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Shrewsbury Native Breen Preps For Bright Lax Future

Saturday, February 09, 2013

 

Tyler Breen had 24 goals and 10 assists last season at Taft.

When Tyler Breen verbally committed to the University of Virginia as a sophomore in the fall of 2011, his coach asked him a question posed to all Taft School lacrosse players after they make a college commitment.

“Do you want to go to [Virginia],” said Casey D’Annolfo, “or play at [Virginia]?”

Breen, a Shrewsbury native preparing for his junior season at Taft in Watertown, Conn., would obviously prefer the latter. The attackman is coming off a sophomore year in which he scored 24 goals with 10 assists for 34 points. As a freshman, he delivered 16 goals and 10 assists for 26 points.

D’Annolfo has sky-high expectations for Breen over the next two seasons.

“I want him to play like the best player in the country,” D’Annolfo said. “He has the potential, and if he puts in the work, he can reach that level.

“He knows there are areas of his game that have to improve. For Ty, that's his overall strength and his comfortability in his left hand. If he can improve those two things, he will be unguardable.”

It’s not as though Breen’s first two seasons have been a breeze. Committing early to a school such as Virginia brings a unique set of pros and cons.

“From a lacrosse standpoint, it appears to be good for Tyler,” said D’Annolfo. “One, it has taken the pressure off him to ‘get his stats.’ Therefore, he can improve his game as an off-ball player. It has helped him in his dodging. He gives up the ball more, rather than taking bad shots.

Breen verbally committed to Virginia in the fall of 2011.

"Also, he goes into every game with a bullseye on his back. Since about midway through his freshman year, he’s been guarded by every team’s best defenseman. That will make you better. When you're in ninth grade being guarded by seniors and postgrads headed off to North Carolina, Penn State, Princeton, etc., you have to get better.”

Then there’s the special attention that accompanies what D’Annolfo described as Breen’s “mini-celebrity status.”

“He’s handled it well,” D’Annolfo said. “It's not easy to go to different venues during the year and during the summer being ‘Inside Lacrosse’s No. 10 recruit’ or ‘the UVA commit.’ It forces him to raise his game every time he’s on the field. It also helps him to realize he’s under the microscope.”

Breen is slated to become one of only a handful of Taft lacrosse players to start every game for four years. D’Annolfo wants Breen to assume more of a leadership role this spring. Said D’Annolfo, “Now he needs to take ownership.”

 

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