McGill University eked out the team’s first lacrosse win Saturday night, and did so with the help of Cougar Kirby, who, after transferring from the University of Albany, became the first Kahnawa’kehró:non to suit up for the Redmen. (Daniel J. Rowe The Eastern Door)
It didn’t take long for new Kahnawa’kehró:non recruit Cougar Kirby to put his name on the McGill University lacrosse team’s stats sheet Saturday at the team’s home opener against Nipissing University.
Kirby, playing in his first game after transferring from the University of Albany to the Redmen, scored once and had two assists in McGill’s 13-12 overtime win over the Lakers.
“It feels great,” said Kirby after the game. “It’s obviously a different calibre and a different place, but I have my family here, and it just feels awesome to play for a local team.”
McGill followed up Saturday’s win with a 10-9 win over Queen’s University Sunday.
Playing in the Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association is much different than playing Division I NCAA ball. Kirby rarely got on the field during games with the Great Danes, but played regularly throughout Saturday’s game.
“I sat for three years, but it was a good experience,” he said. “I learned a lot from it obviously, but now I get to play and use my skills and use what I’ve learned.”
Kirby’s fourth quarter goal may have been aided by one particular fan in the stands, as his pregnant fiancée Mariah McComber was cheering for him to score alongside Cougar’s father (Jamie Kirby), brothers, sisters and other friends and family in the stands.
After playing set up man twice thus far, Kirby whipped one past Nipissing goalie Andrew Wood with just over 10 minutes left in regulation.
“I heard her,” said Kirby. “That’s why I had to go for it.”
Jamie Kirby has been a mainstay in the stands throughout his son’s career, and was excited to have Cougar playing across the bridge from home.
“It was an extremely proud day for our whole family watching him out on the field so close to home,” said Jamie. “Hopefully, having him playing at McGill gives other young men from our community someone to emulate.”
McGill did not have an overly easy time with the plucky Laker team Saturday. After building a decent 9-4 lead at half, Nipissing came back to tie the game to force overtime. Two McGill goals gave the home side the cushion it needed, but it was never easy holding the Lakers off.
Kirby admitted McGill did not expect the Laker fight from the plucky school.
“Not at all. Not to be disrespectful, because every team, you respect them, but they were lower ranked in the past, and we just expected to blow them out,” said Cougar. “They fought for it, and it was a good game.”
Kirby and the Redmen now hit the road and play the University of Ottawa tomorrow before playing Carelton Sunday. The next home game is against Ottawa September 20.