The Lehigh men’s lacrosse team has won all five of its Patriot League games and is on a five-game winning streak after a 1-3 start to the season.
Early on, the team struggled when senior attacker Lucas Spence suffered an injury. The team looked to younger players, such as freshman Tommy Schelling, to make contributions on the field. The attacker, who feels like the lacrosse team is his new family, said it was “an adjustment” in the beginning, especially with all the injuries.
“But, I think we have shown resiliency and toughness as the season has progressed,” Schelling said. “I know confidence has been a big part to our success and with some of the underclassmen having to step into some big roles, I think the seniors have really done a great job of preparing us for the challenge.”
Schelling said he hopes to improve his shooting and physical skills but also wants to develop his leadership abilities. He said the team offers a wide range of leaders from which he can learn from, including senior captain Chris Kiernan.
Two of the team’s seven wins were against Patriot League ranked teams, No. 16 Colgate and No. 14 Army. The Mountain Hawks also defeated Big Ten opponent No. 15 Rutgers. Coach Kevin Cassese said the team’s performance in Patriot League play thus far is the product of hard work and great leadership.
“The team has been resilient this year,” Cassese said. “We took our lumps in February in the non-conference schedule, but we learned a lot and rebounded with some big wins in the month of March. Leadership has been terrific. Our assistant coaches, our captains and our upperclassmen have done a very good job leading the way.”
Cassese said the overall success of the team is based on how the players bond with each other. He said this year’s assemblage of Mountain Hawks elicits strong chemistry, resilience and consistency.
Although the team has gained confidence from its success in Patriot League play so far, the Mountain Hawks are far from satisfied. Preparing for the next game is always the team’s top priority.
“We’re not being complacent, we’re 5-0 in Patriot League games right now, but we still have something to prove and haven’t won anything yet,” said sophomore goalkeeper James Spence. “We want to continue to work hard, win games and build relationships.”
James said his favorite win of the season so far was the team’s 10-8 nail-biting victory against Colgate because it got the team back on track after its initial inconsistencies. Lucas said the 11-8 win against Army was its best team performance up to this point.
Lucas wants to continue to put in the hard work and outplay everyone he encounters on the lacrosse field. He said he knows the team has a challenging Patriot League schedule coming up, including three-time defending league champion Loyola. He said it will come down to capitalizing on the small plays.
“Our goal for the rest of the season is to continue to win out in league play and earn a first-round bye in the playoffs,” Lucas said.
Schelling will make his Patriot League tournament debut later in the spring, but is already feeling excited and confident about the experience. He said he hopes the Mountain Hawks will continue to enhance their game so that when the playoffs approach, they’ll be playing their best lacrosse of the season.
Cassese is focused on the here and now.
“Our goal is always to have a great practice today and play winning lacrosse in the upcoming game,” Cassese said.
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