Because taking faceoffs has become a one-job specialty in lacrosse, it can create an immense amount of pressure on the athletes taking them. Often times it’s their only appearance on the field, and if they can’t win draws they might not see the field at all.

That’s not a problem Staples junior Ben Schwaeber had in his first season at the ‘X’. Unheralded entering the season, Schwaeber rose to become one of the top faceoff men in the state. Competing against the top competition in the FCIAC, he won 77 percent (246 out of 320) of the faceoffs he took.

Schwaeber began as a midfielder in the youth programs before arriving at Staples. Veteran coach Paul McNulty noticed he had a knack for taking draws and placed him in the depth chart at that position.

“He’s very quick with good quick hands,” McNulty said. “He has a good technique of getting on top of the ball, pulling it and scooping it up. He’s very good at throwing it to his teammates, too.”

Schwaeber sat behind Eric Zurmuehle — who just completed his first season at Hamilton College and took two-thirds of the draws a freshman — Schwaeber got playing time when games were out of reach last season, but his first start came in the Wreckers’ season-opener in April against McMahon.

“I was definitely nervous knowing I was the next man up because the guys did so well before me,” Schwaeber said. “(McNulty) did a great job of getting me ready; you get less nervous the more you play.”

There were no nerves shown on the field, as Schwaeber won the first seven draws and 13 of 19 total to get the season off on a positive note against the Senators. He didn’t look back from there and dominated most who lined up across from him.

Schwaeber credits Zurmuehle for helping him developing his game in and out of the season.

“He worked Eric all last year, and Eric came back to practice after the college season ended,” McNulty said. “They just pass it on to each other.”

Schwaeber dominated the inferior competition and went toe-to-toe with the FCIAC’s best, including playing Greenwich’s Michael Sullivan and Darien’s Andrew Pugliese - the FCIAC’s first and second team faceoff men -- to a draw.

“He beat players this season that are committed to colleges,” McNulty said. “We have a list of them and he’s made film.”

In the state playoffs, Schwaeber won 13 of 14 faceoffs in a 7-4 first round win over Ludlowe. The Wreckers’ season ended with a 12-11 loss to Glastonbury in the Class L quarterfinals.

Without a shot clock in the high school game, possessions are valuable entities. This is even truer at Staples, where McNulty preaches patient, quality possessions on offense.

“My goal has always been the same; to get the ball to the offense,” Schwaeber said. “If we score goals on the offense then great; I want to work hard to be a leader on the field and do my job.”

Schwaeber — who plays his club lacrosse for the Connecticut Chargers — said he hopes to get recruited and will be attending a number of showcases over the summer with the hopes of accomplishing that goal.

“It’s not great starting this late (in the recruiting process),” Schwaeber said. “But I will have two years at the faceoff x in High School; but if a school can see what I can do it won’t matter.”