Ladner lacrosse player doesn't miss a beat with SFU team
New school. New classes. New temporary home. New team.
Despite all the changes that Ladner's Sam Clare has encountered since starting studies at SFU last fall, the freshman lacrosse standout hasn't seemed to miss a beat.
Midway through the team's season the still 18-year-old—his birthday is in December—midfielder is among the top scorers and is emerging as a leader on a young team.
"Sam is off to a fantastic start," said SFU lacrosse head coach Brent Hoskins. "He's an incredible athlete. We also had the opportunity to work with Sam When he was in high school and it's been really nice to see him utilize his great athleticism and be able to transition to the college level and step and make an immediate impact."
Clare certainly did just that Saturday (March 3) as he bagged a hat trick in a 20-13 loss to the Oregon Ducks at SFU.
To date, Clare had racked up 13 goals and three assists over seven games, good for second place in team scoring.
"The transition into university, I wouldn't say has been really hard," said Clare who was named to a list of the 50 top young lacrosse players in Canada in 2010 and was among the South Delta Leader's 30 Under 30 last year. "I'm living with my brother (Nate) out in Coquitlam and he's been through the entire process (university) and he helped me pick my classes."
That's clearly worked as Clare finished up the first semester in general arts with a 2.9 GPA.
On the field Clare said he has also taken comfort in already playing against some talented teams, such as last year's champions from Brigham Young University.
"In my first two weeks of lacrosse here I've seen the best team, so now it doesn't seem has hard as I thought it would be," said Clare who registered a pair of goals and an assist against BYU. "That was a pretty good game because we only lost 14-10."
Hoskins said Clare has done much more than not missing a beat after making the jump to the university level.
"Since we first started working with him he's continued to show rapid improvement," Hoskins said. "He's always been a very high level player. Even from his Grade 12 year to where he's at now, he's also continued to improve dramatically."
Aside from the numbers Clare has been able to post, Hoskins said the Ladner product fits in well with a young SFU team that has no senior players on the roster.
"We only have six juniors, and the rest are underclassmen. So, it's an environment where we rely a lot on our younger players as well for their leadership."
That component of his game could arguably be owed to genetics as Clare's older brother, Nate, was a senior captain with the SFU side last year.
"I think it was a situation where Sam felt really comfortable with the team and the program. He also played with a number of our local players who are also currently on the team. And he definitely embraced the opportunity to step up and be a leader for us on and off the field."
But dealing with a game at a higher level in university has provide a learning curve as Clare said he marvels at some of the slick play from opposing teams.
"Looking at our schedule right now, we've played four teams that are ranked in the top 25 in the country," he said. "And you can totally tell that those teams are polished. Everything they do is perfect. If there's a fast break, or a four on three, it's all stick to stick passing and it ends up in the back of our net."
While that's not the desired end result, Clare says the young SFU team has a lot of potential to grow over the seasons and become a contender, ideally with his help.
"I'm hoping that if I keep producing like I am that maybe they can look to me as that 'go-to' guy in the big games," he said.