COLCHESTER – If you were constructing a lacrosse roster, what kind of player would you build around? Someone passionate about the success of the team, right? That’s exactly the kind of player at the heart of the St. Michael’s men’s lacrosse team.
“The way we described him, he’s a firecracker. He’s someone who came in and made a difference immediately,” said team head coach Alex Smith.
He’s talking about Max Katavolos, one of his senior captains and a star attackman. But four years ago, Coach Smith wasn’t sure what kind of role Katavolos would have.
“We knew athletically he certainly could do what we needed. He shoots the heck out of the ball,” said Smith. “We just wanted to get him on the field anyway we could and it’s been a great match.”
That’s a fair assessment. In a recent game against Assumption College, Katavolos reached the 100-point plateau to become just the 23rd player in program history to do that and one of the fastest.
One might think that with 222 points in high school, Katavolos would be expecting to become a scoring leader at St. Michael’s. But this isn’t the case. “Coming to school I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t planning on playing college lacrosse right away and then when I started to talk to Coach Smith it really hit me that I’d love to play up here for four more years… Some things fell into place where I was able to get on the field. It was just about taking advantage of where I can and I’ve had some success doing that.”
Some success is a little modest. Katavolos has been pouring in the goals since a freshman season where he starting contributing to the score sheet right away. “His freshman year was the COVID year and so it was a very brief spring season only three games,” Smith remembered. “But in his last game of that year he went off for five or six goals and we kind of new we had something special.”
He carries that mindset into this season, with more than goals on his mind. “It’s not the biggest focus for me, getting the top scorer. I just want to win games,” said Katavolos. “We’re super close as a team.”
According to head coach Smith, his captain’s team-first attitude has become more visible lately. “What I’ve really seen, especially this year, is his ability to defer to other guys and not have to be the guy that scores eight goals a game for us to be successful,” said Smith, in his sixth year leading the program.
“The end goal for us is really just seeing the whole team succeed,” said Katavolos. “I hit that 100-point mark, it was obviously in the back of my mind but I’m focused on getting us to the playoffs in any way I can. If that means taking less shots and getting people open, I’m completely for that.”
Despite having another year of eligibility due to COVID, Katavolos is not planning to return to the team as St. Michaels doesn’t offer a graduate degree of interest. He did say that if coach Smith will have him, he would love to return to the sidelines as an assistant coach for the Purple Knights in the future.