Ty English, a Perfect Two-Way Midfielder, Earns Midwest Player of the Year

Ty English was known primarily as an elite defender.

That is until 2021, when the Culver Military Academy (Ind.) standout demonstrated equally elite scoring chops with 46 goals and 35 assists in 16 games.

English became a complete two-way midfielder and led the Eagles to a 13-2 finish and No. 10 national ranking. He is the Nike / USA Lacrosse Magazine Midwest Boys’ Player of the Year.

“He can guard the ball at an elite level, he’s a human punt return in the clear and then to be our leading scorer on top of that,” Eagles coach Jon Birsner said. “He can shoot the ball really hard, but for him to also have so many assists speaks volumes coming from a midfielder to be able to have that field vision. So Ty really put a cap on his high school career by completing the all-around, two-way midfielder role in a perfect way.”

Call it a Kawhi Leonard story. 

Like Leonard early in his career with the San Antonio Spurs, English built his reputation on being an elite defensive player.

“Being able to touch the field when I first got to Culver was my biggest goal, and to do that, [I] was kind of just using my athleticism and played defensive middie,” English said. “That’s kind of where I strived at the start, but I always knew that I could do more.”

His thirst for competition started in his family. English’s dad played football, then started a personal training company, meaning English, the second of four brothers, was taught techniques at an early age.

“He kind of shaped me into a receiver like himself,” English said. “I think that’s the biggest thing that’s helped me and my brothers go through is kind of just being agile and not necessarily lifting and getting stronger in the gym, but just kind of his knowledge with trying to be athletic in general and moving and cutting, and I think that’s what helped me and my brothers out most with lacrosse.”

Though English was originally pointed toward football given his dad’s history, he took on lacrosse because, as he put it, it was either hockey, lacrosse or both in Canada, where he grew up. More than anything, English was geared for competition.

“I think that my competitive nature comes from being around my four brothers and kind of competing as kids,” English said. “Whether it be on the field or sometimes it could be playing video games.”

“Ty really put a cap on his high school career by completing the all-around, two-way midfielder role in a perfect way.”

— Jon Birsner

English’s competitiveness never changed. According to Birsner, on days off, English could normally be found playing basketball. In drills, if English’s team was struggling to score goals, the midfielder would insist on moving up to the attack.

“Sometimes we’re getting ready for a game and I don’t need him taking those reps, I need him taking midfield reps, and he just looks at me and he’s like, ‘No, I want to win,’” Birsner said. “That’s just the kind of kid he is, and I learned to really understand and respect his mindset and his game.”

The competitive English was forced to take on new responsibility as the 2021 season progressed and fellow Under Armour All-American Jack Gray went down with an injury. With Gray out, English couldn’t come off the field in close games. Birsner told his assistant coaches that as long as English was walking toward the faceoff circle, they weren’t to pull him from the game, no matter how tired they thought he was.

“He had to put the whole team on his shoulders on offense and defense because Jack was a two-way guy as well,” Birsner said. “Jack and Ty are four-year, two-way guys here at Culver together, and that was his right-hand man, literally, and so Ty had to pick up the slack on the field.”

English was able to lift the Eagles a long way, including an undefeated record in the Midwest as well as a GEICO Nationals appearance. 

Perhaps most exciting was a home victory over then-undefeated IMG National (Fla.), thus preserving Culver’s massive win streak at Oliver Field.

“Honestly, in my four years, [IMG] was the biggest threat to our undefeated streak on Oliver Field, and it was such a hype game going into it,” English said. “A lot of people were hyping it up, and it was awesome to be able to come up with that win.”

English noted that at the start of the season, there were questions surrounding Culver, given a coaching change and a couple of key players following the departure of Jon Posner. What English and his teammates proved is the Eagles are still a force with which to be reckoned.

In no small part due to their own Kawhi Leonard.

“He’s just one of the most versatile and well-rounded midfielders I’ve ever seen,” Birsner said. “We were never not in a game because of Ty English because he would get a faceoff ground ball, he would take the ball away from a guy, cause a turnover on defense, he would score in transition, or he’d score in settled offense. So, in all facets of his game, we knew Ty could give us a chance.”

Nike/USA Lacrosse High School Rankings
National Boys' Top 25 | National Girls' Top 25
Northeast Boys' Top 10 | Northeast Girls' Top 10
Mid-Atlantic Boys' Top 10 | Mid-Atlantic Girls' Top 10
South Boys' Top 10
| South Girls' Top 10
Midwest Boys' Top 10
| Midwest Girls' Top 10
West Boys' Top 10
| West Girls' Top 10

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1. Culver Prep (Ind.), 14-2

The Eagles went undefeated against the Midwest this year, including wins over Cleveland St. Ignatius, Cincinnati St. Xavier and Upper Arlington out of the Buckeye State, along with impressive victories over IMG National (Fla.) and Dallas Jesuit (Texas). Ty English led Culver with a whopping 81 points and 67 ground balls in 16 games.

