3/23/12 12:00 AM
By Dan Lippa
(Photo courtesy of Syracuse Athletic Communications)
Syracuse University has produced some of the greatest names in the history of lacrosse. Players like Marechek, Gait, Powell, Jamieson, Thorpe, Cougevan, Smith and others have excelled in the pro ranks after superb careers at SU. Stephen Keogh added his name to that list when he joined the Knighthawks’ lacrosse community in September when he was drafted by Rochester in the first round (second overall) of the National Lacrosse League Entry Draft.
“I was surprised. It was a surreal moment. I was really excited and it was a great feeling being in my hometown of Toronto and seeing smiles on my parents and friends faces. It will be a pleasure playing for great coaches and great ownership,” said Keogh before his professional debut.
The three-time All-American posted 133 goals, 21 assists, 154 points, and 84 loose balls. He helped the Orange win two National Championships in 2008 and 2009 with his best statistical year coming in 2009. That season, he achieved 49 goals, six assists, and contributed to one of the greatest championship games in NCAA lacrosse history, as Syracuse rallied past Cornell 10-9 in overtime. Keogh, Jamieson and Kenny Nims scored in the final 3:37 to force the extra session. His time at Syracuse groomed Keogh into a player that is ready for the stiff competition of the NLL.
“It’s prepared me well. I learned a lot from the other seniors on my team and I have matured during my freshman to senior year. This team is a great group of guys and veterans like (Chris) Schiller and (Mike) Accursi can help guide me along the way as well as Jamieson who is a great leader. If you do something wrong he will point it out” said Keogh.
After Syracuse University, the highly-recruited prospect played for Six Nations of Major Series Lacrosse in 2011. His time with Six Nations gave Owner/General Manager Curt Styres, President Lewis Staats, and Vice President of Player Personnel Jody Gage, along with the rest of the front office staff, another opportunity to analyze the skills of the talented forward. The adjustment from field lacrosse to box lacrosse can be difficult for some players, but according to Keogh the change has been fairly smooth.
“I think just playing field lacrosse has helped me. I learned a lot from Coach (John) Desko and most importantly he has taught me to finish in traffic better. I have played with Knighthawks that went to Syracuse which has also helped me in my transition from college to the pros,” said Keogh.
Keogh showed he was ready for the spotlight on January 14th, when he set a team rookie record with six points (2+4) in his professional debut. The Knighthawks forward was part of a balanced offense that defeated the Wings 22-12. After 10 games, Keogh is third on the team with 33 points (13+20).
Keogh has fit in quite nicely with his new teammates, but the turf won’t be the only home for the first-year Knighthawk in 2012. He works in the sales department for the team selling tickets and making community appearances for the organization.
“Just being in the office is great. A couple of my teammates work with me and you get to see the business side of the organization,” said Keogh. “It’s fun being able to hang out with Jody Gage and its even better talking to the community and putting smiles on their faces; it’s always a great feeling.”