Zed Williams says he’ll do whatever is asked of him at the University of Virginia.
That’s great news for one of the historically strongest Division I men’s lacrosse programs in the country, because the graduating Silver Creek senior can pretty much do it all.
Williams racked up scoring statistics never seen before – not just in Western New York, but nationally – as he led the Black Knights to five straight Section VI Class C championships. He impacted the game in several ways and is one of the best high school lacrosse players in Western New York history. And he is this year’s clear winner of the Tom Borrelli Memorial Award as the area’s top senior player.
“My approach,” Williams said of taking the various aspects of his game to Virginia, “is to do whatever they ask me.”
Williams finished his five-year varsity career with 444 goals and 728 points, both which are believed to be national records. In his senior season, he had 95 goals and 77 assists. His best season statistically was as a freshman, when he scored 101 times and had 73 assists.
While Silver Creek may have played in the smallest classification in the state, Williams’ play was at the highest of levels as a four-time first-team All-Western New Yorker and three-time All-American. Also consider the final game of his career, a Far West Regional loss to perennial state power Penn Yan, in which he not only scored four times and had an assist, he dominated faceoffs by winning 20 of 22 – as he did throughout the postseason – and made several big plays on defense, all while never coming off the field for the undermanned Black Knights.
His goal-scoring came on long laser shots that would be ill-advised if most any other player attempted them, or deceptively strong and/or sneaky drives to the cage, or quick-stick finishes. Equally as impressive were his feeds to teammates, as he parlayed the defense’s slides toward him and his field vision into eye-popping assists.
Williams’ favorite memory of his high school career was Silver Creek’s 2011 season, which climaxed in historic fashion when the Black Knights beat Penn Yan to become the first Section VI Class C team to win a regional game and advance to the state final four. It was also a sophomore season in which he played with his older brother, senior Zach, and younger brother, eighth-grader Sherman.
Williams will head to Charlottesville, Va., next week for a camp before returning in the first week of August. He’ll come back home for two weeks before returning to Virginia.
“My biggest concern is the school work – school will be harder,” Williams said. “Lacrosse-wise, nothing matters from high school. It’s a clean slate, and I’ll have to prove myself.”
Asked whether that is something he has heard from his new coaches, Williams says, “That’s just something I know.”
The award winners are selected by The News’ high school sports department after consultation with local scouts and coaches.
Williams was chosen over fellow All-American Max Maxwell of Hamburg. Other members of the talented Class of 2013 considered for the award included Orchard Park attackman John Januszkiewicz, Hamburg midfielder Nick Wilcox, Hamburg longstick midfielder Christian Hollfelder, Bishop Timon-St. Jude attackman J.D. Recor and Bishop Timon-St. Jude goalie Jackson Brown.
“I just feel like, when people pass away, it would be the right thing to do to carry the name on,” said Williams. “I’m honored.”
For the second year, the Borrelli committee also bestowed the “Ox” Award, which goes to a senior who displays the talent, versatility, hard work, dedication and toughness shown by Borrelli – whose nickname was “Ox” – in his work as a reporter and editor at The Buffalo News. The inaugural winner was Amherst’s Nate Gowen.
This year’s “Ox” Award goes to Hamburg’s Maxwell. The three-time All-WNY first-teamer and four-year stalwart starter has been a scorer, leader and more for the Tigers and is headed to the University of Maryland at Baltimore County.
“Max Maxwell is by far the best and most complete captain I have ever had in my 30-plus years of coaching,” said Hamburg coach Jerry Severino. “He has separated himself from any other athlete, not only in points accumulated, but in phenomenal leadership and mentoring skills. When Max was injured and not playing for four weeks this year, he took on a support role and worked with the youngest boys on the team.”
The girls awards were announced in Friday’s edition of The News: Megan Mikolajek of Hamburg is the Borrelli Award winner and twins Grace and Hannah Christiansen of Frontier are the “Ox” winners.
The awards and scholarships will be presented during the banquet portion of Monday’s fifth annual Tom Borrelli Memorial Golf Tournament presented by the Buffalo Bandits at Holland Hills Country Club. The event is also sponsored by The Buffalo News and ADPRO Sports.
To make a donation to the Borrelli fund, send a check payable to the Tom Borrelli Memorial Award and Scholarship Fund, c/o Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, 712 Main St., Buffalo, 14202-1720.