2. Dublin Jerome (Ohio), 22-2 

The Celtics came up clutch at the end, topping Cleveland St. Ignatius (Ohio) in overtime in the state semifinals, then avenging a MSLCA Tournament loss to Upper Arlington (Ohio) with a 12-11 state title game victory. In the latter, Jerome got hat tricks from Carter Barco (three goals, three assists) and Jackson Bryne (three goals), as well as a big game from Marek Tzagournis (two goals, three assists). The Celtics’ only other loss was to Hudson by a goal on April 23, but they also avenged that two weeks later.

3. Loyola Academy (Ill.), 19-1

The Ramblers faced their customary share of adversity in the IHSA final four, trailing Wheaton Academy 5-1 after a quarter in the semifinals and Lake Forest 6-3 at halftime of their state championship encounter. As it has done all season, Loyola came back both times, with Connor Ditomasso scoring five goals apiece against Wheaton Academy and Lake Forest. The Ramblers’ lone loss this season was in overtime against New Trier (Ill.), but in the second meeting for a sectional title, they came out on top.

4. Brother Rice (Mich.), 18-2

Down 5-3, the Warriors tied their state title game against Hartland (Mich.) heading into the half, then took control with a 6-0 run in the third quarter. Nick Dudley capped his lacrosse career with four goals and an assist as Brother Rice captured its 15th MHSAA Division 1 championship in 16 years. The Warriors were undefeated against in-state opponents, suffering their lone losses against Ohio foes Cleveland St. Ignatius and Upper Arlington.

5. New Trier (Ill.), 17-1

New Trier put up an undefeated regular season before falling to Loyola Academy (Ill.) in a sectional title contest. Jesse Shapiro, who had five goals in the loss to the Ramblers, finished with 38, while Brian Kaskey had a career-high 16 saves in the loss and finished his 2021 campaign with 96 saves and a save percentage of 62.


Mason Margherio helped East Grand Rapids (Mich.) to the No. 9 ranking in the Midwest.

6. Upper Arlington (Ohio), 21-2

Entering the OHSAA postseason, the Golden Bears had just one loss, to Midwest No. 1 Culver. Their second loss came in the state championship game to Dublin Jerome, which Upper Arlington beat rather handily in the MSLCA Tournament. Despite the 12-11 loss, Sam Burns had a memorable final performance for the Golden Bears with five goals, while Marco Landolfi also had a hat trick.

7. Hamilton Southeastern (Ind.), 19-2

A 6-0 second quarter proved plenty for the Royals in a 10-6 state title game victory over Carmel (Ind.). Hamilton Southeastern had plenty of standouts throughout the season, with Ty DeSplinter racking up 76 ground balls, Jake Lemieux winning 104 faceoffs (at a 62.7 percent clip) and Colin Krekeler saving 57.5 percent of the shots he faced. The Royals also had a wide array of scorers, led by Ryan Kemp (43 goals), EJ Reichert (41), Garrett Smith (38), Michael Mattaliano (34) and Connor Ruhnow (31).

8. Hartland (Mich.), 22-2

Hartland won 20 straight games to get to the Division 1 state championship, which it dropped 14-9 to Brother Rice. The Eagles rode an explosive attack led by Bo Lockwood (96 goals, 140 assists, 236 points), Noah Luck (102 goals, 35 assists, 137 points) and Charlie Anderson (69 goals, 24 assists, 93 points). Reagan Pashby won 227 of 302 faceoffs (75.2 percent), and Evan Busby went 150-for-204 (73.5 percent) to help with possession.

9. East Grand Rapids (Mich.), 20-2

The Pioneers got huge performances from Ted Campbell, a senior who scored six goals in a 12-10 win over Forest Hills Eastern (Mich.) in the MHSAA Division 2 championship. Campbell finished with 62 goals on the season, and the offense got further help from players like Mason Margherio and Jake Higgins, who also scored multiple goals in the state final.

10. Benilde-St. Margaret’s (Minn.), 17-1

The Red Knights rebounded from a one-goal loss to Chanhassen (Minn.) with 12 straight wins to round out the season, plowing through the state quarterfinals, semifinals and finals by a combined margin of 42-10. Benilde-St. Margaret had a balanced attack in 2021 with three players reaching the 70-point mark: Carsen Brandt (27 goals, 51 assists, 78 points), Paddy Burns (50 goals, 27 assists, 77 points) and Matthew Dowden (53 goals, 17 assists, 70 points).