Schreiber Following in Family Tradition As PU Lax Alum Heads to Worlds for U.S.
FAMILY TIES: Tom Schreiber heads to goal during his career with the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team. Schreiber, a 2014 Princeton alum who scored 200 points for the Tigers on 106 goals and 94 assists who has gone on to star in Major league Lacrosse, will be playing for the U.S. national team at the FIL (Federation of International Lacrosse) World Championships in Netanya, Israel from July 12-21. Schreiber is following in a family tradition at the competition as his father, Doug, played for the U.S. squad that won the gold medal at the 1974 Worlds in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
In 1974, University of Maryland men’s lacrosse star Doug Schreiber helped the U.S. national team win the gold medal at the FIL (Federation of International Lacrosse) Men’s Lacrosse World Championship in Melbourne, Australia.
Now 44 years later, Schreiber’s son, former Princeton University standout midfielder Tom Schreiber, will be following in his father’s footsteps as he plays for the U.S. squad at the 2018 Worlds in Netanya, Israel from July 12-21.
For Schreiber, a 2014 Princeton alum who scored 200 points for the Tigers on 106 goals and 94 assists, getting the chance to maintain the family tradition is special.
“We have obviously been at this thing for a while; he has been around my entire career obviously,” said Schreiber, a native of East Meadow, N.Y.
“He won a national championship in college; that’s something that I wasn’t able to do. It was a long time ago, but it is cool to do something that he has also done.”
It has been a long road for Schreiber in his bid to make the U.S. squad. “It is probably two and a half years or three years,” said Schreiber, who was cut from the U.S. squad that played in the 2014 Worlds.
“It has been a series of exhibition games and then more of a formal tryout weekend last summer around this time. They kind of whittled the roster down a little bit more in the fall and I made the final cut in January, so it has been a bit of a process.”
For Schreiber, finding out that he made the cut was worth the wait. “It is an honor; it is obviously a big deal in our sport,” said Schreiber. “It is something that I strived to do forever; it was a pretty great feeling.”
Striving to get better each year helped Schreiber earn his spot on the U.S. squad. Upon graduating from Princeton, Schreiber became a star in Major League Lacrosse (MLL), helping the Ohio Machine to the 2017 title and earning league MVP awards in both 2016 and 2017. He has also played indoors for Toronto Rock of the National Lacrosse League (NLL), earning Rookie of the Year honors in the 2016-17 campaign.
“My goal year to year is to keep expanding my skill set.It is something I take pride in,” said the 6’0, 190-pound Schreiber.
“I think especially with playing indoor the last two years, I have been able to pick up on a few new things from some of the guys with a box lacrosse background. I am just trying to expand the repertoire as much as I can. In addition to that, just being a bit older, a bit more mature, and a bit more experienced certainly helps along the way.”
In Schreiber’s view, the U.S. team helped enhance its chemistry by going through a training camp in Foxborough, Mass. earlier this month in its final tune-up for the Worlds.
“It is interesting because we are all competing against each other in the MLL and then we all come together with the same uniform, under the same roof, so to speak, for a few days, play together, and then go back to our respective teams again the next week,” said Schreiber.
“I think the nature of the tryouts with it being over a few years and having a few exhibition games per year, we were able to develop some of that chemistry as time goes on. But this last week, in particular, having only 25 guys in comparison to 35 or 40 or even higher than that in the last few exhibitions gives you a chance to really come together.”
While U.S. is clearly stocked with talent, the coaching staff has gone out of its way to assemble a unit of complementary parts.
“They were thinking about guys who can play well together with one another,” said Schreiber. “We are a team full of the best guys around and at the end of the day, it is about winning the gold, peaking at the right time, and playing well together.”
Schreiber, for his part, is more than willing to sacrifice some individual glory to give the U.S. its best chance at earning gold.
“Whatever my role needs to be is fine by me,” said Schreiber. “Whether that is facilitating or shooting or setting a pick. If I have to play defense, I will play defense. It is one of those opportunities that is so unique and special that all of the other stuff kind of goes out the window.”
In reflecting on the competition, which begins for the U.S. when they face the Iroquois on July 12, Schreiber believes the team needs to exercise patience with the ball.
“We are used to just playing so fast in the MLL with the shot clock, high pace, two-point arc, and a lot of freelancing on offense,” said Schreiber, who helped coach Uganda at the 2014 Worlds.
“I think being a little bit smarter with the ball and rewiring our mind-set there a little bit to adjust to the international rules, which is a slower game with no shot clock is key.”
Another key to success will be maintaining an even-keeled approach to adversity. “We need to be stoic; we are going to have peaks and valleys,” said Schreiber. “It is making sure that we are sticking to what our plan is and doing the right things and doing our jobs. If guys can mesh together and the faster we can do that, the better shape we will be in. We have taken some good steps already in doing that. I think managing that throughout the process will be important.”
After falling to Canada in the 2014 gold medal final, the U.S. is determined to mesh at the right time in Israel. “We all know that is the goal, that is not something that we have to articulate,” said Schreiber, whose former Tiger teammate Zach Currier ’17 will be playing for Canada while rising Princeton sophomore Andrew Song is competing for China and 2017 alum Alistair Berven is on England’s squad.
“We are not looking past anyone else either. The Iroquois have a great team and the other teams maybe aren’t at the same level but they can win at any time. The focus is on Canada, they won the last one. There are certainly a handful of guys that are out for some redemption there. For the majority of the team, this is their first time. I don’t think we need any added motivation.”