Confidence booster

Syracuse freshman, Syrrus Nash, a midfielder out of Tully, N.Y., has come into his own over the last few years. He talks to about gaining confidence on the field, playing alongside his younger brother, Adrian, and more inside.

Looking back, Syrrus Nash thinks he just didn't give himself enough credit for his play on the lacrosse field.

"At first, I didn't really know my capabilities in the sport, I just loved playing and I still do," Syrrus said. "The support of my family and close friends put me on the right path to playing at this level. I still don't know exactly my potential I just know that the limits are slim to none with hard work and practice over the next few years. I was always a reserved player before the last two years and that slowed me down."

Nash's dream of playing at a major Division I lacrosse school seemed all but a distance fantasy for the midfielder.

"Going to a small school I felt the chances of me playing Division I ball were pretty slim," Nash said. "Basically, it was a confidence issue. It wasn't until after I started playing for clubs outside of the community with top prospects that I realized that I could hang with the best of them. After that, I started to applying myself more and I changed completely."

In his own words, when he was pulled up to the varsity as a sophomore he still didn't have "enough confidence as a player to contribute as much."

Coincidentally, though, Syrrus said that he became more comfortable in his own skin when his younger brother, Adrian, was also brought up to varsity his freshman year during (Syrrus's junior year).

"Playing with Adrian in high school was when I was at my best," Syrrus said. "It was a combination of the knowledge of each other's games, the intangibles, and a brotherly competition when we played."

He continued, "As I did my first year on varsity, he was trying to find his role on the team and therefore, was more reserved than he should have been as well. It wasn't until my senior year that we were both fully up and running I would say. Thankfully, he has two more years left in high school to develop. Needless to say, he is ahead of schedule."

Syrrus has always taken pride in teaching Adrian when it came to the sport.

"I've played more lacrosse and have more experience," Syrrus said. "I know that if I teach him everything I know he'll grow up to be even better."

When it comes to the brother's play, Syrrus points out that he and Adrian have very contrasting play styles which helped out his high school team out tremendously the last few seasons.

"He is more of a finesse and skill oriented player whereas I sometimes resemble a football player in lacrosse gear," he said. "We learn from each other in this way. He is seeking to improve his physicality and for me, it is the lacrosse specific skill set to improve."

In his junior and senior years at Tully (N.Y.), he shined, netting 53 goals, dished out 39 assists and scooped up 187 ground balls. The well-rounded, balanced seasons had Syracuse taking notice.

"The recruiting process was a very new experience," Syrrus said. "Getting calls and emails from coaches and going on visits was surreal because I'm the oldest of four children, so no one has done it before. My parents definitely made it a ton easier by guiding me and advising my decisions. Going through this with me made it a lot easier for Adrian getting recruited."

"When I got the call from Syracuse," he said, "I jumped at the chance to play for the Orange. I took a visit soon after where Coach Lelan Rodgers showed my family and I around the sports facilities at Manley. I also met the rest of the coaching staff as well."

Before even stepping onto Syracuse's campus, Syrrus knew that this was the school he wanted to play for.

"All the tradition at the school and the hype associated with the name had a great impact on my decision," he said. "The things I liked the most was that I would be close to home, it's where the majority of my family went to school, and the academic programs at SU are outstanding."

Syrrus strongly considered Loyola University and Manhattan College for the longest time but always held onto some slight hope that he would one day suit up for the Orange, following in his Uncle Solomon Bliss's footsteps.

Bliss captained the Orange in his final two years (2002-03) at Syracuse and was a two-time All-American on defense.

"My uncle being on the Syracuse lacrosse team made it so that lacrosse was basically the topic of every conversation with my family," Syrrus said. "We would go to as many games as we could and the games we couldn't attend were watched on television. The first time I was in the Dome it was to watch my uncle play. Afterward, he brought me down on to the field and that was when I fell in love with it. Out of all the stadiums and fields I've ever been to the Dome is by far the nicest place to be at in my book. Growing up like this made it hard for me to imagine going to any other college to play lacrosse."

The confidence may be as high as it has ever been for Syrrus, however, he knows that there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to achieving his aspirations with the Orange. He has remained in checked, keeping his goals realistic and within reach.

"It's important to me to have an impact on the team as soon as possible," he said. "I think right now, I could help out at the defensive midfield position. Eventually I want to make the progression to being a two-way midfielder and contribute on the offensive end of the field as well, but I have a lot of work ahead of me to make that happen. The biggest factor in all of this is improving myself as much as I can."

"Like everyone else, I want to get as many national championship rings as I can during my time on the team, and I'm really excited at the possibility of getting one right off the bat. I know the seniors this year on the team don't want to leave without one and I want do whatever I can and do my part, whatever that may be, to contribute to that happening."

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