Chambers a Big Plus in BHS’s Lacrosse Progress
Jun 13, 2018 01:23PM ● Published by Kenneth Hamwey
BHS Lacrosse Coach Steve Linehan and player Lyall Chambers
Lyall Chambers and his ability to play lacrosse are no strangers to Bellingham High coach Steve Linehan. Linehan coached Chambers for three years when the budding defenseman competed in the Bellingham Area Youth League Organization (BAYLO). When Linehan took the head-coaching reins last year, he got the opportunity to coach Chambers for his final two seasons of interscholastic lacrosse. The partnership has been one of mutual respect.
“Lyall plays his position in solid fashion and he holds his ground,” Linehan said. “He can pass, his stick skills are good and he’s dependable. You know what you’re going to get with Lyall.”
In mid-April when the Blackhawks hosted Norwood High, which will be leaving the Bay State Conference and entering the Tri Valley League as the circuit’s 12th member in the fall, the 5-foot-11, 175-pound defender put an exclamation point on Linehan’s comment about “knowing what you get when Chambers competes.” The senior, along with his four other defensive teammates, shut out the Mustangs in the second half and rolled to a 17-7 triumph after battling to a 7-7 tie in the first half.
“That victory and the way we played defense in the second half were such a thrill,” Chambers said. “I was more aggressive in the second half and our defense was sharp and kept them scoreless. We all turned it up a notch. We knew they’re joining the TVL and we wanted to show them that our league has capable teams. I turned to our goalie and my teammates on defense and said, ‘Norwood, welcome to the TVL.’ ”
Chambers is quick to compliment his coach and teammates. “Coach Linehan is realistic and knows how to emphasize his point,” Chambers noted. “He’s an exceptional motivator, especially the way he gives a pep talk, and he knows offensive and defensive strategies. Teammates like Kyle McCann and Kenny Morrissey are solid defenders, and A.J. Pelletier and Tyler Marcet are very good long-stick midfielders. It’s a close-knit group that’s focused and supportive.”
At Bulletin deadline, BHS was 4-12, a record that eliminates the Blackhawks from the playoffs, but they have a chance to win five matches, which would tie them for the most victories in school history. Their remaining games were against Norwood and Dedham, teams they defeated earlier in the season.
Chambers, who also played ice hockey for three seasons and finished as a captain, has a plethora of strengths in lacrosse. He’s instinctive, has excellent field awareness and quick footwork, communicates well, is mentally tough and pursues the ball intensely. As effective as he’s been in hockey and lacrosse, the Bellingham native is also very versatile. He’s an all-star in the classroom (vice president of the National Honor Society) and he’s a talented musician. He’s in the BHS band—a tuba player since Grade 5.
“If I play sports in college, it could be intramural hockey,” he said. “At UMass-Lowell, I’ll be majoring in electrical engineering and minoring in sound recording technology. With graduation approaching, I’ve got mixed feelings. I’m excited to be going to college but sad that I’ll be leaving Bellingham High. It’s provided me with a good education and lots of opportunities in sports.”
Chambers’ first goal at the start of his final lacrosse season was to qualify for the tourney. Another objective was to be victorious in the matches that Bellingham could win. Mission accomplished on goal No. 2 in spite of a one-goal loss to Norton.
“I did get to play in two tournaments,” Chambers recalled. “In my sophomore year, our hockey team qualified and we split two games, beating Wareham-Carver and losing to Dartmouth. “During my freshman year of lacrosse (2015), we qualified but lost to Groton-Dunstable, 14-0. Losing in a shutout was disappointing. We made too many mistakes.”
Those setbacks, however, didn’t dampen Chambers’ passion for lacrosse or hockey. His love for lacrosse stems from several factors. “It’s a sport that features an up-tempo pace,” he said. “The speed of the game is incredible. It’s aggressive and requires lots of offensive and defensive strategy.”
“Lyall has been a three-year starter on the varsity,” Linehan said. “He’s a quiet leader who’s highly respected by his teammates.”
Chambers firmly believes that lacrosse and ice hockey have bright futures at BHS. He likes the participation numbers that envelop both sports. “We now have a full jayvee team in lacrosse,” he noted. “It’s improving and it will be a winning program. Ice hockey also has a good future. Last year’s team was very young but the numbers are improving.”
Calling his parents (Barbara and Edward) role models for their support and encouragement, Chambers relied on a competitive philosophy of striving to win, giving 100 percent at all times and having fun. He thrived on the ice and on the field, learning valuable life lessons. “Sports helped me with perseverance, leadership, character and how to overcome adversity,” he emphasized. “You never quit, you overcome injuries and adversity and you win and lose with dignity.”
Lyall Chambers has a firm grip on perspective. Versatile on many fronts, the 17-year-old’s future should be very bright.