5th year Lucas Quinn reflects on his career at SU
Get the latest news from Syracuse delivered straight to your inbox. Subscribe to our sports newsletter here.
Two hours before Syracuse faced No. 6 Virginia in the penultimate game of Lucas Quinn’s career, seven of his aunts and 21 cousins found themselves in a parking lot just west of the Carrier Dome.
Over burgers, hot dogs and beers, family and friends discussed the upcoming SU lacrosse fight with the Cavaliers, Quinn’s unfortunate injuries and what could have been for the fifth-grade midfielder. year in its final season. But above all, those who made the two-hour drive from their hometown of Niskayuna, New York, and the handful of others who came from as far away as Atlanta, Georgia, were there because of their pride in the person Quinn has become.
Everyone donned a white t-shirt with their name and number 26 on the back. A small group will be back for the season finale on Sunday, but the family wanted one last celebration.
“He’s doing everything in his power to finish strong,” said John Quinn III, his older brother.
The 2022 season has been “frustrating” for Quinn, however, he said. The five-star rookie has gone from a reserve midfield role in 2018 to a coveted starting role this season. After overcoming a right calf strain suffered during the preseason, he scored a hat trick in his first career start against No. 1 Maryland. But a month later against Johns Hopkins, he was sidelined again with a broken thumb on his dominant hand.
Quinn returned with three games left in the year, but his role has diminished considerably as his hand continues to heal. He knows playing professional lacrosse isn’t the most realistic goal. He knows that next week, after playing his last game, will be the start of a tough turn as “lacrosse player” has defined so much of his life. But his loved ones, including his two older brothers who have gone through the same change, know he is more than ready for it.
“It’s going to be such a transition. And all of this is going to end,” Quinn said before the game against Virginia.
For Quinn, the youngest of three brothers, playing lacrosse has always made sense. He started around age 5 and ran “trying to keep up” with John (seven years older), Evan Quinn (three and a half years older) and their friends.
Quinn always had a stick in his hand growing up, said high school teammates and neighbors Dylan Pantalone, Jon Pfohl and James Sexton. The trio knew in third year that Quinn was good enough to become a five-star recruit. He became the record holder for the most points in Niskayuna High School history (342 points), said his father, John Quinn Jr.
In his first college game, Quinn scored twice against Binghamton. He broke his pinky finger in his second season and also tore his groin – injuries that led to limited minutes in 2019. Over the past three years, Quinn has played a consistent role at the second-line midfielder, supporting the front line which included All-Americans Tucker Dordevic, Brendan Curry and Jamie Trimboli.
This season, head coach Gary Gait never had a conversation with Quinn saying he would be the new starter, John said, but it seemed natural. He had worked hard enough to earn minutes in his first four seasons at SU, and was finally ready to fill that starting role.
“That was his goal. He wanted to be the guy,” John said.
Quinn came back from his calf injury and electrified Syracuse with a second-quarter hat trick against No. 1 Maryland, a streak where he proved what he was capable of, John said. Ellen Quinn, his mother, said she didn’t even think Quinn would play that day because he wasn’t fully conditioned. But his family weren’t surprised by his performance – they always knew he was so good.
Then he broke his thumb. Syracuse fell well below .500, and the end of Quinn’s career loomed.
“It’s hard enough when you graduate from college and leave your team, but when you leave like this season is over, and an injury,” Ellen said, “it’s a failure.”
Danny Khan | Design editor
Still, Quinn’s glass-half-full mentality meant he persevered through a tough season, his family said. He is part of what Gait has repeatedly called the “foundation” of the future due to his close collaboration with young midfielders like Jackson Birtwistle, Matteo Corsi and Tyler Cordes. From the sidelines during his injury, Quinn continued to coach and support his teammates, Gait said.
“It’s easy to put yourself down, but that’s not the kind of guy Lucas is,” Evan said.
Quinn knows the abrupt end to her career will come after the Notre Dame game. He tries to “soak in” the moments that remain with his teammates and best friends, John said.
It’s a conversation the two brothers – who played at the University of Hartford but didn’t turn pro – had with Quinn. John said it was a “shock” to find a new routine that is different from lacrosse. Like any transition, it’s about refocusing motivation and energy toward something new, his brothers said.
“Your identity growing up is ‘I’m a lacrosse player, that’s who I am.’ But when that ends and you’re not preparing for Syracuse Lacrosse anymore, it definitely takes a bit of time to figure out your new situation, your new pace and your new identity,” John said.
Both know that Quinn will be able to make this transition well. Quinn said he would always help out with Niskayuna’s high school and club programs. The Niskayuna kids consider the Quinn brothers “legendary” in the lacrosse world, Ellen said.
He will also play occasional lacrosse this summer and work with Ryan Powell’s Rhino Lacrosse. Beyond that, he plans to ski and golf in his spare time and work in commercial real estate in Albany, New York.
“Looking back, there’s so much more to life (than lacrosse), obviously,” Quinn said.
From the parking lot outside the Dome, Quinn’s parents report that he still plays well against Virginia. He had two goals in Syracuse’s first upset against UVA last year, then two goals and an assist in the second upset. The Cavaliers won the national championship.
This year, he registered two more goals and an assist in February. They knew he would be on the court – against Virginia – in a few hours. This time Quinn was held off without a point or a shot within minutes as his hand is still healing. And in a week it will probably be done for good.
“It’s a huge transition, but it’s going well. That’s what life is about,” Ellen said. “You always move on as you get older, that’s exactly what he does.”
Published on April 24, 2022 at 10:24 p.m.
Contact Roshan: [email protected] | @Roshan_f16