After graduating from Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in 2012, Graham Dabbs planned to attend the U.S. Naval Academy to play lacrosse.
But after verbally committing to the Midshipmen and spending a season at the Salisbury School in Connecticut, Dabbs’ college plans changed. For reasons that Dabbs politely declined to disclose to The Gazette, the Damascus native was in search for a new place to play lacrosse.
So he got in touch with a longtime mentor, Richie Meade, who had recently been hired by Furman (S.C.) University to start up a men’s lacrosse program. Meade had developed a solid relationship with the family, having coached Dabbs’ older brother, Bryce, from 2009-13 at Navy. So it proved to be a natural fit
“Coach Meade had helped me out the entire recruiting process whether he was recruiting me or not,” Dabbs said. “... My parents love Coach Meade, I love Coach Meade.”
While Furman (0-3) has experienced the expected growing pains of a young, first-year varsity team, Dabbs, individually, has started fast as a freshman with significant responsibility on the field. In three games — all starts — the 5-foot-10, 160-pound attacker has recorded eight points (three goals, five assists) on nine shots.
“I didn’t expect to start,” said Dabbs, who added he is interested in majoring in accounting. “I expected to be competing for a spot. ... Coach Meade told me a lot of good players would be coming in.”
Meade says Dabbs is well-respected amongst his teammates, has a strong first step, distributes the ball well and is a “better shooter than we thought.”
“He’s probably our best offensive player here,” Meade said.
Dabbs says the team is building off every mistake and knows finding consistent success will be a growing process for the Paladins, who have a difficult nonconference schedule before beginning Atlantic Sun competition, Furman has lost to nationally-ranked Lehigh (13-6) and North Carolina (19-3) as well as Air Force (15-6). Dabbs is scheduled to return to the area on Saturday when Furman is expected to play Army at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.
“From the first game to now we’ve definitely improved,” Dabbs said “... We don’t have room for individuals here.”
At Good Counsel, Dabbs, who played club lacrosse for Madlax, earned All-Washington Catholic Athletic Conference honorable mention honors twice.