What can be said about the emergence of Eric Law in the last 12 months? A high school All-American, Division III midfielder, a third option on a good attack line, field quarterback for an NCAA Semi-Finalist, a regular on a stacked Denver Outlaws rosters, and now making the cut to 52 for the United States World Team. That might be the definition of a journeyman. I had a chance to see Law play his freshman season in Salisbury, Maryland and I am not sure anyone who did could have predicted this kind of success.
Eric Law headed to Salisbury University in Maryland as a highly touted recruit. Player of the Year back in Colorado, it seemed interesting that Salisbury landed a recruit with that kind of background. Typically his resume would make Division I the only stop for a player. Law came to the Eastern Shore and worked his way into a deep Salisbury team that was in the midst of an epic run of NCAA titles in the past decade. On the roster as an attackman, the team was well stacked at that position. The starting three attackman had produced over 64 points each that season and had earned their roles from the work they put in during the prior seasons on the shore.
Where would Law fit into the Sea Gulls plan for the season? As it came to the time when my Stevenson team would play against their bitter rival at Salisbury, Law was a second line midfielder. An injury to his shoulder might have prevented him from moving up the ladder further, but he had earned his way on the field for the National Semi-Final against Stevenson, which was the third time these rivals would play this season. He did not have any points during the game, but just being out there meant that he was a productive member of the team. Nothing screamed out to our sideline that he would become what he has now. He was an effective player, but he not someone that could take over a game at that point.
That season ended with Salisbury losing to Tufts in the NCAA Final. Law had completed his first and last season on the Division III level. He was ready to return home and make his mark on his hometown team, the Denver Pioneers. The world between these two programs could not be more night and day. From the campus, to location, and to the style of play the two implore.
Eric Law must have felt a surge of energy and enthusiasm being able to play back in his hometown. After nine points as a freshman on the Division III roster, he had a break through season with 31 points, again as a midfielder. A natural attackman was doing the best with learning the ins and outs of a new position just heading into college. Midfielders on Salisbury’s roster to Denver’s could not be more different in approach. It was like having a new offensive coordinator in football after just learning the playbook from your rookie season.
In the biggest game of the year, the NCAA Semi-Final, Law had his best production on the field. He ended the game with two goals and three assists. A good foreshadowing to how his career would evolve.
The evolution came to be the field quarterback on an excellent and balanced Pioneer’s team. Early in the season, he began his rise to legendary status scoring early and often. With his production consistent, the numbers that the team produced were mirroring that of teams that had won the NCAA title in years past.
The elevation to legend in NCAA lacrosse came during the NCAA Quarterfinal versus North Carolina in this year’s NCAA tournament. Down early, the team clawed its way back to tie the game late in the contest. What would then happen might have been the karma for someone who has worked so hard on improving his game. Watching the game, the crowd’s heart skipped a beat when the save came. The rebound came to Law and he finished the play, putting the ball into the back of the net before taking a vicious hit from a Carolina defenseman.
Even though the season did not end in a championship, Eric Law’s name became known in circles around lacrosse like it was the next fad. Making his way into playing for his hometown professional team, the Denver Outlaws was the next step in the process.
Law ended the season with an incredible performance in the Semi-Finals against the Charlotte Hounds. He played that day, just as he had started his career, early perfect. The first two games of the year, he missed just one shot and provided a steady option on attack. During the Semi-Final, he was the offense for the Outlaws. Previously undefeated and the top seed, the Outlaws had a host of injuries that finally caught up with them. Law on the day though scored nine goals. He must have seen the goal as large as the ocean. He couldn’t be stopped.
Now the ascension has continued to the Team USA Tryout Camp later in the summer. One of the younger players out there, he proved his worth and development. Law made the initial cut down to 52, which means he will suit up against college competition in the next few weeks to determine if he can continue the dream of playing for his country. Not a bad last twelve months, let alone four years in college.
This might be the Rudy kind of story that Team USA builds around. Here is a man that played midfield for half of his career, spent his first year at attack in the shadows, and became the leader of a NCAA Semi-Finalist. His production and development have improved each year and it has lifted him to the point where he is becoming a household name in the sport. Kids still talk about his Semi-Final success in the pros, his quarterfinal heroism against the heavily favored North Carolina squad, and even some remember his All-America days in Araphoe in Colorado.
We all wish the best to Eric Law and his quest to make the World Team. With the names that have dominated lacrosse headlines for years coming and going, Eric Law could be one of the better stories of success that comes from hard work and dedication to a craft.