Dane Reda‘s introduction to playing for Team 91 Crush was intense, to say the least.
“In my first game, I didn’t get on the field much, but I just watched and my neck kept snapping back and forth because of how fast the ball was moving,” said the Mattituck midfielder. “It was like watching a ping pong game.”
His “welcome to Crush” moment, though, was a little bit harder on him.
“(Crush defenseman and Maryland commit) Jack Schirtzer threw a rusty gate on me, and Coach (Joe) Spallina just goes, ‘you don’t see that at Mattituck, do you?'” Reda said.
Not often, though to be fair, not many defensemen in the country land as many big-time checks as Schirtzer does. Since that time, Reda learned on the fly what you need to do in order to compete with potentially the best team in club lacrosse history, and it helped elevate his game into a next-level midfielder. The Mattituck standout posted 19 goals and 27 assists this spring, but the wheels were already in motion for his development before that as he continued to get acclimated to the pace of play.
When the new style of play, complete with a shot clock, was introduced to college lacrosse last spring, it meant good things for Reda, given his style of play. The two-way standout made his bones in transition and isn’t a stranger to the defensive end of the field, and his offensive chops were already there. Even though most of his teammates had already committed, he stayed patient and weighed his options. When the right opportunity presented itself, he pounced on it.
“I went to Stony Brook a week ago and I talked to the coaches on campus, and their philosopdhy was spot-on with what I wanted to hear,” Reda said. “On my way home from the visit, I was thinking about it and thought that it was the place that I wanted to be. I didn’t make the decision until a couple of days later, but it was the place for me.”
Reda opted to commit to the Seawolves and new head coach Anthony Gilardi, joining Crush teammate Tommy Dolciotto in the Stony Brook class and becoming the 20th Crush player to commit, all to Division I schools.
“Academically, it’s a really good school and I want to study either physical therapy or athletic training,” Reda said. “The campus was nice and the facilities were awesome, and the coaches are amazing. It’s great to be coming in with a new coaching staff because you can make close connections with all of them. We’re all going to be in the same boat and it’ll be a new experience for me, but we’re going to make the best of it and hopefully do well.”
Reda saw his Crush teammates fly off the board to the top schools in the country, and while he was ecstatic for them to find a home, he knew that he had to be patient to find the right fit. At Mattituck, he’s the go-to guy, and for Crush, he’s part of the machine that makes up the top team in the country, so finding the right balance between how to play for both teams was also instrumental.
“At a small school, we don’t have the insane talent that’s on Crush, so we have a slower style of play, so that’s how I used to play,” Reda said. “When you’re with Crush, you play so fast, so it accelerated my game and made me a lot better. When I watched my teammates getting picked off like crazy, I was, like, ‘that’s great for you guys, and when my time comes, it’ll come.’ There was some question as to where I’d find a school to play at, but I’m just so happy to be going to Stony Brook.”
Reda credited a combination of coaches for his development, too. Learning from three different head coaches in high school was monumental for him and his development.
“(Mattituck coach) John Amato helped cement the style of play that he wanted from me and asked me to be as consistent as possible,” Reda said. “(2020 Orange coach) Jeff Capri helped me with my confidence and he showed me that I could compete at a high level, and Coach Spallina helped me see the game a different way. He taught me that the ‘one more’ pass is always there, and you have to know where you’re going to move the ball before the person who has the ball passes it to you.”
For Spallina, seeing one of his late-rising players reach such a high level is pretty thrilling, too, especially considering the fact that the Seawolves’ women’s coach will have a chance to see Reda play pretty often.
“I think that Stony Brook got a rising star in Dane,” Spallina said. “His improvement and balance in his game over the past year have been incredible. The thing about Dane ius his ability to do so many different things at a high level, which makes players so marketable at the next level. I’m so excited for him to have found a great local home and I can’t wait to watch him do great things at Stony Brook.”