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Tampa lacrosse alumni drafted in first round

by Isabel Marhoun

Andrew Kew, former University of Tampa Men’s Lacrosse player, was drafted to the National Lacrosse League (NLL). The NLL draft was held on Tuesday, Sept. 17 and the former UT player was drafted. 

Andrew Kew was drafted in the first round and selected as the number three pick for the New England Black Wolves. Kew attended and played at UT from 2016-2019, graduating this past May 2019. Kew grew up in Canada and has been playing lacrosse for 20 years. Kew explains why he choose UT and how he became the player he is today.

“I chose UT because I wanted to play college lacrosse in Florida and once I visited Tampa I was sold,” said Kew. “The advice I would give [to an aspiring pro-player] is, you cannot be afraid to put in the time on your own. Have your stick in your hand as much as possible and continuously remind yourself it’s a true privilege to play the game of lacrosse.” 

 While playing at UT, Kew set the lacrosse record for most career goals in the NCAA Division II at 255 goals over his four years. He was also named the Sunshine State Conference (SSC) Player of the Year in his final season at UT (2019 season). Head coach, Rory Whipple, expressed that Kew was an outstanding player with great character. 

 “When Kew was at Tampa he was always in the weight room and putting in the extra time,” said Whipple. “When he went home for the summer he played box lacrosse all summer long, he trained 12 months out of the year and this dedication made him such a great player.” 

 Box lacrosse is more commonly known as indoor lacrosse. The game originated in Canada and is the national summer sport. In box lacrosse, players shoot on a three by three foot goal, whereas in outdoor lacrosse, the goal is double the size: six by six foot. Since the goal is so much smaller in box lacrosse, it makes players shooting more accurate and precise.  

“The fact that Kew went home every summer and shot on a three by three net helped with shooting accuracy. Canadian players do so well in the United States when they come to play college lacrosse because of the accuracy of their shot,” said Whipple. “Kew was a real solid kid, fun to watch, and I am glad that he made it outside of UT.” 

 Once Kew graduated from UT, he went on to play for the Oakville Rock of the Major Series Lacrosse League. While he played for them, he led the team in goals. Sean Nizolek, sophomore defender on the UT men’s team, commented on what it was like to play with Kew. 

 “I played with Kew for only a year, but I quickly learned that he was one of the best players that I have ever played with and against,” said Nizolek. “The combination of his size, deceptive quickness, and lighting fast release for his shot turned him into one of the most productive layers in all of the DII conference last season. He was also a great feeder for the other offensive players on the team because the other teams defense would constantly double team him, leaving someone on our offense open.” 

 Nizolek was able to learn from Kew while playing beside him and watching him play. Nizolek also commented on how UT’s lacrosse program is becoming a powerhouse program for Division II schools. UT’s Lacrosse program began in the spring of 2011 and since then has won five SSC championships.

 “The program has quickly turned into a powerhouse of DII, despite only being around for about seven years. With five NCAA championships as well as several more appearances in the NCAA tournament and making it to the semi-finals a few times,” said Nizolek. 

 The men’s lacrosse program is coming up on its eighth season this spring and will hopefully continue to grow. This spring, Andrew Kew will be playing for the New England Black Wolves in his first professional season.

Isabel Marhoun can be reached at isabel.marhoun@theminaretonline.com

 

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