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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Whitlow shines in summer pro lacrosse league

The redshirt senior finished third on his team in points
Photo by Alicia Mojica
(Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics)

The Marquette men’s lacrosse season ended with a Big East tournament loss to Georgetown, but midfielder Kyle Whitlow’s year of lacrosse was just half way through.

Whitlow, an Orilla, Ontario native, spent the summer with the Brooklin Redmen of Major Series Lacrosse, one of two top Canadian indoor summer lacrosse leagues. He finished third on the team in points with 15 goals and 21 assists in 18 games, trailing shoe-in future Hall of Famer Shawn Williams and Mike Teeter.

“He progressed way above normal,” said Wayne Colley, the general manager and head coach of the Redmen. “When you go from Jr. A to our level it’s a great learning curve, and he adjusted quite well.”

It was a real test for Whitlow, who aged out of the junior league.

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“It was a great learning experience,” Whitlow said. “I knew it would help me with my future in box lacrosse. Plus coming back here for my senior year, playing against men is definitely an advantage.”

He battled some of the top players in the sport, including Brodie Merrill, his former coach at The Hill Academy. In addition to Williams and Teeter, the Redmen roster featured well-known lacrosse players like defenseman Derek Suddons, goalie Mike Poulin and forward Kiel Matisz. However, the team had a disappointing season, finishing fifth in the six-team league.

Indoor lacrosse, also known as box lacrosse, is played on a turf field that has the same dimensions as an ice hockey rink. The smaller space emphasizes stick handling in confined spaces, and the much larger goalie equipment calls for pinpoint shot accuracy. Box lacrosse hones a different set of skills, which can come in handy when transitioning back to the outdoor game’s larger field. Many collegiate coaches are recruiting Canadians for their heightened ability around the crease.

“He had poise around the net,” Colley said. “He didn’t panic. He played as a kid in junior, where he became an adult. Now he’s a kid in an adults league. He retained that poise at our level.”

Whitlow, a redshirt senior, enjoys switching between the two styles, as it always keeps him on his toes. He said it usually takes him a few days to get back in rhythm, especially when it comes to scoring goals.

He’s been playing box lacrosse far longer than outdoor, which isn’t uncommon in Ontario. He began playing when he was three years old. He’s been playing every year since, including stints with Orilla Kings at the Jr. B level and the Barrie Lakeshores at the Jr. A level. He was the Ontario Lacrosse Association’s Rookie of the Year while with Orilla. Brooklin selected him in the fourth round of the 2015 MSL draft.

Colley considered him much more than a typical fourth rounder from the start.

“I had him pegged in the top three of the whole draft,” he said. “I traded my first round pick away, and (Whitlow and fellow draft pick T.J. Sanders) were still available. It was incredible… You’ve got to look at other people’s rosters to see how they will pick. I knew that (Whitlow and Sanders) would still be there.”

Whitlow will be eligible for the National Lacrosse League draft next September. The NLL is the top level of indoor professional lacrosse, consisting of nine teams across the United States and Canada. If he’s selected, he’d join Tyler Melnyk and Andrew Smistad on the list of Marquette players selected in the league’s draft.

“It’s my expectation (to go pro),” Whitlow said. “I plan on entering the draft once I’m done here at Marquette. I’m not trying to think about it too much, but I know I definitely want to have that in my future.”

He returns to the Golden Eagles in excellent shape, something coach Joe Amplo should be happy about.

“He just told me ‘don’t get hurt,’” Whitlow joked. “Other than that, I think he’s happy that I’m keeping my stick in my hand all summer… It’s great to finish up the field season, get two weeks off, and then go right to box.”

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