Bison athlete of the week: Matt Gilray ’18, men’s lacrosse

Devan Schulte, Senior Writer

The Bison men’s lacrosse team has not boasted a 3-0 record since 2007, yet a decisive victory against Fairfield on Feb. 20 propelled the team into the start of Patriot League play on Feb. 27. Matt Gilray ’18, an Ontario native and the team’s current leader in ground balls, has already racked up three goals, four assists, and 17 ground balls on the season. His personal success has been largely influential in the team’s impressive record thus far.

Gilray comprises one half of the team’s nicknamed pair “SpringRay” as a long stick midfielder alongside senior standout Alex Spring ’16, and the two have combined for approximately one-third of the team’s total ground balls so far. Twelve of these came on Feb. 20 against the Stags, as the wings were largely influential in the Orange and Blue’s complete domination of the match.

Gilray also concluded the day with two goals, one of which helped to push the Bison past a 6-6 tie late into the third quarter and sparked the team’s lead for the rest of the game. Although Gilray is proud of his current personal success and the team’s success, he recognizes this time of the season as being particularly essential for continued growth.

“Being 3-0 feels pretty good especially since we haven’t had a start like this in a while, but at the same time what our team really tries to keep in mind is that we shouldn’t be content and satisfied. We need to keep the ball rolling and not look back,” Gilray said.

The Bison faced a difficult defeat to Colgate in the semi-finals last season during Gilray’s freshman campaign, so he emphasizes the necessity to stay focused and determined despite current positive results.

“After a tough loss in the Patriot League tournament last year, our team has come out with a chip on our shoulder this year and really have something to prove,” Gilray said.

Gilray has also worked individually to prove himself as one of the league’s top long stick midfielders. Before starting his collegiate career, Gilray lettered in hockey and lacrosse at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, and this dual athleticism has proved to be extremely helpful in developing his impressive stick skills.

Due to his outstanding results in high school, Inside Lacrosse ranked Gilray No. 82 on a list of the top 100 recruits, and he immediately made an impact in Lewisburg. As a freshman, Gilray collected 29 ground balls behind only Spring, and earned a spot as one of the team’s key long-stick defensive midfielders. After suffering an injury during his first season as a Bison, Gilray worked to develop his comfort and confidence coming into his second year on the squad, and his current statistics clearly reflect his improvements.

He has brought a dynamic aspect to the team’s transitional play and attack unit by providing a new and challenging aspect of the Orange and Blue’s offensive play for opponents to defend. Still, Gilray notes the importance of consistency in enabling the Bison to find true success throughout the duration of the season.

“A major focus we’ve had all year is to finish everything off hard and not get complacent if we’re up in a game and keep our foot on the pedal,” Gilray said.

Gilray takes a unique approach in mentally preparing before each game: he does not think about lacrosse. Rather, he can be found preparing for his match-ups against Patriot League foes with his headphones on and a clear mindset, ready to get revenge on past upsets. Gilray hopes the Orange and Blue’s revenge will start on Feb. 27 with the Colgate Raiders.

2016 Stats:

Three Goals

Four Assists

17 Ground Balls

One Caused Turnover

.750 SOG %

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