When Billy Dreyer decided to become a lacrosse goalie, he had no idea the decision would lead to him being a first-team All-American as a sophomore.
Dreyer, who helped Heathwood Hall finish as SCISA 3A state runner-up this spring, picked up the sport in seventh grade after a schoolmate’s father brought in a lacrosse stick.
“We all thought it was really cool, because we had never seen anything like it before. We were all getting ready to go play soccer,” Dreyer said.
“We needed a goalie and, of course, one kid had to get thrown back there, and I saw it as a way to guarantee that I’d have playing time, because there was no one else. I had no idea that it would amount to this.”
Dreyer led the state in save percentage – 0.725 – and finished the season ninth in the nation.
It helped him earn U.S. Lacrosse first-team All-American status and qualify for the national Top 205 and Jake Reed Nike Blue Chip showcases.
He is being recruited by more than a dozen NCAA programs from Division 1 to Division 3.
Dreyer said he has had outstanding coaching from Heathwood coach Patrick Fitzgerald and former assistant John Selfridge.
“I worked with (Selfridge) for the first three years of my lacrosse career. He showed me the fundamentals and technique and everything, and got my career off to a strong start,” said Dreyer, who stands 6-foot-1, an inch taller than the goal.
After five years working with Dreyer, Fitzgerald is looking forward to greater things to come.
“He is one of the best goalies in the state, and he has a bright future,” Fitzgerald said.
“He goes up north to play lacrosse with his travel team every summer, and each time he comes back better and better,” the coach said.
Dreyer, whose family hails from New Jersey, said spending this summer with his travel team, the Charlotte-based Road Warriors, gives him a great learning experience.
“The whole speed of the game is different up there,” he said. “The ball moves a lot faster when it comes to passing and it’s rarely ever on the ground. It’s almost like a different sport. The speed and skill of these kids is something to see.
“You learn stuff up there that you can bring back down and use in your games,” said Dreyer, who this summer will travel to Maryland for several showcases. He also will visit up to six colleges in the midst of his travel team season.
Fitzgerald said he is looking forward to Dreyer’s leadership skills growing along with his physical ones.
He said Dreyer does a good job of directing his defense to regroup after allowing a goal, although he said Dreyer also is willing to hold himself accountable.
“If he thinks that he should have had it, if it’s something that’s on him, he’ll tap his chest and let his defense know that it was on him,” Fitzgerald said.
Although Dreyer saved 217 of 299 shots this past season, it ended with him believing he has a long way to go.
“Every goal just makes you feel like you have a lot that you can improve,” Dreyer said. “At every game, you have this giant scoreboard that shows how many times a team got a ball past you … it’s a large reminder of how much you can get better.”
Which should serve as fair warning to future opponents: Dreyer is only going to get tougher.