Susquehanna men’s lacrosse coach Stewart Moan knew he needed another player to take faceoffs when preseason practice started three years ago.
A freshman stepped up and said he would give it a shot.
“He stepped up and said, ‘Coach, I’ll do that.’ That’s the kind of kid he is,” Moan said.
That kid was Ryan Bucher, a Selinsgrove graduate who just finished his junior year at Susquehanna.
“As a freshman, I came in and I had faced off before,” Bucher said. “I had played offense and defense. I was kind of a Swiss Army Knife. However I could get on the field, I wanted to do it.”
That was one example of the hard work and sacrifice for the team that Bucher has put into the River Hawks lacrosse program during his three years on campus. Due in part to instances such as that, Bucher was selected as one of four captains for next season.
“I let the team select our captains, and they selected Ryan,” Moan said. “Even though he’s not the most polished player or the leading scorer ... they respect his work ethic.
“I was very impressed with and proud of my team seeing the work Ryan does, and the leadership skills he has.”
Bucher said he was thrilled when he heard the news.
“That was awesome,” Bucher said. “It was some of the best news I received in a long time.
“It’s a huge honor to be selected as one of our four captains. I’ve been in the position to vote for captains, and you really put down the guy you think would be best for the job.”
Bucher said he thought he was selected to be a captain because of his willingness to help the younger players in practice.
“I always help any underclassmen with the drills,” Bucher said. “Our practices are drills, drills, drills, and coach wants us to know what we’re doing. The upperclassmen go first, and then I would help the underclassmen if they had questions or forgot something.
“Being in that position, I can show the kids to trust me because I’ll point them in the right direction. That meant something to them.”
Bucher said he was taking his responsibilities as a captain seriously, and hoped to positively influence the team next season.
“Personally, all my goals are subjective,” he said. “I want to be the best captain I can be. ... I want to be a good upperclassman role model. ... I want to bring the team together even more than what it is now.”
Moan said he wasn’t checking on his players to make sure they were working out during the pandemic. He said it would be evident who used the time wisely when preseason training began.
“I don’t want to email them every three days, ‘Are you running? Are you running? Are you running?’” Moan said. “I believe the most successful people in life are self-motivated. Those are the kids who will be successful in their careers and lacrosse.”
He added that he was sure Bucher and Charlie Hayes, a Selinsgrove graduate who just completed his freshman year, were two that would be using the time wisely.
“You don’t have to worry about giving them an email, ‘Are you running? Are you lifting?’” Moan said. “Guys like that make my job very easy. They’ve got good work ethics. They’re both team-first guys. They’re both joys to coach, especially mentally and attitude-wise.
“They’re two high-character kids.”
Bucher said his life during the pandemic has basically been working out for lacrosse and working at his job.
“I have a brother I can play catch with,” Bucher said. “I’m been shooting in my backyard and doing some footwork stuff. We don’t really get much offseason.”
Hayes said he also has been staying in shape, but there have been some struggles because the gyms are closed.
“Luckily, I have a bench and dumb bells, and I always have legs to run. Running has been a new thing for me, in terms of distance running,” he said. “I’m lucky enough to own a rebounder and a goal.
“I live in a neighborhood, so it’s tough to shoot. I’ve hit a couple houses in the past and then you have to have the uncomfortable conversation with a neighbor.”