He was the first overall pick in the Major League Lacrosse draft in January, but Tom Schreiber ’14 doesn’t like talking about himself. “It was cool — it was an honor,” he said. “There have been a lot of great players who have had that title.”
The midfielder leads the men’s lacrosse team, ranked No. 19, in goals and assists and is described by head coach Chris Bates as a “dynamic, multi-dimensional, competitive” player who can create a shot whenever he wants. Perhaps as importantly, Schreiber knows when another play could create a better shot and is quick to spread the wealth.
“For the position he plays, he’s unique in terms of how well he distributes the ball,” Bates said. “To have a quarterback from the midfield is pretty rare.”
Schreiber wasted no time in becoming a major part of Princeton’s offense, earning Ivy League Rookie of the Year and All-Ivy honors in 2011. He has led the Tigers in points for the last three seasons, racking up enough assists in 2013 to have the most overall points despite scoring 15 fewer goals than Mike MacDonald ’15. Always a leader on the field, he said he has matured as an upperclassman on a relatively young team.
“It’s very easy to just lead by example or just yell at a guy if he’s not working hard, but something Coach has taught all the leaders on the team is to circle back with a lot of guys after practice in the locker room,” Schreiber said.
“People follow him just by the very nature of who he is,” Bates said. “We’re trying to help him see how he can demand more of others — he demands so much of himself. Sometimes that’s hard when you’re the very best player out there, to feel like you can demand [excellence] of others.”
Schreiber is not allowed to have contact with the MLL team that drafted him, the Ohio Machine, until after the season. For now, he is concerned with winning the Ivy League Tournament in May, in which the top four teams in the league compete. Narrow losses to No. 14 Yale March 22 and Brown March 29 left the Tigers tied for fourth place in the league. They likely would need to beat Dartmouth and either No. 2 Cornell or Harvard to secure a place in the tournament.
Princeton, which has notched quality wins over Villanova and No. 13 Penn, ranks second in the Ivy League in scoring, averaging just under 13 points per game. Attackers MacDonald and Ryan Ambler ’16 are among the top 10 in the league in assists, and midfielder Jake Froccaro ’16 tied a 63-year-old school record by scoring 10 goals against Yale.
Still, the Tigers know they can’t afford to make mistakes. “Offensively, I think we just have to be a little smarter with the ball,” Schreiber said. “Defensively, we’re young, so I think those guys’ getting a little more experience will help us.”
“I know we’re hungry,” Bates said. “If we prepare like an underdog, that’s going to serve us well.”