When asked about his two sons, Derek and Dylan, playing their collegiate lacrosse at Syracuse University, father, Derek Maltz, Sr. joked and said, "They were a little bit brainwashed."
He alluded to the the basement decked out in that infamous Syracuse orange color and the long family tradition of playing the sport that may or may not have influenced their decision.
However, the last name will ring a bell with most Syracuse lacrosse fans. Derek, Sr. was a player on the 1983 National Championship team. He was given the opportunity to walk on and made the most of it, making the team all four years. Derek, Jr., the oldest, starts on attack for the Orange and currently leads the team with 28 goals. Dylan is poised to join Syracuse in the fall, a reunion of sorts since their last pairing in high school.
Growing up on Long Island, playing with fiddle sticks and Fisher Price goals were the norm as tots. Stories and memories, including the one of Derek and Dylan as ball boys in 2003 for the 20th anniversary honoring the 1983 team is one for the ages in the Maltz household.
"But in all seriousness," he said, "Both Derek and Dylan had this incredible passion for lacrosse. They made their own decisions. They knew if they wanted to reach their goals of playing at a top program they had to work hard and do well in school. Both of them didn't want to be just good lacrosse players, they wanted to be good students as well as leaders in the community."
Dylan, now a senior at Stone Bridge (VA) High School, committed to Syracuse as a sophomore. He admits that he did his homework and thoroughly talked the situation over with his parents and brother.
"Honestly, I really thought long and hard about it" he said, "I really loved all the coaches and organizations. Ever since I was two years old I always wanted to play for Syracuse lacrosse, but at the same time, I wasn't going to base my decision off of family legacy."
He continued, "I definitely felt a big relief. At the same time, though, I knew I would have to work that much harder to try and prove myself to people."
Stone Bridge varsity head coach Scott Mitchell said he started fielding calls from some of the top lacrosse schools at the end of Dylan's sophomore season campaign.
"I wanted to make sure that Dylan and his family were aware of all of the conversations that I had." Mitchell said. "I summed up the talks that we had not long after so that Mr. Maltz was aware of what coaches were thinking and that Dylan was aware of his choices. It was a blessing for Dylan to get such positive exposure, but we also wanted to make sure that it didn't go to his head."
Mitchell explains that the coaching staff treated Dylan no different than the rest of the team… even if a few Division I coaches were on the sidelines.
"As a matter of fact," he said, "Dylan carried the water jug for most of his junior season."
The Stone Bridge lacrosse record books were rewritten this year, too, as Dylan topped his brother in career assists, goals and points. The senior admits that there were no hard feelings, just some friendly completion between two brothers.
The attack duo in high school was unstoppable, mainly because of their different playing styles. Dylan, primarily a dodger, tries to draw the defensive slides and takes pride in quarterbacking the offense while Derek is great moving off ball and makes his lacrosse living on the crease.
"My brother has such a great IQ of the game," Dylan said. "He knows where to be, where the defense isn't going to be and knows how to get himself open."
The combination, according to Mitchell, proved to be a lethal one when it came to putting away its opponents.
"They just had a keen understanding of where the other one was, where they were going, and what they were trying to do. Their innate synchronicity added a dimension to the team that we didn't have before, but more importantly, teams couldn't adequately prepare for."
Mitchell also points out Dylan's greatest asset as the leader of this Stone Bridge team: his clutch gene. Despite what the casual observer might talk about, his quickness, field vision or his ability to get the cage, it's his tenacity to get that extra goal, ground ball, clear or a face off win. He is a player that they turn to in crunch time.
As both Derek and Dylan are gearing up for playoffs at the respective levels, the excitement is already there for next season for the brothers and the chance to play one last time together.
"If what we saw during Derek's senior and Dylan's freshman season is any indication," Mitchell said, "then the Syracuse fans are in for a treat."
Maltz Brothers will team up once more
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