Senior defenseman Eddie Bouhall was selected by the Atlanta Blaze in the Major League Lacrosse 2019 Collegiate Draft.
But behind the stats, there is a simple beginning of a middle school lacrosse player who was switched to defense because it was his team’s weakness.
“He made the call and the next day I got a long pole and it was over from there,” Bouhall said.
As Bouhall’s game developed, his curiosity for the sport furthered.
Bouhall said he remembers watching the NCAA lacrosse tournament in his youth, recalling the “coolness” of getting a glove, cleat or stick signed by one of the players.
In his senior season, Bouhall finds himself fighting for the opportunity to win a Patriot League Championship for momentum entering the professional lacrosse league.
Bouhall said playing professionally became an option at the beginning of his senior year when graduation came into focus. With every email and phone call he exchanged with professional affiliates, Bouhall’s intentions became more clear.
“Getting drafted was pretty clarifying,” Bouhall said. “It reassured all my hard work (and) all my dedication.”
Associate coach Will Scudder said he was happy for Bouhall when he got word he had been drafted. Scudder said that although it is a personal achievement, there were a bunch of guys that got to share the joy.
“(I was) definitely happy for the (Bouhall), but I know the rest of the team gets a share in that success,”
Scudder credits Bouhall with having distinguishable skills that include very good instincts and a very elite stick.
“He knows when to make the right play,” Scudder said. “May not be something that’s coached or something that we tell him to do, but it’s just him reacting.”
Senior defender Michael Di Rienzo said although the team was excited for Bouhall, it was something they expected. Di Rienzo said Bouhall is a “slippery” player with a seamless transition from defense to offense.
“(Bouhall’s) great at picking up ground balls and moving in a direction that helps the team,” Di Rienzo said. “He makes it look easy… His instincts are always to attack (and) he never takes his foot off the gas pedal.”
Di Rienzo said Bouhall’s lacrosse intelligence is a root to his instinctual style of play and will be a foreground for his continued lacrosse career.
Scudder foresees a greater necessity for personal accountability in Bouhall’s future, and Scudder is confident that he has the tools and willingness to excel further down his career.
“As a professional athlete (Bouhall’s) not going to have anyone holding his hand,” Scudder said. “He’s not going to have a coach telling him to stay in shape and lift, that’s gotta be ingrained in him.”
This season, Bouhall is sidelined with injury. Though his presence is not felt on the field, he has proven to himself and to his team his ability to lead.
Scudder said he expects Bouhall to bring that same leadership energy in professional lacrosse.
“He’s a very high energy guy when he’s there and being a mentor to some of the younger guys that are stepping in for him and being a sounding board for them,” Scudder said.
In many cases, he acts as a coach. This has been really helpful for younger players.
“(Bouhall) took on a coaching role immediately,” Di Rienzo said. “At practice, he’ll coach up defensemen and tell them what he would do in that situation… he did it so naturally.”
Bouhall said he likes to live with a day-by-day focus, so now his focus is on recovery.
However, he said he tries to help in any way he can to help get his team to the Patriot League Championship.
“I don’t try to look too far into the future,” Bouhall said. “I don’t try to dwell too much on the past. Right now, I’m focused on our season.”
Every guy on the roster deserves a ring on their finger, Bouhall said, and that going forward they are going to need to rely on their team chemistry in order to get there.