Ryan McNulty looks back at his four years at Bishop Shanahan with no regrets.
McNulty made a lot of memories during his tenure with the Eagles as he helped transcend the program from good to great. In the process, McNulty became one of the top long-stick midfielders and lacrosse players in the country.
None of those accolades were what made McNulty enjoy his time at Shanahan, further exemplifying the team player and leader he became throughout high school.
“I will remember the good times playing with my boys,” McNulty said. “Those guys just had a great time playing lacrosse and that is what it’s all about. I hope to be remembered at Shanahan by some of the things I have done on the field, but as long as people use the success I have been fortunate enough to have and better themselves, I accomplished much more.”
McNulty’s leadership and dominant play in the back continued to bring success to Bishop Shanahan as the Eagles reached the PIAA playoffs for the third straight season, a first in school history. He was selected as the Daily Local News All-Area Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.
“It means a lot to me to win player of the year,” McNulty said. “I am very thankful for the people who have helped me get to where I am and the people that are constantly trying to improve my game, I could not be more thankful for coach Jim Schorn (head coach of McNulty’s club team, Team ManUp Lacrosse), my dad (Chris) and everyone at Shanahan. I feel very honored to win this again.”
McNulty had an impressive season in 2015 for a LSM, but found a way to improve. After tallying 10 goals, 13 assists, 127 ground balls and 36 caused turnovers in his junior season, McNulty had 12 goals, 16 assists, 136 ground balls and 42 caused turnovers this year to earn the Sandy Phillips Award as MVP of the Ches-Mont League, sharing the honors with Avon Grove’s Nick Cardile.
McNulty was also named a United States Lacrosse All-American for the Philadelphia region along with earning a selection to the Under Armour All-America Game, held July 3 at Towson University.
The success of McNulty translated over to Bishop Shanahan as the Eagles soared to an 11-0 start to the season, but lost two of their next three games to Avon Grove and Garnet Valley. The Avon Grove loss eliminated Shanahan from winning the Ches-Mont for a fourth straight season, but McNulty and a talented senior class made sure the Eagles didn’t eliminate themselves from larger goals.
“We were disappointed, but we were told to keep our heads up,” McNulty said. “The biggest aspect that encouraged us to do so was our next practice after those two losses. We had the greatest practice after that because we were sick of just coming close.”
The Eagles responded with four straight wins, but suffered a heartbreaking 6-5 loss to Strath Haven in the District 1 quarterfinals after holding a one-goal lead late in the fourth quarter. Shanahan found itself in the district playback bracket for the second straight year, facing a do-or-die scenario in the next two games in order to make the PIAA playoffs.
Similar to 2015, the Eagles prevailed and made the state playoffs for the third consecutive year after claiming the fifth and final seed out of District 1.
“It was a great accomplishment to make the state playoffs for a third year in a row,” McNulty said. “The biggest reason why we all raised our games in the district playoffs was the focus we had in our heads. There was no playing around after those losses and we all just knew what had to happen to get back to where we wanted to go.”
Shanahan fell in overtime to La Salle in the first round of states, which ended their season at that stage for the third straight year. Despite being unable to get past the first round of states, McNulty and the senior class carried Shanahan lacrosse to new heights.
The Eagles were 68-14 with three Ches-Mont titles, a District 1 second-place finish (2014) and three PIAA playoff berths in McNulty’s tenure. The foundation was set for success prior to his arrival, but McNulty kept adding to the structure.
“When I got there the leadership that basically started the program (John Mehok, Dylan Alderman) was superb and gave me goals to set and surpass. Shanahan lacrosse continues to grow each year with the coaches and players. They will have a bright future as long as they have their goals set high and work hard.”
If Shanahan follows suit based off McNulty’s play, the Eagles’ future will continue to remain bright.