Brewster leading Merrimack lacrosse

It didn’t take much to make Matt Brewster want to try his hand at lacrosse.

Already a hockey player, Brewster had spent his springs playing baseball, until catching a college lacrosse game on television one day. The speed of the game and the constant action immediately drew him in, and not long after, Brewster switched sports.

It all worked out well for the Merrimack High School senior. Next week, Brewster will start his fourth season on the Tomahawks varsity boys lacrosse team, and next year, he’ll move on to Sacred Heart University, becoming the first player from the Merrimack program to play at the Division I level in college.

And it all started from an afternoon spent in front of the television.

“I played baseball growing up for a long time and I just started to get bored with it,” Brewster said. “I saw a college lacrosse game on TV and I was like ‘I want to do that.’ I started playing when I was 12, for the U13 team in Merrimack, and I’ve never looked back.”

Neither has Merrimack coach Brian Miller, who has put a lot on Brewster’s shoulders from early on in his high school career.

“We had a game when he was a sophomore that, we won the game, but it was a two-minute drill type of situation, and we needed to hold the ball to kill the game,” Miller said. “As a sophomore, (Brewster) was the guy we were going to to kill the time. This senior class, that was the group we were going to, even two years ago.”

A two-sport athlete, Brewster was an all-state goalie for Merrimack’s hockey team this winter. But it was also his first year as the starter, and that difference in playing time between the two sports is what helped steer him toward playing lacrosse at the next level.

“My freshman year, I was the only one to make the varsity lacrosse team,” he said. “Playing hockey, I was the backup goalie. It jumped it then. I play lacrosse year-round.”

That dedication throughout the year is what helped Brewster reach the level he’s at, according to Miller. It’s also why the coach doesn’t worry about what the senior is going to bring to the team this season.

“There are a lot of guys who may be superior to him athletically, but he puts the time in,” Miller said. “Those guys aren’t hitting the wall as much as him, or shooting as much as him. You drive down his street, and it’s hard to not notice the goal in his yard, but then also the huge backup net. I’m sure he’s missed the cage a thousand times, but he’s probably hit it a thousand times, too, because he’s always practicing.

“He’s an intense athlete and he wants the most for this team. We’re going to get great things from him for sure, and as long as he’s doing what’s right for the team … he’s going to bust his butt. I don’t have to worry about what we’ll get from him because I know he’ll be there.”

Brewster signed a letter of intent with Sacred Heart in the fall, and with that out of the way, he feels it will allow him to focus more on his final high school season. He decided on the Pioneers not just because he felt it would be a good fit with coach Jon Basti, but also because of the school’s physical therapy program.

“I had looked at programs as far as physical therapy, and decided I wanted to choose a program based on academics, that I’d be happy if anything happened with my lacrosse career,” Brewster said. “Sacred Heart was a perfect fit. I love the campus and I’m really excited to go.”