Attackers on lacrosse teams always have one job: outsmart the defensive opponents to get the ball in the net.
This task requires precise teamwork, unquestionable trust and an innate understanding of how each of the attackmen will work together to set up and complete the goal.
So far this season, scoring hasn’t seemed to be a problem for the Lehigh men’s lacrosse team.
The Mountain Hawks are 7-2 and have a perfect 4-0 Patriot League record.
The team began league play with a 15-4 win over Holy Cross on Feb. 24 at home. Lehigh then went on to beat Colgate University, No. 12 Army West Point and archrival Lafayette College, averaging just over 13 goals in each of the league games.
Junior attackman Andrew Pettit said the team’s strong start has given it an important advantage.
“Starting 4-0 in the Patriot League this season has been a huge success for our team,” Pettit said.
He said the Mountain Hawks are not only teammates but also best friends, which aids in their synergy on the field. Since they’re so familiar with one another, they know their teammates’ strategies and can predict their movements.
Coach Kevin Cassese said the way each attackman plays complements the others. By always being on the same page and knowing what the others are going to do and where they will be on the field, each player’s own strengths help contribute to the team’s overall offensive chemistry.
“Pettit is a lefty sniper, one of the best goal-scorers in the country and a sneaky good feeder,” Cassese said. “(Junior attackman) Lucas Spence is a tenacious dodger and just a fearless competitor. He plays with contagious energy and constant effort. Finally, (junior attackman) Tristan Rai broke onto the scene early in his career as a goal-scorer but has really developed into a great feeder and an all-around versatile player.”
Pettit leads the team in scoring with 42 points. Spence follows with 34 and Rai with 30. Rai has the highest shooting percentage with 50.
Spence said he’s excited to see what the unit is capable of executing during the remainder of the regular season.
“(It) is a very competitive and energetic group of guys,” Spence said. “We have all been playing meaningful minutes so far in college, so I think we’re finally maturing and hitting our stride.”
He said although the team has found success early on in the season, the Patriot League is a difficult league. Each game will present a new challenge to Lehigh, and each win will contribute to the team’s seed going into postseason play.
With the ultimate goal of winning a Patriot League Championship, the Mountain Hawks — who are currently the top-ranked team in the conference — will need to carry their momentum through the remaining five games of the regular season before tournament play begins.
“We are focusing on the next practice and the next game,” Cassese said. “That is all we care about right now.”
Lehigh will look to add to its two-game winning streak against Navy at home Saturday.