Playing an unnatural position, facing constant double-teams — none of it seemed to bother Smithsburg’s Cullan Ganley.
The Leopards’ senior moved from midfield to attack this season, but the change didn’t affect his production adversely. He had 68 goals and 33 assists to earn The Herald-Mail’s Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year honor for the second straight year.
Ganley said he’s played attack off and on in the past, but the move to midfield full-time this season was a little more difficult than he expected.
“I thought it would be a lot easier to transition into,” Ganley said. “I always thought I had my man beat, but he would have a longer stick than I was used to facing.”
It forced Ganley to be a little more of a setup guy at times, involving teammates in the offense more often, which was fine with him.
“You’d go in knowing he was going to be double-teamed, but even when they did double him, it didn’t matter,” said Smithsburg coach Joe Dietrich. “He still scored or found the open man.
“He’s definitely a team player. He’s not worried about scoring the most goals. He just has that talent.”
Dietrich also said the switch in position Ganley made this season will help him when he plays at Lynchburg College next season, where he will likely play midfield.
“He’s an all-around player,” Dietrich said. “If we would have a big lead, I’d tell him no more shooting. But even before that, he would find people open and give it up.”
“Assists are just as good as a goal,” said Ganley, who finished his high school career with 164 goals and 82 assists. “Either way, you get another point on the board. I wanted (teammates) to get a goal as much as I wanted myself. I didn’t want them telling me I’m being a ball hog. I want them to know every game we win is a team effort.”
Ganley will major in physical education and health at Lynchburg. He wants to become a phys ed teacher and get into coaching.
“That’s definitely what I want to do,” Ganley said. “A lot of people have told me I’m good with kids. Coaching is just as rewarding as playing.”
Joining Ganley on the All-County team are:
Cody Dewald, North Hagerstown
An MVAL Antietam first-team defender covered opponents’ lead attackers. The senior had one assist and 25 ground balls.
Ryan Doyle, Saint James
Senior led the Saints with 60 goals and 16 assists.
Zach Eppard, North Hagerstown
Senior attacker had 40 goals and one assist and won 66 percent (124 of 187) of faceoffs. First-team MVAL Antietam selection.
Mark Grove, Smithsburg
First-team MVAL Antietam defender had 55 ground balls and 28 takeaways. Also contributed three goals and an assist.
Ryker Jernigan, Smithsburg
Another MVAL Antietam first teamer, Jernigan had 41 ground balls and 23 takeaways. Added a goal and an assist.
Clayton Layman, Smithsburg
Junior goalkeeper made 183 saves and had a .832 save percentage. First-team MVAL Antietam pick.
Andrew Ludwick, Saint James
All-around threat had 27 goals, 34 assists and 83 ground balls for the Saints.
Jamie Peterson, Saint James
Senior midfielder had 52 goals and 44 assists.
Luke Slick, Smithsburg
Leopards’ faceoff specialist won 54 percent of draws, grabbed 116 ground balls and had 12 goals and 13 assists. MVAL Antietam first-team selection.
Tommy Wagner, Saint James
Senior keeper made 130 saves on the season.
Avery Wilmore, Saint James
Saints’ junior defender grabbed 55 ground balls.