Playoff Feature: Cam Holding Believes This Year Will Be Different For His Seals

Keep watch, San Diego. Things are going to be different this postseason. 

Defenseman Cam Holding has long epitomized what it means to be a disciplined and hardworking leader. His lead-by-example approach and succinct, informative messaging have helped the San Diego Seals reach an impressive level of greatness over the last five seasons. This NLL postseason, Holding is poised to assist in leading this franchise to its first NLL title.

On Saturday evening, Holding and the Seals suited up for a postseason battle for the fourth season in a row. Each prior season, the Seals had failed to reach the NLL Finals, let alone win the NLL. This year, they wanted to start their playoff journey on the right foot to build momentum for their championship run. 

Going up against the never-say-die Panther City Lacrosse Club, a win was not going to be a given. They knew it was going to be a challenge – three of their last five meetings against PCLC were decided by two goals or less, including a one-goal home loss back in 2022 – but they felt confident their home crowd could help give them that extra bit of inspiration they needed to claim victory in this opening road playoff matchup.

“Having a home playoff game is obviously a big advantage,” Holding said. “You have your home crowd, and people are cheering for you. The other part is routine. So, with the playoffs, there comes an added level of stress, emotion, and the importance of the whole thing. So, having the familiarity to be at home, and for guys to have their normal routine and kind of eliminate the distraction of playing on the road, it allows us to focus on our own things in our barn.”

For Holding, who lives in the San Diego area with his family, this was definitely the case. In the quarterfinal matchup, Holding was everywhere on the floor doing a little bit of everything. He brought the energy and tenacity. Holding caused a turnover, blocked a shot, scooped up four loose balls, assisted on a goal, and even scored a goal – his first postseason goal in ten years. 

When you give everything you have for the sake of winning a ball game, that mentality is going to spill over to the rest of the bench. In Saturday’s 9-8 OT thrilling victory over Panther City Lacrosse Club, we saw all of the Seals buckle down. In these win-or-go-home moments, that’s what you need – from every single player.

Holding has been there for the highs and the lows, but he’s ready to reach the highest of highs with his brothers in battle. This year’s Seals are prepared to finally take that step up to the biggest stage after coming up short (often way too short) more times than they would like or believe they should have. Holding believes their depth will help them get there – it’s already gotten them over their first hurdle.

“We have a different level of depth this year all over the floor,” Holding said. “That’s comforting. Even though Brodie [Merrill] is back, without Brodie, we were still able to accomplish so much. It doesn’t matter who’s in our lineup on any given night. We’ve won without Curtis [Dickson]. We’ve won without Belgrave. We didn’t have Danny Logan for some time, and at the beginning of the season, we were missing Matt Sykes and Eli Gobrecht. So, it doesn’t really matter [who’s in the lineup]; our structures and our systems remain the same.”

Whatever gets thrown at this year’s Seal’s squad, they’re ready to take it – at all costs. First and second round playoff losses still linger in the minds of all the Seals that have been with this team for a few years. They sting, but they are in the past. What matters now, is now.

“The biggest thing is to not think about the past. It’s a new season, it’s a new challenge. As soon as you put that stuff in your mind, it’s in your mind, and it will live there. I think it’s just approaching this season as a fresh season and not thinking about past seasons.”

That’s easier said than done, but it helps when things do not feel like they’ve felt in years past.

“It certainly feels different,” Holding says. 

Now, it’s time to make it different.


By Adam Levi