After a Post-Graduate (PG) year in which he led Andover Boys Lacrosse to its best season in Andover’s recent history, with a 15-1 record, Ryder Garnsey ’15 has burst onto the NCAA Division I Lacrosse scene with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish this year. His phenomenal play secured him the title of Atlantic Coastal Conference (ACC) Freshman of the Year.
Posting statistic lines unheard of for freshmen – who often don’t see the field in their first year at the collegiate level – Garnsey scored 19 goals and assisted on eight in his first season in South Bend.
His highlight of the season came in a 17-7 Notre Dame blowout of Syracuse University, in which he scored five goals. Garnsey wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “This year has been incredible. I’ve had the chance to play for what I think is the best coaching staff in the country and learn from the best player in the country who plays the same position as me, Matt Kavanagh, so I’ve just tried to be a sponge and take in as much as I can.”
Andover teammate Foster LeBoeuf ’15, who now plays at Brown University, said, “It’s been great to see Ryder do his thing this year. He’s a great player and a great teammate and couldn’t be happier to see his successes and him getting the accolades for it.”
Former Captain Austin Gaiss ’14, another Andover Boys Lacrosse alum at Notre Dame, said, “Ryder has definitely earned everything he’s gotten this year. I think it’s pretty clear to everybody who’s seen a game of his that he’s quite the player, but I think what stands out the most to me is his competitiveness. More than anything the kid just wants to win and, especially heading into the tourney here, that’s almost more important than anything.”
Playing in all 12 of Notre Dame’s games, Garnsey led the ACC in points by a freshman, with 27 on the season. This kind of production mirrors the work he posted while at Andover under Head Coach Stephen Moreland, scoring 47 goals and notching 46 assists, which earned him a spot in the Under Armour All-America Game.
According to former teammate and Captain Tim Bulens ’15, the sky is the limit for Garnsey.
“When Ryder likes to do something, he’s one of the most tenacious, hard-working kids I know. There’s nothing he enjoys doing more than playing lacrosse. It’s a deadly combination that already has and will continue to take him to the top,” said Bulens.
Even in South Bend, however, Garnsey still has ties to Andover in the form of old teammates and coaches and credits the Andover Coaching staff for much of his success at the next level. “The transition from PA to ND was definitely a challenge and I’m still adjusting every day but Coach Moreland and Coach Tuck did an incredible job preparing me for the next level and without them I would’ve had some catching up to do. I still talk to those guys all the time and Coach Moreland was one of the first people I called last night when I found out I was named [Rookie of the Year]. The difference is just that in practice and games every rep and play has to be done with 100 percent focus and determination. You can’t take plays off at all and if you do you’re getting worse while everybody around you is getting better,” said Garnsey.
Likewise, many of Andover Lacrosse alumni playing at the collegiate level credit their success to their experiences at Andover.
“As for the Andover lacrosse success at the collegiate level, it’s really great to be a part of it and I think a lot of that can be contributed to Coach Moreland; I think I speak for all us Andover lax alums in saying he is a great mentor and coach, both on and off the field,” said Leboeuf.
The future is bright for Garnsey and the Fighting Irish both this season and beyond, as the team has its eyes set on the 2016 NCAA Division I Championship Tournament.
When asked about Garnsey, Head Coach of Notre Dame Lacrosse Kevin Corrigan wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “Ryder is a breath of fresh air. He loves to play, has great skills that he has worked hard to develop, and has no conscience. Those are all good if married with a great work ethic and strong fundamentals… which he is working on. He has been an extremely valuable player for us this year… and his best is still to come. I love Ryder.”
Notre Dame will hope to compete for a National Championship starting Saturday, May 21.