February 11, 2009

GVSU's Holding is Out of the Box

by Jac Coyne | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

Cameron Holding, who started out as the typical Canadian box player, racked up 30 points in three games, leading Grand Valley State to the MCLA D-II title game. And he even used his right hand a couple of times.
© Dave Adams

Cameron Holding estimates he started playing indoor lacrosse in his hometown of Whitby, Ontario, when he was 3 years old. After what he did to the best teams in MCLA Division II last spring, many are probably wishing Holding was never let outside the box.

That's because Holding, an attackman for Grand Valley (Mich.) State University, not only sparked the Lakers to an undefeated regular season, but proved to be the best player at the MCLA Division II tournament in Dallas.

He finished with 30 points in three games, including an eight-goal, four-assist performance in the semifinals against St. Thomas (Minn.) and another eight goals against the nation's best defense in the championship game loss to Westminster.

"He just killed us in transition," said Pete Moosbrugger, St. Thomas' head coach. "If he's not on that team, I think we beat them."

Holding's opponents almost got their wish. Intent on trying out for the GVSU hockey team last fall, Holding, Lacrosse Magazine's Preseason Player of the Year, had to be talked into going out for the lacrosse team instead. With the box specialist on the field, the Lakers went from a 5-4 squad in 2007 to a 20-1 program last season.

"He sees the field so well," said GVSU head coach Murle Greer, who will have Holding as one of his captains in 2009 as a sophomore. "And he moves very well to the play and gets himself open. He's also one of the hardest working guys in practice. He's the first guy in sprints, he's the first guy shooting, and he's the last guy to leave the field."

Asked the best way to describe Holding, Greer replied simply: "He's a left-handed Canadian player."

Because of Holding's box background, Greer was forced to tame Holding's less-structured instincts on the field and incorporate him slowly into the Lakers' system. Even though Holding and his father started a field program at a Lansing-area high school when they moved to the States four years ago, he takes pride in his indoor background.

"I don't think it's a bad thing to have box traits as a field player," said Holding, proudly explaining he grew up in the same town as former Duke standout Zack Greer, who played in the same Junior A lacrosse league as Holding. "In box lacrosse everything is just so much smaller. You've really got to work to get the openings, but in field there is so much more space it makes it that much easier."

The bigger nets in field lacrosse are nicer, too.

"Just one or two fakes and you can get them right out of the net," laughed Holding.

Greer, who admiringly describes Holding's outside shot as "disgusting," drills Holding relentlessly on his right shot, declaring Holding scored two offhand goals in the title game. With Holding's performance in the tournament and the preseason accolades that are coming his way, Greer is trying to prep him for the attention he'll receive this spring.

That's just fine with this Canadian.

"I think it's fun when teams stick somebody on me because I'll just stand out beyond the restraining line," said Holding. "Usually it's not a first-year player they are going to put on you, so you're taking out one of their best, right?"

That's probably the only way to get Holding outside the box.

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