Junior attackman and midfielder Andrew Pettit poses at Ulrich Sports Complex on April 20. Pettit is on the 2018 Tewaaraton watch list, which recognizes the best college lacrosse players in the United States. (Benjamin Wang/B&W Staff)

Andrew Pettit earns a spot on the 2018 Tewaaraton watch list

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Junior attackman and midfielder Andrew Pettit didn’t always love lacrosse.

At first, he wasn’t passionate about playing the sport, but lacrosse was at the heart of his town’s culture in Wilmington, Delaware. Picking up a lacrosse stick and playing alongside his friends was his way of blending in.

Pettit’s love for the game grew in middle school when he realized he was talented and saw the opportunity to play in an environment that fostered a team atmosphere. He said competing with a close-knit group of players is what originally drew him to the sport.

This was only the start of Pettit’s journey toward a decorated lacrosse career.

Pettit knew he wanted to attend a college with a stellar lacrosse program. When he committed to Lehigh, the Mountain Hawks had just come off of two consecutive top-15 seasons. He said that’s when he knew where he wanted to play at the collegiate level.

As a sophomore at Lehigh, he earned Second Team All-Patriot League, tied for the team lead with 46 points and led the league in goals per game with an average of 2.50, finishing 17th in the nation. Pettit now leads the team with 53 points and 34 goals. He is ranked fifth in the league in average points per game with 3.63, eighth in average goals per game with 2.25 and ninth in average assists per game with 1.38.

One of the biggest indicators of Pettit’s success, however, is the spot he earned on the 2018 Tewaaraton Award watch list, which recognizes the best college lacrosse players in the United States.

“I never expected to be on the watch list,” Pettit said. “It’s one of the best individual awards you could receive, so even to be considered for the list is an honor that I’m really proud of.”

Pettit said being included on the watch list wouldn’t have been possible without the influence of and support from his teammates and coaches at Lehigh. 

He said he owes his individual accolades to the offense’s ability to play as a cohesive unit.

“Our whole offense is predicated on the team scoring, not one guy scoring,” Pettit said. “So, I’ve just been fortunate enough to have great guys around me who have been able to get me the ball in easy spots. They do most of the work.”

He said playing under coach Kevin Cassese — who is in his 11th season as Lehigh’s head men’s lacrosse coach and has led the team to seven straight Patriot League Tournament appearances — gave him the chance to capitalize on the opportunity to develop as a more versatile player.

“Pettit has become one of the best leaders on the team,” Cassese said. “He has diversified his game since coming to us as mainly a goal-scorer.”

Pettit’s growth as a leader and success on the field led to him being named one of the team’s captains midway through this season. He said he’s committed to leading the team and encouraging his teammates to play as well as they can for each other so the Mountain Hawks can keep the season alive for as long as possible.

Junior defender Eddie Bouhall said Pettit is an essential component in motivating the offense when things aren’t going in Lehigh’s favor.

Bouhall said he and Pettit inspire each other to try new things on opposite ends of the field, and he takes pride in their ability to have fun and be successful without overthinking their gameplay.

“He is a playmaker on the offensive end but also has multiple aspects that make him a great player all over the field,” Bouhall said. “As the years go on, his game continues to advance.”

Sophomore midfielder Austin Clibanoff said Pettit’s dedication to the sport and the team influences him to play as hard as possible.

“Pettit constantly brings positive energy to our team each and every day,” Clibanoff said. “He’s always encouraging others to do their best and is a vocal leader on the field. He’s taken and run with his semi-new role as captain.”

As the end of his penultimate season as a Mountain Hawk approaches, Pettit said he is excited for the remainder of his Lehigh lacrosse career.

With his undeniable love for the game and competitive nature acting as the driving forces behind everything he does, Pettit isn’t stopping with the Tewaaraton watch list. Winning a Patriot League Championship title is first on his list of goals before he graduates.

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