Men's Lacrosse

As his standout career nears its end, Megill continues to replicate brother’s success

Spencer Bodian | Staff Photographer

Syracuse defender Brian Megill already has an All-American honor and a Tewaaraton Trophy nomination to his name.

Christmas Eve was decision day in the Megill household. Ray Megill was a star at Maryland in the mid-2000s, but Brian Megill would decide between Syracuse and UMD.

He still has the wrapping paper in his room – Maryland on one side, SU on the other – listing the pros and cons for each school as he weighed his decision.

“It was Syracuse, Maryland,” Brian said, using his hands to indicate SU sat just inches above UMD. “It was really right there. … It was a phone call away.”

He could have followed in his brother’s footsteps and joined the Terrapins.

He nearly did, too. His original plan was that if the list came out even, he would choose Maryland to live near his brother. But Ray never pushed him toward Maryland.

“I told him, ‘Don’t make this decision because I’m here,’” Ray said. “ … I’m all about making your own decisions.”

But Brian had his own plan in mind — he would join the Orange. Blaze his own trail. Create his own legacy.

Four years later, Brian is nearing the end of one of the finest careers by a defender in Syracuse history. When the Orange travels to Washington, D.C., on Saturday for a 1 p.m. tilt with Georgetown, a game Ray had hoped to be in attendance for if not for a scheduling conflict, Brian will play the penultimate regular-season game of his storied SU career.

A pair of All-Big East honors, an All-American honor and a Tewaaraton Trophy nomination already dot Megill’s sparkling resume, with more of the same likely to come at the end of this season. But none of it would have happened without his older brother.

“He’s a huge influence. He’s the reason why I play lacrosse,” Brian said. “He’s also the reason I’m here at Syracuse and not at Maryland.”

Ray’s career with the Terps was just as spectacular. He was a three-time All-American and set the standard for what a Megill could do on defense.

But Brian never wanted to do just what his brother did. They played the same position, and a career with the Terrapins would have led to inevitable comparisons between the two. With the Orange, he could create his own legacy, and the one he’s made is just as spectacular as his brother’s.

But they get it done in different ways. Brian plays an aggressive style. Ray was all about body positioning and creating opportunities in transition. But they’re both leaders.

“We communicate a lot on the field,” Ray said. “We’re always vocal.”

As a freshman, Brian started all 15 games for the Orange’s top-ranked defense. He started all 17 as a sophomore as SU again boasted a top-five defense.

Then, Joel White and John Galloway graduated. Megill went from being a piece to being the focal point. And he’s performed splendidly.

Aside from struggling in the Orange’s most recent game — a loss to Alex Love and Hobart — Megill has been nearly flawless, and has turned Syracuse’s defense into one of the best in the country, even playing in front of inexperienced goaltenders Bobby Wardwell and Dominic Lamolinara. It’s given him a chance to exhibit that Megill leadership.

“It’s Megill’s defense, we both know that,” Lamolinara said. “We’re not trying to do anything more than we need to.”

Brian’s eyes light up at the very mention of his older brother. The usually business-like defender can’t help but smile when he thinks about the profound effect Ray had on his life and lacrosse career.

“He’s been a trailblazer for me,” Brian said. “As much as I say I don’t want to follow in his footsteps, I wouldn’t mind it.”

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