May 21, 2013

Mercyhurst's Scheetz Still Flying Under the Radar

by Jac Coyne | | Coyne Archive | Twitter

He often doesn't receive the credit he should, but personal awards don't have a whole lot of value for Mercyhurst attackman Brian Scheetz. A second national championship is what he craves.
© Mercyhurst Athletics

Brian Scheetz has been starting for four years at Mercyhurst, and even his coach doesn't know everything about him. Just a couple of weeks ago, Chris Ryan got word that his star attackman is an avid outdoorsman.

"I found out that he is a huge hunter and a wizard with a shotgun, but that never came across," Ryan said. "He never seemed like a guy who was in a tree stand somewhere."

"There's a lot of people who still don't know a lot about me," added Scheetz.

It's not that Scheetz is an introvert or harbors any dark secrets. He just doesn't offer up a whole lot about himself. He goes about his business.

That's been Scheetz's approach on the field, as well. The leading scorer for the Lakers every season since he arrived, Scheetz broke the school record for points as a junior, and currently has 232 heading into Sunday's national championship game against Le Moyne. Still, he has only been a first-team All-American once, and it was last year when he had the lowest output (13 goals, 33 assists) of his college career.

Despite posting a career-high 72 points (26g, 46a) this spring for an undefeated team — giving him the school record for points by a margin of 77 and the school record for assists (142) by a margin of 70 — he was tabbed to the All-American second squad.

"I think that there is an undercurrent out there that people can't believe what he brings to the field and what he does," Ryan said. "What else does this kid have to do to understand what he has accomplished and how good he really is?"

Not to say that Scheetz hasn't evolved in his four years in Erie. At 5-foot-7, Scheetz used his quickness as an asset at the beginning and would continuously advance on the net if he saw an opening. Ryan said that the younger Scheetz was always moving in "fast forward," but after some cajoling, he has developed into a true quarterback.

"Coach Ryan has been stressing that for a few years now, just being the calming presence on the field when things start to get crazy and settle it down," Scheetz said. "Find that balance between aggressiveness and patience when I pick my spots to go to goal. I think we've figured it out after four years."

One of the plays that encapsulated Scheetz's value to Mercyhurst came last year in a then-ECC rivalry game with NYIT. With the game tied at six and looking like it would head to overtime, Scheetz received a pass with 10 seconds left on the clock, made a move toward the cage, and then found James Chayka all alone on the backside for a goal with two ticks left to give the Lakers the win. It was Scheetz's only point of that game, but he was the guy who quietly made it all possible.

"He is a kid you trust implicitly with the team's goals," Ryan said. "That's a heck of a responsibility and expectations to have for an individual. But if you take a look at this year, the team has acted calmly in some very critical moments. This is a team that could have very well gone 10-4 and not made it to the tournament. But because there are people like Brian out there, with his attitude and his character, it has allowed this team to push forward in some critical moments. You know he is going to have the ball, so if he's doing well, we're doing well."

Scheetz returns to the national championship game for the second time in his career, and he will undoubtedly by the straw that stirs the drink, even if his name isn't on the marquee. In the 2011 national championship game with Adelphi, it was Ian Wild's four goals that stole the headlines in the Lakers, 9-8 victory, but Scheetz quietly scored a goal and set up three others to also post a four-point afternoon.

There was similar occurrence in last weekend's dramatic, come-from-behind victory over Limestone. Zac Reid was the guy in the spotlight with seven goals on the afternoon, but Scheetz had a goal and six assists, including three dimes in the pivotal fourth quarter.

If Mercyhurst wins the title on Sunday, it will be because of Scheetz. But if he doesn't get any recognition, so be it.

"I don't get caught up in the individual things," Scheetz said. "If we go out in my last game and get a win, that will be enough for me."

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