Even though Maryland men's lacrosse midfielder Will Snider only appeared in six games in his first two years in College Park, he knew there could be opportunities to expand his role as a junior.
His older brother, Drew Snider, became a key member of the Terps attack in 2011 after enduring a similar struggle to break into the first team as an underclassman. Will Snider gained confidence after watching his sibling progress from a backup without a strong grasp of coach John Tillman's system to a valuable veteran.
This year, Snider replicated his brother's path by parlaying hard work on the scout team and extra film sessions into an increased role. He drew praise from Tillman for his performance last weekend against then-No. 8 Notre Dame, and he hopes to continue to impress when the No. 2 Terps host No. 1 Albany on Saturday.
"He's getting more playing time now than he ever has," Tillman said. "He's played with a lot of poise. He's a guy who's really excited about playing and worked really hard to put himself in that position."
The Sniders grew up in Seattle, where lacrosse terminology is different than on the East Coast. That made it difficult to adjust to the program when they arrived in College Park. At first, Drew Snider said, almost everything was "gibberish."
But time spent around coaches and teammates eased the process.
"There's always a little bit of a learning curve that you need to catch up with," Snider said. "If you're growing up in a [lacrosse] hotbed, you'll know stuff before a guy from Seattle will know it. My freshman and sophomore years really helped."
Even though lacrosse isn't as prevalent on the West Coast, the brothers wanted to play at Maryland since they were children. Their dad Kris Snider played lacrosse at Virginia and often spoke about the Terps' storied history. Will Snider met Tillman while attending his older brother's Maryland game, where he gained a connection to the program.
Early in his career, Snider pressured himself to make every play in practice, looking to score whenever he had the ball and prove himself. But even though he was a valued member of Maryland's scout team, he rarely saw the field in games.
So he returned to Seattle last summer and practiced his shooting at local clinics, elevating his confidence. Now, he's figured into Maryland second-line midfield rotation.
"It takes time to adjust socially, and with the lacrosse aspect, it's a faster speed and you're trying to learn the systems and grow physically," Drew Snider said. "You have some of the best players in the country ahead of you and you have to be as good as them. If not, whoever's better cracks the lineups."
Will Snider's teammates have embraced his increased on-field role, while rallying around his presence in the locker room. He picks music for the team to listen torf. Attackman Jared Bernhardt said Snider thrives as the DJ, picking music for the team to listen to.
"I'll throw on whatever I feel is hot in the streets," Snider said.
Still, Snider isn't complacent. He still competes for playing time the way his brother did earlier in Tillman's tenure.
"There are guys on the scout team coming for my spot," Snider said. "I was in that position too. I totally understand if someone's going to step in front of me and play better. That's the system we live in. It's in the best interest of the team."