Drew Schantz looks for continued success in junior year
Connor Mulvena | Thursday, September 27, 2018
Just earlier this year, in April of 2018, the Notre Dameon its second ACC title, beating a highly-ranked No. 11 Virginia team in a convincing 17-7 victory. The Irish had struggled with success due to injuries and other factors during the early stages of the season, but ultimately came together at the right time when it mattered in the postseason. The Irish have many key players and weapons on their team that helped them to their ACC title, and one of those key players is senior midfielder Drew Schantz.
Schantz, the son of Terry and Tammy Schantz, is from Allentown, Pennsylvania, where he played many sports as a kid, and lacrosse was not always at the top of his list.
“Growing up I played the stereotypical football, basketball and baseball. A bunch of my football buddies started playing lacrosse in third grade so I gave it a try; I hated it and lasted two days,” Schantz said. “I kept playing baseball until sixth grade. I officially didn’t start playing lacrosse until fall of seventh grade and since then I’ve been fully invested in the sport.”
After identifying lacrosse as his main sport, Schantz attended Malvern Prep, where he lettered for four years on the lacrosse team under head coach John McEvoy. It didn’t take long for colleges to take notice of his lacrosse abilities. After his freshman season, Schantz had already received many looks from colleges, but it was just about trying to narrow his choices down to find the college that was right for him.
“Notre Dame saw me at a recruiting event the summer after my freshman year,” Schantz said. “That summer I was bouncing around from tournaments on the weekends to college visits during the week. Because Notre Dame was so far away I never got a chance to visit it in the summer. After visiting every school in the summer I narrowed down my top three schools that I would go back and visit in September of my sophomore year when school was in session and added Notre Dame to that list as well. I did my second visit to the other three schools in early September and Notre Dame was my last visit. As soon as I stepped on campus I knew it was where I needed and wanted to be. I committed as soon as the plane landed back in Philly that Sunday night.”
Although Schantz committed relatively early in high school, he showed no complacency during the rest of career at Malvern, as his game continued to grow while he earned many awards and honors as a one of the more prominent high school lacrosse players in Pennsylvania. He earned All-Eastern Pennsylvania Scholastic Lacrosse Association selection, first team All-Inter-Ac pick and a U.S Lacrosse High School All-American during his senior year in 2015.
Sometimes it is hard for an athlete to make the transition from high school to the college game. But it didn’t take Schantz too long to get acclimated as he played in all 15 games as a freshman while recording three goals, four assists, 18 ground balls, and seven caused turnovers from the midfield. After a year of getting used to the college game, Schantz took his game to a whole new level during his sophomore season posting career highs six goals, five assists, 20 ground balls, and eight turnovers. While posting career highs in numerous categories, Schantz was recognized as one of the top players midfielders in the country by earning the USILA Third Team All-American, Inside Lacrosse Honorable Mention All-American and Inside Lacrosse Midseason Second Team All-American.
While having plenty of success during his first two seasons with the Irish, the only thing missing was a championship, and in 2018, Schantz’s junior year, Notre Dame found a way to win the ACC championship for the second time in school history against Virginia while facing a plethora of adversity throughout the season.
“Last year was a year full of ups and downs for our team,” Schantz said. “I thought we had all of the talent needed to get to championship weekend in May. Our team hit a major low in March/April when we were struck by injuries to our starting lineup. It wasn’t until the ACC tournament that we hit our stride. We went down to Charlottesville, [Virginia], and balled out. We took down a very tough Duke team in the semifinals and advanced to the championship on Sunday against a powerful Virginia team. We went out that day and had fun and played our best lacrosse of the season and won the ACC championship. It was such an awesome experience and something I will never forget.”
After three seasons as a midfielder for the Irish, Schantz’s college career has been a successful one, earning individual honors and an ACC championship. In order to have this success, Schantz sticks to what he does best on the field and plays his role to the best of his ability, even though it doesn’t always get significant recognition.
“My position is a unique position in lacrosse. Short-stick defensive midfield [SSDM] is a position that is vital to a team’s success, does a lot of the dirty work, but gets very little recognition. But I love it,” Schantz said. “We’re not the goal scorers or the flashy guys out on the field but if you know the game of lacrosse, you know that SSDMs are an important part to a team. My strengths are in the clearing and transition game. I love having the ball in my stick in the open field running it down and making plays happen in transition. I’ve made such a great connection with No. 50 Ryder Garnsey in transition. Him and I know how to work off each other and know when it’s the good time to push it or not.”
The 6-foot, 195-pound midfielder will look to continue to use his blue-collar style of play going forward into his senior season with the Irish, which will also be another season with high expectations.
“I have high expectations for this season,” Schantz “I’m really excited to see the younger guys step up to the plate and contribute more. We have strong leadership with the upperclassmen and the underclassmen are strong players and will be great this year. The rule changes play to our advantage as a team. We are a team full of two-way midfielders who can score goals and be lock down on defense, which will be critical with the new rules. I’m looking forward to seeing new guys shine. Our team chemistry this year is the strongest its been since I’ve been here and that’s vital to having a successful season.”
Even though Schantz is known for being a big part of Notre Dame’s lacrosse team, he is also looking to earn his degree in the spring as well.
“I’m a management consulting major in the Mendoza school of business,” Schantz said. “I am hoping to get involved in the commercial real estate industry after college.”
Although the spring is still months away, it will be worth the wait for Schantz as he has many things to look forward to as he looks to earn his degree, defend the ACC championship and possibly win a national championship as he finishes out his career with the Irish.