Woodward proving himself as defensive leader early in collegiate career

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Woodward proving himself as defensive leader early in collegiate career

Mason Woodward (77) warming up in Marquette 11-10 win over Bellarmine on Feb. 8.

Mason Woodward (77) warming up in Marquette 11-10 win over Bellarmine on Feb. 8.

Photo by Maddy Andresen

Mason Woodward (77) warming up in Marquette 11-10 win over Bellarmine on Feb. 8.

Photo by Maddy Andresen

Photo by Maddy Andresen

Mason Woodward (77) warming up in Marquette 11-10 win over Bellarmine on Feb. 8.

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A family tradition, an urge to play and a supportive team — these are the words used by Marquette men’s lacrosse first-year defenseman Mason Woodward to describe his draw to the sport.

Woodward said lacrosse runs in his blood.

“My mom, aunt, uncles and cousins all played (lacrosse),” Woodward said. “So I grew up in a lacrosse family. I was first introduced to the sport (when I was) around 3-years-old, and it was always something I enjoyed doing.” 

Woodward has proven that lacrosse is a part of who he is. The Towson, Maryland, native has been able to fit right into the environment and mentality of the team despite being so new to the program. 

“I fell in love with the culture that Marquette created and the coaches,” Woodward said. “The team that they have built is something special, especially with the program being fairly new at Marquette. It’s nice to be able to say I’m a part of it.”

The first-year defenseman walked away with impressive stats in his collegiate debut in an 11-10 overtime decision Feb. 1 against Cleveland State. He tallied a total of eight ground balls, which is tied for the program’s single-game record. He also caused three turnovers in the matchup.

“Since he has stepped foot on this campus, he has worked hard, been coachable, a good teammate and has pushed the whole unit to become better,” Marquette head coach Andrew Stimmel said. 

His college debut did not go unnoticed by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association either. He was named to the USILA/Warrior and New Balance Division I Team of the Week after his performance. 

Woodward was entirely unaware of his USILA team nod up until his mom told him. He said he was incredibly humbled and that the best feeling was receiving support from his coaches, teammates and family and friends back home. 

Early on in his collegiate career, Woodward showed immense ability to cover the ball, make plays and finish possessions during the preseason and the season opener, Stimmel said.

“He is a mature kid who works hard every day and wants to be great,” Stimmel said. “Although he is a freshman, he is not looked at as one. He is looked at as a really good defender and lacrosse player in general.”

In the team’s home opener Feb. 8 against Bellarmine, Woodward contributed to the team’s 11-10 win, with two ground balls and a team-high of three caused turnovers.

Aside from being an impact player on the field, Woodward said he likes to take time to relax off the field. He said he’s easygoing, commenting that he likes to just have fun and hang out with friends. 

With the spring season underway, Woodward has shown the ability to be a key piece for the young team. 

“My goals are to be a team player and hopefully be a helpful addition to the team in order to be successful this season,” Woodward said.

Woodward has another chance to step up in the team’s upcoming game Saturday against Jacksonville.

This article was written by Molly Gretzlock. She can be reached at molly.gretzlock@marquette.edu or on Twitter @MGretzlock.