USA Profile: Matt Abbott
College: Syracuse University
Professional: Chesapeake Bayhawks.
Syracuse hit a gold mine with their Class of 2009, winning two championships and producing a number of professionals. Not many people would have thought that the last one standing in the professional ranks would have been Matt Abbott. The midfielder out of Nottingham, New York became an entity in college sports that many coaches would do anything to get their hands on.
In class with a multitude of goal scorers like Kenny Nims, Dan Hardy, and Pat Perritt, Matt Abbott’s presence was not a headline like the rest, but his presence was felt more than any other player that year for what he did all round for his team. Abbott was on the wing for face-offs, played man down defense, was on defense regularly, ran offensive positions, took face-offs, and legged more minutes and miles on the field than most thought was possible. Even in the run-n-gun style offense, he was able to stay out on the field for long shifts.
A freshman season showed the prowess he had to be a do-it-all midfielder for the legendary Syracuse program. His team made their way to the National Semi Final with a host of freshmen logging significant minutes, which would only help lead them to future success. His sophomore season left a lot to be desired. Abbott’s play continued to provide a foundation, but the team did not fare out as the Orange faithful would have liked posting a below .500 winning percentage on the season.
Walking into his years as an upperclassman, Abbott was poised for stardom. He would be a deciding factor in where the Orange would end their season, in doing so also his career. The Orange came to Homewood Field looking for a win at Johns Hopkins, a win that had eluded them numerous times in Baltimore. Abbott lead his team to a victory by playing tough defense on Blue Jay team that was dominant in the midfield. He scored a goal and stayed on the field to exploit offensive possibilities against offensive middies from Hopkins.
The best awaited Matt Abbott as his team entered the NCAA Playoffs with only two losses on the season. Syracuse came back against Virginia in one of the most dramatic finishes in recent history during Memorial Weekend. The Orange got a decisive boost from Abbott’s transition opportunities and tired out the Virginia midfielders on his way to a three goal performance. His team ended the season hoisting the National Championship trophy after defeating Hopkins 13-10.
His senior year led to much of the same, but Abbott continued to be successful in his role with the team. After producing twenty-one points on thirteen goals and eight assists during his junior campaign, he posted his career high in points with twenty-three. His game was equally adept to scoring and passing. His skills and athleticism on the field helped guide his Orange to their second straight national championship, The Orange had seen a rise in three years from sub .500 to two-time National Champion. Much of that was on the work Abbott put in for his team. He ended his career in Orange with sixty-seven points, 212 ground balls, First Team All-American, All Lowe’s Senior Class Finalist, an Academic All-American, and a Tewaaraton Award Finalist.
Abbott moved onto the professional ranks as somewhat of a question mark. Could his skill set be used in the pro game as it was in college? The doubts were there, but he silenced those questions quickly. His work against the best players in the world only proves what kind of lacrosse player Abbott is. His skills can be utilized and his athleticism cannot be questioned. He continues to run offensive sets, play against the best midfielders in the game, and run through a host of players trying to stop him on each clear. His work in transition has become the standard in the game for defensive minded midfielders.
As the Champions Challenged loomed, Matt Abbott has continued to ascend to the top of the lacrosse game. He is a calming presence on the field and he works seamlessly within any offensive and defensive system his coaches implore. Those who viewed the intra-squad scrimmage walked away with the feeling that Matt Abbott solidified himself as one of the best players in the world. He impressed fans, coaches, and teammates alike. His selfless play on the field and quiet persona has given lacrosse a hero that everyone can follow.
Matt Abbott walked away from Syracuse with two titles. He currently holds two with the Bayhawks. After his debut with Team USA, he might be able to add to his mounting collection of trophies and in doing so, allowing fans of lacrosse to see one of the best athletes in the game get his shot at being the best in the world.
– Brian Davies