As the time winded down to zero on the scoreboard during the men’s lacrosse game between Lehigh and Bucknell University on April 21, the players stopped running and acknowledged the end of the 2015 season.
Lehigh lost the game to Bucknell 13-8, resulting in the team’s first losing season since 2011.
The team has seen both high and low points this past season. Many individual goals were accomplished, such as junior defenseman Casey Eidenshink being named to the Academic All-Patriot League Team and senior attackman Dan Taylor being recognized as one of only 25 Tewaaraton Award nominees in the nation. However, on a team-wide scale, many did not view the season as a success.
“The team battled every day and gave great effort,” coach Kevin Cassese said. “That being said, it was not our best season.”
The 2015 season began on a rough note with a 10-9 loss against Marquette University on February 7. A brutal winter had prevented the team from having much outdoor practice time prior to this season’s opening game.
Despite the lack of outdoor practice, the Mountain Hawks pulled themselves out of the rut of that opening loss by subsequently defeating Furman University and Boston University. During the game against Boston, Lehigh had 10 turnovers and 17 successful clears.
However, the six games to follow would be characterized by close scores, small mistakes and slow starts.
“It definitely wasn’t the best season we ever had,” Eidenshink said. “It was kind of disappointing.”
Though the Mountain Hawks put a lot off effort into both practices and games, they found themselves up against some very competitive opponents this season.
With each additional loss, the team grew more and more eager for some bright spot on its horizon. This would finally come on the week of April 7, when the team defeated Princeton University, Stony Brook University and Lafayette College.
“Beating Lafayette on senior night was the best part of the season, in my opinion,” senior defenseman Lukas Mikelinich said.
According to Cassese, this week was the highlight of the team’s season, as it was able to beat two top-20 teams.
The victory over Lafayette to end the regular season proved to be the last success that the team would experience in 2015. Lehigh’s stay in the Patriot League Tournament was short and ended after the Bucknell loss. While the Mountain Hawks showed determination during the game, the Bison outplayed Lehigh from start to finish.
However, the accomplishments of Taylor, a senior captain, provided a positive for the 2015 season. Taylor finished with 77 points overall and 220 points in his entire career. During the 2015 season, he was the top scorer for the team with 41 goals and 36 assists.
Taylor will continue to play lacrosse for the Denver Outlaws after graduation, making him one of three current Lehigh players who was drafted in the 2015 Collegiate Draft for men’s lacrosse. The others were senior goalie Matt Poillon and Mikelinich
Junior Reid Weber also had a successful season. He scored a total of 38 goals this season, just behind the 41 scored by Taylor.
The team will take the results of this season and use them as motivation for next spring. Rigorous training schedules are on the horizon for the team.
“At the beginning of the year, the team set 12 goals,” said Cassese. “We ended up achieving none of them.”
Many members of the team are upset with the results of this season, but look forward to the opportunity to improve next year.
In the coming season, the Mountain Hawks hope to accomplish more of the goals they set for themselves and become a stronger team as a whole.