- Antonio Chaurand
Griffin McGinley: The Sophomore Sensation
Not many young collegiate players are used to a plethora of success with only a handful of collegiate starts under their belt, but Griffin McGinley (C’24) is one of them. Coming from a winning culture at the Academy of the New Church in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, McGinley took that winning mentality into his collegiate career and is off to a hot start in his sophomore season with the Mount St. Mary’s Lacrosse Team.
Growing up in northeast Philadelphia, McGinley started playing lacrosse early on in his childhood. It would not take long for recruits to notice the young goalkeeper’s talents, for he was recruited to play for the Academy of the New Church, which had a rich history of championship level performance. Throughout the four years McGinley was at ANC, his team won their league championship four straight times. The Friends Student League had been dominated by the Lions, who have won 15 league titles since 1997.
McGinley did not take this winning for granted, for he himself knew it took a lot of work. “Definitely a lot of hard work goes into it. Coach Forester would be holding winter workouts, the same workouts once a week and then Monday through Friday would be after school.” McGinley stated. “Definitely a lot of hard work in the offseason; a lot of scrimmages, toured events and getting used to playing with each other.” He credited a lot of his hard-working mentality to his high school coach, Jack Forester, who played Division I Lacrosse at Pennsylvania State University.
Coming into McGinley’s first year at the Mount, he knew he was not going to be the starter. At the time, Dylan Furnback (C’21) was the starter and had started the previous three seasons for the team. Nevertheless, this did not discourage McGinley. It was not the easiest of situations for him, especially given that he had started all four years for his high school team, but that didn’t keep the first-year student from being positive. “I didn’t just want to lay down and do nothing, I wanted to make sure I’m pushing [Furnback] every day to be a better goalie himself.”
The first season of McGinley’s rookie campaign would not go without some action. McGinley started two games due to Furnback being out because of contracting COVID-19. In those two games, one against the Naval Academy and the other against Towson University, McGinley would have a total of 10 saves, average five saves a game and average a .357% save rate. These numbers were not the best start for the promising goalkeeper, but it was only a matter of time before his skills would soon be on full display.
The 2021-2022 season would start with a bang for McGinley. In his season debut (Feb. 5) against Navy, who handed McGinley his first collegiate loss, he racked up 21 saves in the game and received his first collegiate win after an 11-9 victory. The last time a Mountaineer goalkeeper had 20 or more saves was Furnback in 2019. This incredible performance would garner the attention of many, which included U.S. Lacrosse Magazine. McGinley would receive the U.S. Men’s Lacrosse Player of the Week and NEC Defensive Player of the Week as a result of his tremendous goalkeeping against Navy.
Many players, after receiving this accolade, would make the award about themselves. McGinley, however, had a different reaction. “I’m not going to downplay it or anything; I was definitely excited when I got those awards, but I think it goes back to the players in front of me, that my job wouldn’t be possible without the six guys in front of me every time.” He stated. “I think it goes back to the coaches and their game plan, and Coach Kellinger, Coach Giblin, Coach Gravante, you know, they believed in all of us, and they knew we could go out there and win.”
Following the win over Navy, the Mountaineers lost two straight games, but broke that losing streak with a win over Hampton University on Feb. 19. Even though Mount is sitting at a .500 record, McGinley has had a great season. Through the three games McGinley has played, he has a total of 46 saves, averaging 15.3 saves a game and is averaging a .575% save rate. These numbers devour the ones from the two games McGinley started last season, which is a true testament to his hard work and determination to get better at his craft.
Griffin McGinley’s sophomore season is off to a tremendous start, and it is not far-fetched to say he has a promising future in the sport of lacrosse. There are many more accolades to come for this young goalkeeper, but he will be the first to give his teammates credit before himself. That is a true testament to McGinley’s character, and what makes this sophomore so sensational.