By: Ryan Sosic '19
BEREA, Ohio - When Josiah Greve '17 was nudged and bothered by his friends to pick up a lacrosse stick as a freshman in high school, he was uncertain about trying out the sport. Years later, it turned out to be a life changing decision and has given him the opportunity to take his game to places he never would have imagined as a freshman.
His first year of lacrosse at Milford High School wasn't the prettiest. He was only able to see time on the junior varsity team. As a sophomore, he made vast improvements and was moved up to the varsity squad. He quickly became a starting defender and never looked back. Over his next three years at the varsity level, Greve was able to earn three varsity letters and was recognized as a three-time all-region and two-time all-state player. After his senior year, he was selected as the Ohio Defenseman of the Year for the club division.
Even after all his success on the high school level, Greve wasn't really certain about continuing his career at the collegiate level, stating that "playing college lacrosse really wasn't even in my peripheral." He didn't contact many coaches and didn't have many college visits. The only school that he took seriously for lacrosse was Baldwin Wallace University. Ultimately, he chose to come to a place with a one-year old program and helped turn it into a top-notch team in the one of the most competitive conferences in NCAA Division III lacrosse by the time he left.
BUILDING FROM THE GROUND UP
In only its second year as a program, BW relied heavily on younger players to step up and take on a leadership role.
"It's not something you are used to coming from high school but it gets easier as it goes on," Greve said. "Coming in as a freshmen and sophomore, it was difficult."
The strain of trying to become that young leader did not affect his play on the field. As a freshman, he started all 10 games and was a first-team All-Ohio Athletic Conference selection after not being entirely sure he wanted to continue his lacrosse career in college.
As a sophomore, he helped BW win a school-record 12 games and was again tabbed a first-team All-OAC selection, in addition to being named as an Academic All-OAC honoree. He led the team by causing 30 turnovers.
Over the next two seasons, the accomplishments continued to pour in. Greve led the Jackets by accumulating 49 total caused turnovers which helped him earn his third and fourth first-team All-OAC selections.
By the time Greve's career was over, he earned four varsity letters, was a four-year starter, a four-time first-team All-OAC selection, two-time first-team United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) All-West Region selection, an Academic All-OAC selection, participated in the 2017 National East-West All-Star Game and was named a 2017 USILA Division III All-American, a first for a Yellow Jacket lacrosse athlete.
He helped BW produce a 45-18 overall record with one OAC regular season title in 2016 and four OAC Tournament appearances.
As the dust settles, Greve is able to look back at his accomplishments, prideful in the manner in which he was able to elevate his career to achieve things that no one has before for the Jackets. "It's surreal in a sense. It's a goal in your mind, but the greater goal is to push your team towards conference championship or playoffs. My whole career was trying to lead my teammates as a captain. When it's all said and done and you're an All-American, it's pretty cool."
However, his lacrosse journey did not end inside George Finnie Stadium.
Greve's mother, Prudy, is a native of the country of Bermuda, a British territory located in the North Atlantic Ocean. As a kid, Greve was able to visit family there often. As he grew older, sports took over his life and unfortunately he was unable to continue making the trips to his mother's homeland.
In 2014, he found himself in Denver to watch Bermuda compete in the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Lacrosse Championships. He was introduced to key personnel in charge of the decision-making process for selecting players for the Bermuda National Lacrosse team, which opened up the possibility of someday playing for Bermuda in the future. Additionally, his mom really ingrained the idea in his head of the possibility that he could be out there representing her country.
"It was in the back of my mind but it was four years away," said Greve.
Fast forward to January of 2018 where Greve was invited to try out for the Bermuda National Team. Greve earned himself the tryout by turning some heads with his play during the annual King of De Rock tournament, which is held in Bermuda, to allow post-collegiate lacrosse athletes to showcase their talents.
He made the team.
The accomplishment has meant a lot to him. He gets to "kill two birds with one stone," so to speak. Being able to go down and stay with his uncle gives him the opportunity to have that family time that was lost as he was coming up through the ranks of the lacrosse world.
"It's kind of cool to represent a country and walk out with a flag. It's pretty awesome to represent something like that," explained Greve.
