When junior midfielder Will Snider’s father told him to rebuild his next door neighbor’s fence growing up in his hometown of Seattle, it wasn’t a neighborly favor, but instead retribution for too many passes gone awry.
Alongside his older brother Drew, who graduated from the Maryland in 2012 as a senior captain and currently plays professionally as an all-star for the Denver Outlaws, Will grew up with a lacrosse stick in his hands.
Constantly throwing the ball back and forth off the bounce-back lax wall, the Snider brothers would take turns knocking out slots in Mrs. Miller’s backyard fence after missing the training target.
“Being seven years younger, it was mostly me that would miss,” Will admitted with a reminiscent smile.
Both Will and Drew have become much more precise since practicing together all those years ago.
Finding his way
Tasked with following Drew’s footsteps of as a three-year starter and prolific goalscorer, Will has started to find his way with the Maryland offense. He made his first career start last Saturday against Michigan.
Snider stepped in to replace senior midfielder Colin Giblin who head coach John Tillman said got dinged up in the North Carolina game. Both Giblin and Snider have ascended from the practice squad to see significant playing time this season.
“We always tell our guys, if you do a great job on scout team and you’re successful against some of our better players that you’re playing against our starters,” Tillman said,” “it should put you in position on gameday that you should have some confidence.”
Tillman attributed both Giblin and Snider’s recent rise in game action to their consistency in practice, something that was lacking during their underclassmen years. It’s an adjustment that comes with juggling both the college experience both on and off the field, Tillman said.
“That’s sort of the imperfect science of recruiting,” said Tillman. “Sometimes it takes guys a little bit longer to develop and play at this level. Maybe it’s getting a little bit stronger, maybe the game slows down, or adjusting to being on your own.”
For Snider, Tillman explained the big difference in the speed of play between Seattle and the East Coast was a major reason for the adjustment time.
“Being a guy not from a hotbed area for lacrosse has definitely hindered my game coming in,” Snider said. “I was making a lot of mistakes in practice and wasn’t making the right play or the smart play. I think those first two years of the scout team, and scout this year, has definitely helped me mature as a player and let the game come to me.”
Snider has let the game come to him as a part of his maturation process during his junior season, something that was lacking in previous years.
“Early on, I thought I had to make a crazy play every time I had the ball, like scoring a goal or an assist or making a skip pass or something like that,” Snider said. “And something I’ve learned playing with good players, you don’t need to make that play every time. Sometimes the smart play is to just dodge down the alley and move the ball down to X. They’re not asking me to shoot every time I have the ball.”
Snider’s adjustment to the college game resembles that of his older brother Drew, who after redshirting his sophomore season, was named the team’s most improved player the next season. The two brothers still keep in contact regularly, as both Drew and their father Kris, who played at the University of Virginia, drop Will notes on his performance after games.
Lacrosse out West
Will grew up watching Maryland lacrosse after learning of their interest in Drew during his time spent in a prep school on the East Coast, a step that had to be taken due to the lack of lacrosse in the state of Washington at the time.
However, Will never had that problem. His father, Kris, laid out the foundation by forming the first elementary school lacrosse program in the state, coaching both Will and Drew during their early years of development as well.
“That was all being built when my brother was young so that was all well-established when I was in high school,” Snider said. “And even during my brother’s senior year of high school there were maybe 20 teams. For me, there were 50 in two leagues, D1 and D2. Now there’s like 80 and it’s really picked up.”
One of Snider’s good friends on the team, sophomore close defenseman Jack Welding, a Texas native in his first full season as a starter, said it was great to see Snider’s competitive edge come to light. There are players from all over the country on this No. 2 Maryland lacrosse roster making significant impacts, as Washington, California, Utah and Texas are all represented.
“I think it’s pretty cool to see the game move away from hotbeds like Maryland and New York and growing everywhere across the country,” Welding said. “It’s hard to adapt, I’m not gonna lie. The speed of the game, coming from Texas, I’m not really used to this kind of play.”
When asked why lacrosse has been able to move westward, Welding said alumni, especially from Maryland, have helped spread the game by teaching better fundamentals to the next generation. With several former Terps spreading the game out west, Drew Snider has started his own club lacrosse program called CitySide Lax to pass his game onto the next crop of players, as well as help Washington’s elite get recruited.
Still, a difference between the two coasts exists. Yet, Will Snider noticed a lack of athleticism isn’t the factor holding back western recruits.
“The West Coast has really had this stigma of just being athletes and guys that aren’t as smart as the east coast players, which I think is definitely true,” Snider said. “But I think now we are taking that next step of being more cerebral players on the west coast, and that’s really shown the past couple years.”
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