Former Williams player Rock Stewart signs to play for New York Lizards
WILLIAMSTOWN — Rock Stewart was one of two Williams College men's lacrosse players who made team history by being selected in the Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft. Three weeks later, Stewart made history again by being the first Eph to sign to play professional lacrosse.
"It was cool" to sign the contract with MLL's New York Lizards, Stewart said. "You see people making big moments like that when you're growing up. It was just exciting to kind of have that time here with all the people who helped get me there."
Stewart was still in Williamstown when he signed the one-year contract, and was surrounded by several of his Eph teammates when he put pen to paper.
"I think it's hard to believe, definitely. You don't see Division III guys very often getting a chance at this level," Stewart said. "I'm just really excited about it, to be honest.
"I have nothing to lose in an opportunity like this, so why not try and make the most of it."
Stewart was the fifth of eight players drafted by the Lizards, one of the teams that was part of the league's founding.
New York plays its home games at Shuart Stadium on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, Long Island.
Stewart, who just completed his coronavirus pandemic-shortened senior season at Williams, was a four-year letterman. He was named a Maverik Media first-team All-American despite Williams having played only four games.
The long-stick midfielder had a goal and an assist, causing six turnovers and collecting 22 ground balls.
In his Williams career, Stewart played in 59 games, scored 14 goals, and assisted on five for 19 career points. Stewart has picked up 223 ground balls and caused 75 turnovers. Stewart's 223 ground balls moved him into third place all-time in the Eph record book.
Last spring Stewart set the Eph single season record for caused turnovers when he accrued 37 and his 75 career caused turnovers ranks him second all-time at Williams.
Stewart was a first-team All-NESCAC pick in 2019 and a second-team selection in 2018.
The 2020 season remains up in the air, but Stewart said that plans seem to be in the works.
"They are figuring out what they're doing, and they should have something out," Stewart said. "I'm pretty sure they're having the first couple of games without fans. As they move into August, they will have fans at the games, and finish up around September."
Stewart was one of four Division III players taken in the MLL Draft. His Williams teammate Brendan Hoffman and Amherst's Colin Minicus were both taken by Philadelphia. SUNY Cortland's Terrence Haggerty, an honorable mention All-American in 2019, was also drafted by the Lizards.
Haggerty played in 40 games with 37 starts in his two-plus years as a Red Dragon. He compiled 151 points on 120 goals and 31 assists and is ranked 13th in career goals and 28th in career points at Cortland. He is a two-time honorable mention All-American, earned second team All-East Region honors as a sophomore and first team All-East Region honors as a junior and was named first team All-SUNYAC and to the conference all-tournament team twice.
The MLL schedule was to have kicked in on May 30, when the Lizards hosted Boston. New York was scheduled to play in Boston on July 11, an opportunity for a lot of Stewart's fellow Ephs to see him.
"I think they would revamp the schedule, but it's unclear if that date would hold," Stewart said. "The idea would be to have a home and away game with every team. The great part about it too is the Lizards' stadium is 45 minutes from my house, from my hometown of Darien, Conn. There are stadiums that are pretty close to everybody, which is awesome."
Howard Herman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.
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