With all the success he had at Walkersville High School, Brian Schultz never found himself in this situation.
Prior to a practice with Loyola University's men's lacrosse team, assistant coach Dan Chemotti walked over to the sophomore attacker.
“Be ready, we're going to try you on EMO today and if you do well we're going to go with you,” he said to Schultz and his roommate Kevin Ryan.
EMO being the extra-man-opportunity situations — times when you'd like your best ball handlers on the field.
“It was honestly kind of nerve-wracking,” said Schultz, who scored 70 goals and assisted 34 more during his senior season at Walkersville and finished his high school career with 284 points. “I wanted to make sure I didn't mess up anything.”
He didn't. In fact, the 5-foot-11, 175-pounder secured a spot on the EMO team and played in 12 games this season for the NCAA Division I champion Greyhounds.
“It was a tremendous learning experience,” Schultz said. “I was a little behind coming from Walkersville. Everyone's as good as you if not better, so it was a lot of learning my role. Mentally, it was a lot of learning lacrosse. I could catch, I could throw, I could run.”
In a season filled with defining moments for the 18-1 Greyhounds, who downed the University of Maryland, 9-3, in the title game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., one that stood out most to Schultz was the team's decisive 13-8 win against Duke University.
“Freshman year, we went down to Durham and we got bullied around a good bit,” said Schultz, who is studying communications and advertising at Loyola. “They came to Loyola this spring and we put a pretty good beating on them. I remember thinking after that game that we're pretty legit. This is real. We're a real good team this year. We've got to get there.”
A late recruit, Schultz said he knew Loyola had lots of talent when he signed with the Baltimore school. It was only a matter of it coming together. The title run was even more meaningful given his longtime love for the Greyhounds. He finished the season with one goal and three assists in 12 games.
“I had been a big Loyola fan,” he said. “I had been to games even before I knew Loyola was an option for school. It was always a dream school for me.”
Schultz said the feeling of winning a national title hasn't quite worn off yet, especially when he coaches the Maryland Ruff Riders U-15 camp, where a majority of the players' parents are Maryland alums.
Along with recognizing the support of his teammates and coaching staff, Schultz was quick to mention the team's fans. At the national championship game, the fans, literally, supported him.
“The support at Loyola is amazing considering we're so much smaller than other schools. I think we might have had the most fans of any school in the Final Four, if not the loudest,” he said.
Then, in the aftermath of winning the championship, Schultz cemented himself in Loyola lore.
“We were in front of the Maryland fans and I remember looking over and seeing our student section going nuts. I sprinted over toward them and Lambeau Leaped into the stands,” Schultz said. “The security guys told me I had to get down and I had to get out, but everyone started doing it and we were mixing players and students. They didn't know who was who.”
Thus, the Loyola Leap was born. And Schultz, a rising junior, still has two more years to think of new ways to celebrate another potential national title.