UMBC men’s lacrosse senior attackman Ryan Frawley recently spoke to PressBox about why he decided to become a Retriever, his long-term goals for after lacrosse and more. Frawley, a native of Mountain Lakes, N.J., scored 46 goals and was a first-team All-America East selection in 2019.
PressBox: How did you become interested in lacrosse?
Ryan Frawley: I come from a town called Mountain Lakes in New Jersey. Their two big sports really are lacrosse and football. My dad, being a baseball fan, wasn’t too happy, but he’s kind of forced into making me play. I actually had a mentor — my buddy’s friend, actually. His dad played at Ithica. He kind of was the reason I played in the first place. He thought I’d be good at it. I started in second grade and just ran on from there. He’s helped me in every way.
PB: Why did you come to UMBC?
RF: First and foremost, I knew I wanted to work in the health care field. When I looked at UMBC, I noticed they had a really competitive STEM program for biology. I am a pre-dental major right now in biology, so I thought I’d be a great fit. Plus, the athletics department here is great. They have a bunch of resources to help me out with athletics and academics, so I couldn’t really lose there.
PB: What are some of your favorite memories at UMBC so far?
RF: First was my sophomore year was beating Albany when they were No. 1 in the country, although I was out on injury. It didn’t really matter because I was still extremely proud of my team for what they did. Secondly, winning the America East championship when all the odds are stacked against us [last spring]. I thought that was a great moment for our program.
PB: What are your long-term goals for after lacrosse?
RF: I am a pre-dental major, so I plan on going to dental school after this year. I hope to become a general dentist about four or five years down the road.
PB: What’s your favorite thing about UMBC and Baltimore?
RF: Probably just the atmosphere, honestly. Being in Baltimore, it’s a pretty big hub for sports and just the social aspect. Being not a Ravens fan, it’s still fun to be around them, especially this year. More importantly, just the people around here. I’ve got teammates, coaches, all of them are the reasons why I love it here so much. I have a great group of guys that are always there for me, so it really helps there.
PB: Who’s your best friend on the team and what’s a story that underscores the friendship you have on and off the field?
RF: I would say my best friend would probably be Danny Isaac. He’s a d-middie for us. He’s also a senior. We’ve been living together since freshman year, actually, so all four years here. We are super competitive. We’re basically brothers, honestly, so anytime we play a sport — whether it’s just pickup hoops or even a backyard game — we’ll go at it like we’re brothers. Win or lose, someone’s getting mad at the other person. It’s a pretty brotherly friendship. I’m glad I met him here. He’s been family to me.
PB: Who are some of the lacrosse players at UMBC you looked up to early in your career?
RF: When I first got here, although he had graduated a year ago, I looked up to Nate Lewnes because him and I are both lefties. I thought he was a great player, can see the field well, could shoot the heck out of the ball, so I looked up to him. And then when I got here, Max Maxwell was a big role model for me just because he did anything he had to do to help our team. He also took me under his wing and was just a great mentor for me. As being a freshman playing, he really helped me out with calming me down and telling me that you belong here and everything like that, so I look up to him a lot.
PB: Who was the biggest influence on your game growing up?
RF: Growing up would have to be Gary McLaughlin. I met his son in first grade and then second grade is when I started lacrosse. From about second to eighth grade, he was my head coach. He was the first person that believed in me and believed I could play at the next level, although he never told me. He might’ve told my parents. But he was a big influence for me and I always looked up to him.
PB: What advice would you give to young players?
RF: Just enjoy the game. At such a young age, it’s not about winning or losing, honestly. It’s more just about improving your game. Wins and losses come and go. Just enjoy the game and don’t kill yourself over it. Enjoy other sports as well. I believe becoming a good lacrosse player, you have to be an all-around athlete playing other sports. So I think dipping your toes in a lot of sports is definitely going to improve your game. For instance, I played basketball, football, soccer. I played almost everything, and I think a lot of those aspects carried over to lacrosse.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of UMBC Athletics