Having emerged as the top playmaker for No. 8 Johns Hopkins, Zach Palmer’s most lasting play was the one-handed, wraparound goal he scored in the team’s 11-10 overtime win against then-No. 1 Virginia on March 24.
That play symbolized the independence with which Palmer, a natural lefty who curled around the left post and tossed the ball into the net with his right hand, has been granted by the Blue Jays coaching staff.
“I think I’m more apt to be creative,” Palmer said, adding that he had never attempted that shot in practice or in a game. “The coaches have stressed that they want me to throw behind-the-back passes and they want me to be creative on the field. That’s kind of given me some leeway and a comfort level with it.”
Coach Dave Pietramala, who is frequently characterized as a coach who values caution over recklessness, said he wants Palmer, a native of Ontario, Canada, to play the way he did when he was growing up.
“There have been moments when we’ve said to Zach, ‘Listen, we want you to play like an indoor player. We don’t have a problem. Throw it behind your back. Do what you do,’” Pietramala said. “I think sometimes these guys come here and because it’s the field game, they can be kind of Americanized to a point. That’s not what we want because that’s not why we brought him here. We brought him here to play the way he had played as an indoor or box lacrosse player. He’s taken to the field game, but I think he has more to give.”
Palmer leads the team in turnovers (36) by a wide margin, but he said he intends to keep playing the way he has been.
“I’ve had more turnovers than I would have liked this year,” he said. “But I think I’ve been creative in the situations I’ve needed to be. It’s kind of a love-hate thing. I’ve learned when to do it and when to hold onto the ball.”