feed,” Harvard coach Chris Wojcik ’96 said. “We already saw that a lot this season.”
However, Dwyer was unfazed by defensive attempts to cut off his passing game. Despite an injury that sidelined him for the first four games of the season, the sophomore still led the team in assists.
“Once he came back later in the season, that really helped bring up our offensive production,” co-captain Peter Schwartz said. “I think that Devin acts as the quarterback for us behind the net [with how he] finds other teammates consistently.”
Dwyer led the Ivy League and finished the season ranked seventh nationally in assists. Appearing in just 13 games, Dwyer dished out 35 assists, averaging 2.69 per game.
“[Dwyer] can see the passing lanes and then execute a really precise pass onto his teammates’ sticks,” Wojcik said. “Because of that, Devin really makes his teammates around him better. It is a special skill set to have that lacrosse IQ, that vision, and execution.”
The top two Crimson scorers, sophomore attack Will Walker and Schwartz, who scored 35 and 25 goals, respectively, received a combined 15 passes from Dwyer that ultimately found the back of the net.
“I think me and Devin had a lot of chemistry on the field,” Schwartz said. “And it only improved throughout the year. It really helps for me as a player to know that if I get to an open space, that I will get the ball—that’s what Devin does.”
In many of Harvard’s close games this year, Dwyer’s passing abilities gave the Crimson the edge it needed to defeat well-matched opponents. In the last game of the regular season, Harvard faced up against Yale on the Bulldogs’ home turf.
On the line against the No. 13 Bulldogs was the Ivy League title. Yale had won the tournament the year before, securing the conference title and the automatic berth in the NCAA tournament.
However, the Crimson eventually topped Yale, 11-10, with six assists from Dwyer. The sophomore assisted sophomore attack Deke Burns to start the scoring and had three assists in the first quarter as Harvard withstood an early Bulldog charge. Four of the team’s first five goals came on assists from Dwyer, who also assisted on classmate attack Sean McDonagh’s goal with nine minutes to go that pushed the lead to 11-9.
“Though it’s an overall team effort. We were able to draw slides and get the ball to him,” Wojcik said. “Devin is clearly a crucial element of our offense, and his passes tipped the scale our way.”
One week following the game that clinched the Ivy League title for Harvard, the Crimson came up against the Bulldogs again in Ancient Eight tournament play. Harvard topped Yale, 10-9, and again Dwyer proved essential, contributing five assists on the night.
“If [the Crimson is] going to be successful in upcoming years,” Schwartz said. “Devin is going to have continue to get better and have more of a leadership role. The sky is the limit for him.”
—Staff writer Caroline L. Ferguson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.