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The stares have always followed Caleb Fyock, and when he was younger playing rec lacrosse, so did the questions about whether or not he was of age.
To be fair, there aren’t many goalies that possess Fyock’s mammoth frame, and that frame brought out a lot of questions.
“I’ve always been a big kid, and when I was playing rec, parents always wanted to know how old I was,” Fyock said. “I was always bigger than most of the kids that I played with, but at the end of the day, I was just having fun playing the sport that I loved.”
Beast in the Cage
Today, the Annapolis Hawks and St. John’s (D.C.) standout goalie still stands out with his size. Cutting an imposing 6-2, 270-pound figure, Fyock’s size belies his unbelievably quick hands and deceptively fast feet. He takes up a lot of the cage, but he also moves swiftly, baiting shooters to beat him and easily gobbling up shots.
Fyock is so good that he’s been the starting goalie for the Hawks’ 2022 team – NLFRankings.com’s No. 1-ranked ’22 team in the country – despite being a 2023. As a sophomore, he’s taken over the reins to the St. John’s starting job, following in the footsteps of NLF No. 33 2020 George Alvarez, now at Harvard. Were he in the ’22 class, he’d have a strong argument to be the No. 1 goalie in that class, too. He’s the No. 6 player in the first NLFRankings.com ’23 rankings and the top-ranked goalie because of his ability to change a game from the goalie position.
“I’d say that my main strength is my quick hands,” said Fyock, who has lacrosse’s best nickname as “Big Tasty”. “If I can’t get to the ball with my feet, I can get it with my hands. I think having quick hands is a great thing to add to having a big body. I had to work a lot on my outlets, too. My dad (Rob Fyock, who coaches with the Hawks) would tell me that I can’t just give it to someone to clear. You have to make a great pass to lead transition, so I started to understand how important it was for my outlets to be good.”
Playing Up Pays Off
Part of the secret to Fyock’s success in goal has been that he’s always played up. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to get to practice with such a loaded team, either.
“It helps me that I always get to go against great shooters, and in games, I have a great defense in front of me and a great coaching staff leading us,” Fyock said. “Coach (Tom) Ripley and Coach (Dave) Cottle really helped us. I get to go against the best shooters every practice. I’ve played up all my life, too, no matter what team. I’ve always faced faster and better shots, so it prepares me for when I do have to come play against my ages.”
Playing up for so long helped fast track Fyock’s development, too. Originally from Florida, Fyock didn’t play right away when he moved North, but his brother, Aleric, did. Eventually, the younger Fyock was intrigued enough to play, and his basketball and soccer background helped make him somewhat of a natural in the cage.
“I think I realized in eighth grade that this was something I could do,” Fyock said. “High schools started wanting me. I was playing in the Howard County (HoCo) League against a lot of MIAA kids and doing pretty well, and it opened my eyes that I could do something with this. I’m happy I did it because I am where I am today because of it.”
Family Lineage Leads to Greatness
Aleric Fyock the backup goalie at Penn State and was one of the most sought-after goalies in the 2018 class. While the younger Fyock doesn’t remember a ton about his brother’s recruitment, they’ve worked together so often that it’s had a lasting effect on Caleb, even though there are times where he could do without the family advice.
“My brother and I did group sessions together with our goalie coach Jack Manley, and Coach Manley saw how big and how different I was. He changed up my stance and my positioning and how I treated shooters. My brother and I have always been taught to be at a 45-degree angle, stand big and don’t duck.”
“Other people have tried to change me, but I’ve only had one coach since then and that’s my father,” Fyock continued. “He’s learned from Coach Manley and he helps me stay calm and helps me with whatever I need to do. Sometimes I don’t want to hear it, but lacrosse has been our way of bonding.”
That bonding also helped develop the best goalie in the 2023 class.
NLFRankings.com Class of ’23 Rankings
No. 6 Caleb Fyock, goalie, St. John’s (D.C.) / Annapolis Hawks
No. 7 Benn Johnston, midfield, Avon Old Farms (Conn.) / True National
No. 8 Mac Christmas, LSM, Georgetown Prep (Md.) / MadLax DC Dogs
No. 9 Nate Kabiri, attack, Episcopal (Va.) / MadLax DC Dogs
No. 10 Jacob Pacheco, midfield, Boys’ Latin (Md.) / Crabs