Next goal for Colgate's Ryan Walsh: Assist streak to match

Colgate attacker Ryan Walsh, right, drives the ball

Colgate attacker Ryan Walsh, right, drives the ball from behind the net guarded by Michigan defender Rob Really in the Metropolitan Lacrosse Classic NCAA Division I men's lacrosse game at Citi Field. (March 17, 2013) (Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke)

Ryan Walsh, a Wantagh High School alum who now stars for Colgate, extended his goal-scoring streak to 24 games Sunday at Citi Field, and his head coach is expecting the sophomore to elevate his performance further.

"I think Ryan's been good. I don't think we have seen Ryan's best lacrosse," said Colgate coach Mike Murphy after the team's win over Michigan in the inaugural Metropolitan Lacrosse Classic. "He's still a young guy, but when Ryan is going, Ryan is hard to stop."

It's been difficult for defenses to even slow the attack down lately.

Last season's Patriot League Rookie of the Year has scored at least one goal in all but one game in college and his active scoring streak is third among all Division I players.

"He's a sophomore and being able to play with a first-teamer in Peter Baum (2012 Tewaaraton Award winner) helped Ryan raise his game," Murphy said. "He's a big strong kid so he's a little bit of a matchup problem for some people."

At 6-4 and 240 pounds, Walsh has improved after a decorated high school career. At Wantagh, he recorded 52 goals and 24 assists as a senior, giving him 257 career points (157 goals). The captain was awarded Team MVP in his senior year.

Walsh attributes his success at the college level to a loss of 10 pounds from his freshman campaign -- he said it has made him swifter and quicker -- and a boost in confidence.

"Being able to go out there on the field knowing you're one of the better players helps a lot," Walsh said.

Walsh said he wasn't aware of his streak until family members and friends pointed it out after his homecoming Sunday, and his coach believes him.

"Goal-scorers just want to score goals whether it's 20 games or one game or what not," Murphy said. "I've been impressed with Ryan's humbleness. He comes to practice everyday looking to work everyday in those environments."

With one streak intact, Walsh hopes to start another, in a different category.

"I'd rather get more assists than goals," Walsh said. "I'd like to have that streak, actually. Usually the best players on the field make everyone better."

That streak stands at one heading into Saturday's game against Navy at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

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