Boston Cannons midfielder Kyle Weber, a 2017 Bates College graduate, controls the ball during the Major League Lacrosse championship game Sunday in Annapolis, Maryland. Anne Evans photo for Major League Lacrosse

The way Kyle Weber’s Major League Lacrosse debut played out seems like it could have been scripted in Hollywood, but the 2017 Bates College graduate said it was just a taste that “leaves you kind of thirsty for more.”

Weber’s first professional action came Sunday, when the Boston Cannons team he just joined earlier this month took on the Denver Outlaws in the MLL Championship game. Weber recorded two shots, one on-goal, and the Cannons came away with a 13-10 victory to secure their second title in franchise history, and first since 2011.

“Hollywood would have had him scoring on every shot, but one game, one title will have to do,” Weber’s coach at Bates, Peter Lasagna, said.

“I honestly don’t know how to describe it because it’s just crazy circumstances,” Weber told the Sun Journal in a phone call Sunday night. “I came here expecting to play defensive midfield, and didn’t get any playing time. And then some wild things happened down here, and we had some guys who felt more comfortable heading home than playing today, and I had the opportunity to play offense, which that’s what I have the most experience in, and (that) was my role when I was at Bates.

“So it was cool to be able to use all the work that I put in playing offense and have that same responsibility in an MLL game. You know, I never expected that to be the way I made it onto the field or anything like that. It’s certainly a whirlwind.”

Adjusting for the coronavirus, MLL condensed its season into a little more than a week’s time. All of the games were played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, where all the league’s players were “holed up in a hotel.”

Weber watched from the sideline as the Cannons went 3-2 during round-robin play against the league’s other five teams, and that record was good enough to advance Boston to the semifinals. They were set to take on the Outlaws — who they beat Friday in round-robin play to deal Denver its first defeat — in Saturday’s semifinal round, but the other two semifinalists, the Chesapeake Bayhawks (who originally drafted Weber in the auxiliary round in 2017) and Connecticut Hammerheads, both forfeited after a player in the league tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday night. The semifinals were then canceled and the Cannons and Outlaws advanced to Sunday’s championship game.

Weber’s opportunity to debut on the field arose Sunday when five Cannon players — Jason Brewster, Frank Brown, Bryan Cole, Matt Gilray and Randy Staats — opted to not play and instead return home for health precautions. Lasagna said Weber likely would have played earlier in the condensed season, but Staats declared he was available to play.

Boston Cannons midfielder Kyle Weber, a 2017 Bates College graduate, controls the ball during the Major League Lacrosse championship game Sunday in Annapolis, Maryland. Anne Evans photo for Major League Lacrosse

“Very tough timing and a challenge for Kyle, who had worked so hard preparing and was so ready to finally get his shot,” said Lasagna, who called Weber “a great representative of Bates lacrosse.”

“Kyle had a decision to make: To leave Annapolis and focus on his full-time job with Nike, where he is thriving, or stay with the Cannons and support his teammates, coaches,” Lasagna added. “He chose to stay and be a great teammate.”

“I’m really glad I decided to stick around down here, and the persistence pays,” said Weber, who added that he is really thankful for Lasagna “for always being a huge advocate. The belief from him has never wavered.”

Weber’s own belief may have wavered for a moment when he stepped onto the field for the first time as a professional.

“I was definitely feeling the nerves first time around, but quickly realize I belong and I’m here for a reason, and my teammates were backing me up and supporting me,” Weber said. “I settled in quickly and felt more comfortable as soon as that first run, that first whistle was done. But I can’t deny there was definitely some nerves.”

Lasagna couldn’t help putting his coach’s hat while recapping Weber’s debut performance.

“He started with very steady, conservative play, helping facilitate goals the first two times his unit was on the field. Overall, the plus-minus rate of his unit was outstanding,” Lasagna said. “He also got back on defense three times and never surrendered a goal. He found his legs, confidence as the game wore on. Kyle beat his man cleanly every time he dodged, generated three shots and was a great save away from an assist. I know he would have loved to can a few of his shots, but the goals will fall when he gets regular, consistent opportunities.”

Weber said he learned to contribute in a different way than he did while at Bates, when he was an All-American and the Division III Midfielder of the Year as a senior.

“(Our class) was kind of the centerpiece and was the focus of the game plan, and you knew every time we were suiting up we were going to get our touches, our shots, that sort of thing,” Weber said.

A former college rival in the NESCAC became the centerpiece of the Cannons’ attack Sunday. Former Tufts University standout John Uppgren, a 2016 graduate, scored a career-high five goals and assisted on another in a more-pronounced offensive role that came about due to some of the Cannons’ departures.

“Without him, we don’t have the margin of victory we had today,” said Weber, who called it “awesome” to be close with Uppgren and the other veteran players.

“I’m happy for them, and I think they deserve all the credit in the world, but I really hope that I’ve put in the work and deserve the right to receive that amount of credit in the future,” Weber said.

“I’m definitely very happy that I got to be a part of something like this, but I think there’s more. I think there’s more work to be done, more I can contribute,” Weber added. “So, yeah, I’m pleased. I’ll celebrate with my teammates tonight. But I think it just fuels the fire a little bit more and I want to come back and do it again, but play a bigger role and contribute even more.”

Lasagna said that in his view, “it’s clear that with regular game reps Kyle would be a force to reckoned with in that league. He belongs.”

2017 Bates College graduate Kyle Weber, back row, fourth from right, celebrates with his Boston Cannons team after the team won the Major League Lacrosse championship Sunday in Annapolis, Maryland. Major League Lacrosse photo

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