The defender hopes playing for the national team becomes a long-term staple for him, stating that he will try to "try to stick around (with Bermuda) for as long as I can play lacrosse. It would be pretty cool to play for four more games. I will try to just stick with them and see what kind of team we can build."
Greve and Bermuda will travel to Netanya, Israel, for the 2018 World Lacrosse Championships. The games and opening ceremonies will begin on July 12 and continue until Saturday, July 21. Bermuda will play its first game on July 12 against Wales.
"WHAT DO I HAVE TO LOSE?"
Another idea that was thrown around early in Greve's collegiate career was trying out for Major League Lacrosse (MLL). Although he found success with the Bermuda national team, "it was kind of an after-thought" to even try out for the MLL, he says.
The All-American ultimately decided to attend a try-out in Columbus hosted by the Ohio Machine. After showcasing his talent, he got the news that he would not be invited to training camp, as they did not need him.
"I tried out, gave it a shot and they made decision to fill their spots with some other guys. There's only so many spots and there are always many good players on the outside of the fence looking in," Greve said.
Just a few days later, he got a call back from the Machine that they suddenly had a spot open and wanted him to come for the final week of training camp, even though he wasn't invited for the first camp. "It's obviously an opportunity you got to take advantage of. When a spot opens up, they are always looking for someone to fill it. It's just another chance to hopefully show what you can do on the field. All I can do is just play as hard as I can, the rest isn't up to me."
Fortunately, he was able to show he belonged and, the next day, he was asked by the Machine to become a part of their practice team.
In the MLL, teams consist of a 25-man active roster, where 16 of those players dress for the games. In addition to the active roster, the clubs are able to select six practice players. Rosters are loaded with talent from powerhouses such as Notre Dame, UNC, Johns Hopkins and Ohio State. Greve is a part of the small percentage of Division III alumni that have made it to the professional level.
For home games, Greve will travel to Columbus for a Friday afternoon practice, stay overnight and participate in pregame shoot-around and practice drills. After that, he will shower up and cheer on his teammates from the sidelines.
Overall, Greve says he's just along for the ride. "Whether it's playing time or practice squad for the rest of my career … Cool. The ultimate goal is to lead a team to the championship. Obviously my individual goal is to become a starter and play a significant amount of time but right now I will do whatever I can to help the team. Not a lot of guys can say they've been a part of a professional team."
The Machine begin their 14 game schedule on April 29th against the New York Lizards.
HIS LASTING IMPACT
Although Greve has moved from BW, his impact will have an everlasting effect on the Yellow Jacket program as they hope to continue to build in the future.
"Josiah's leadership over his four years had a large impact on our upperclassmen and our team's leadership to this day," first-year head coach Trey Keeley expressed. "Greve worked to build a new program from the ground up, which is no small task. Lessons and habits learned during his four years have earned him the privilege to compete at the highest levels of the sport, professionally and internationally. We are proud to have Josiah as an example of excellence on and off the field, during college and after graduation. It is my hope that our players continue to use him as an example of what being a Yellow Jacket for life is all about. We are pulling for Josiah as he takes his positive impact to the MLL's Ohio Machine and the FIL's competitive Bermuda National Team.'
LACROSSE'S IMPACT ON HIMSELF
Overall, Greve says some of his best memories in his entire lacrosse career were at BW. "I lived with four of my teammates in the dorms and off-campus housing throughout my whole college career. You get a pretty good bond with some guys. It's an experience you won't get if you don't play college sports. It's a good experience, but it's not going to be easy. Anything in life that is worth it won't be easy."
In the future, the program leader in caused turnovers (139) is looking forward to the growth of his alma mater and cautions prospective athletes that "BW is not a new program anymore like when I was there. We're about five or six years in. You're going to be pushed. We want to be the top dogs in the conference."
Greve plans to stick around the game long after he is unable to play. As long as he is in the Cincinnati area, he will continue to coach the high school where he first picked up that lacrosse stick, something that has brought him to so many places and created so many memories and experiences.
"I'll be around the game. I won't just head off into the sunset."