By Ryan Baillargeon
Attackman Zach Herreweyers thrived during his freshman season with the Loyola men's lacrosse team in 2013. The London, Ontario, native tallied 19 goals during 10 games en route to being named to the Eastern College Athletic Conference All-Rookie Team.
In high school, Herreweyers played for The Hill Academy in Canada, which is an independent high school for student-athletes designed to prepare students for athletics at the collegiate level.
But Herreweyers was held out of competition to concentrate on academics for the 2014 season, and he wasn't able to build off his strong freshman campaign.
The year away from competition hasn't impacted his game this season, though. Through the Greyhounds' first four games, he has tallied 13 goals, tying him for fourth in the nation.
PressBox caught up with Herreweyers to discuss his transition from Canada to Loyola, the hardships of missing his sophomore season and his quick start this year.
PRESSBOX: You're from Canada, so what brought you to Loyola?
ZACH HERREWEYERS: I mean, probably the biggest thing was lacrosse. Going to the Hill Academy, I mean, that's one of the biggest things there helping Canadians get to the states, so, obviously, get their education and, obviously, to play lacrosse and excel in that, too.
PB: Did you look at any other colleges?
ZH: Yeah, my top five were Drexel, Stony Brook, UMass, Marquette was in there and then Loyola. Obviously, I visited here, and then actually committed the next day. And once I got back home, it was kind of a quick process with Loyola.
PB: Are there any major style differences between playing lacrosse in Canada and the U.S.?
ZH: I mean, back home, when we play box lacrosse, obviously, it's in a hockey arena, so the size is a lot smaller and more compact with only five guys on the field compared to field lacrosse, where there is so much more room to do things.
PB: Did that make the transition to playing at Loyola a little bit tougher?
ZH: I wouldn't say tougher. I mentioned it before. I went to the Hill Academy for two years with [Major League Lacrosse players] Brodie Merrill, Merrick Thomson, Brice Queener, and they do a really good job there of preparing high school lacrosse players for the next level. So I can honestly say when I get here, I wasn't surprised at what I was getting. I mean, obviously, the players are bigger and faster and much more talented, but they did a very good job of preparing us for the next step in college lacrosse.
PB: As a freshman, you led the conference in goals per game. What would you credit that success to?
ZH: [I would] definitely [credit] my teammates freshman year. I played with some unbelievable players. Scott Ratliff, Josh Hawkins, Mike Sawyer, Justin Ward, some of the best players that have come through this program. So, I mean, I was just one of the younger players playing on the field with them, and they were coming off a national championship at the time, so I got to learn a ton from them. I definitely credit them for most of my success that year.
PB: Are you now considered a redshirt sophomore or a junior?
ZH: I'm still a junior. I don't get that year back, because in the Patriot League, you have to be a medical redshirt, so it doesn't classify.
PB: To have missed a year of action and then get off to such a fast start with your goal scoring this year, how have you been able to get back into the game flow so quickly?
ZH: Last year, not playing for that season, I still went home, so I got to play my first full summer of box lacrosse. I actually had my best summer yet. And then, coming back this fall, getting a full fall session in, we had a couple early, early spring games. Our offense is just clicking early, and even this year, I think getting off to a hot start, the guys have been doing a great job drawing flags, so I'm able to find little gaps throughout the defense to get my hands free and shoot the ball. That's what they expect me to do, so I'm just trying to do the best I can at it.
This article was updated to correct the reason why Zach Herreweyers missed his sophomore season. PressBox regrets the error.