Wed11132019

Last updateWed, 13 Nov 2019 12pm

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Former Hawk Drafted by Vancouver Warriors

Hawk VancouverSept. 17 was a day to remember for recent Monmouth graduate Gordon Phillips (’19), when he was selected in the sixth round of the 2019 National Lacrosse League (NLL) Draft by the Vancouver Warriors. The former Monmouth Hawks midfielder was the 80th overall pick in the draft. 

“Being drafted to the Warriors means a lot to me,” the Canadian-born Phillips said, “I grew up going to the Vancouver Ravens games (the NLL team at the time), and I idolized those guys. Growing up in Vancouver, I played the majority of my career around there and have always had very strong ties to home, even during my time playing in the States, so coming home and being able to represent my community and province means a great deal to me.”

“The next steps for me will be going into training camp and continuing to contribute to the organization that has drafted me, similar to what I was able to do at Monmouth,” Phillips added.

Phillips said that he started playing lacrosse when he was six years old, and played box lacrosse, specifically, in Canada for the Port Coquitlam Saints. Box lacrosse is different from field lacrosse in that it is played inside the confines of an ice hockey rink.

Phillips explained that his dream of playing professional lacrosse started to become more of a reality three or four years ago when a general manger for an NLL team reached out to him. A few months ago, he spoke with various teams that were interested, and he began to see his name on mock drafts leading up to the official draft in September.

“For him to get the opportunity to keep playing at the professional ranks, the highest level, and for box lacrosse, it’s really cool and really special,” Monmouth’s Head Lacrosse Coach Brian Fisher said. “We’re certainly proud of him, happy for him, and know that he’ll do good things, so we’re excited to see him continue his career and watch him from afar.”

Associate Head Coach Andrew Geison added, “Gordon being recognized on a national scale is gratifying, but honestly, he deserves all the credit for his success. He had the work ethic and focus to make himself into a phenomenal player.”

Phillips credits Monmouth University with helping develop his talents in many different ways. “They gave me the opportunity to compete at a high level of field lacrosse with some of the best players in the world. Secondly, the sheer amount of practices, workouts and competitions we had allowed me to always have my stick in my hands and practice as much as I could,” he said.

Phillips enjoyed an impressive collegiate career. As a freshman, he was named to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) All-Rookie Team in 2016. In 2017, he helped propel the Hawks to the MAAC Regular Season and Tournament Championship, in addition to their first-ever National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament. During his senior year, he was captain of the team and a Second-All-Team-MAAC selection. When he graduated, he was ranked seventh in program history with 20 career assists and third in ground balls and caused turnovers with 103 and 42, respectively.

He joins Bryce Wasserman (’18, Major League Lacrosse) as Monmouth players who have been drafted by professional lacrosse leagues.

Coach Fisher said, “Gordie was a four-year starter, so he played a ton and a lot of different roles during his time with us.  We always knew he was tough, a really good competitor, and just an overall smart lacrosse player.”

“With his background and experience from playing box lacrosse when he was at home in British Columbia, I think we knew really early on that he was going to be able to have an opportunity to play professionally after graduation. To see it come to fruition for him was cool, because he’s an ambassador for Monmouth and our program,” Coach Fisher added.

Phillips’ strong work ethic and tireless dedication amazed both his teammates and coaches.

“Gordie was a very quiet, hardworking kid. He wasn’t always loud and in your face, but he just led by example. I’m so happy for the kid to be able to keep following his dreams, and very thankful that I was able to play with Gordie. He was an unbelievable player,” said Fifth Year Attack Eamon Campbell.

Coach Geison noted Phillips’ approach every day, which he considered remarkable.  “He had a maturity and a poise about him that made him easy to coach and great to work with. Although he wasn’t tremendously vocal, he kept us focused. He was also the key to our team defense, our transition game and our man up unit,” Geison said.

They believe Phillips has left a lasting impact on Monmouth’s lacrosse program. “His toughness, his play, how versatile he was and the way he competed are things that will resonate with our program for a long time,” Coach Fisher remarked.

Coach Geison hopes current and future players can follow Phillips’ sense of purpose and urgency. “The broader your skill set—the more creative you can play and the more fun you’ll have,” he said.

As Phillips launches his career as a professional athlete, he leaves a few words of wisdom for his fellow Monmouth Hawks. “You can’t always take [sports] too seriously. Remember to have fun with it, and make sure that you give back. Sports will take you lots of places. Be sure to be a positive role model and help the next generation of student athletes to succeed as well,” he advised.

PHOTO COURTESY of Mark Mohrman

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