The Lehigh men’s lacrosse team traveled to Centreville High School in Clifton, Virginia, to play against the back-to-back National Champions, the University of Virginia and the University of Richmond in the 2021 American Boy Fall Brawl on Oct. 10.
The proceeds from the tournament support the American Boy Project’s treatment scholarships to combat addiction and offer resources to those in recovery.
The Megale Family launched the American Boy Project after their son Matt Megale passed away from an opiate overdose in 2017, at the age of 26.
Matt Megale dreamed of playing lacrosse at the University of Notre Dame. Larry Megale, who played lacrosse at the University of Virginia, started the inaugural tournament to spread awareness about addiction.
For the Lehigh lacrosse team, this tournament meant more than game outcomes.
David DiMaria, director of operations and assistant coach, said the tournament taught players about the “game of life.”
DiMaria said the biggest takeaway of the weekend was the exposure to opiate addiction.
“If the kids got anything out of the weekend, I hope they understand how they need to appreciate each and every day and their relationships,” DiMaria said.
The Mountain Hawks faced off against the Virginia Cavaliers in the first scrimmage.
Standout senior attacker Tommy Schelling scored the first goal for Lehigh off a transition play.
The Mountain Hawks gained momentum as sophomore Quinn Armstrong scored another goal off of an assist from senior Matt Marker.
The Cavaliers battled back with four goals before Marker scored again off a pass from senior Cole Kirst.
The Mountain Hawks defense had trouble with the Cavaliers, as they scored another four goals.
Sophomore Scott Cole scored from the high wing, and face-off specialist senior Mike Sisselberger dished out the ball to junior Ryan Niggeman for a long-pole goal.
The Cavaliers weren’t done yet, scoring twice more before the end of the half.
Despite a handful of injuries, Lehigh stayed competitive against the defending champions.
Schelling said the team has a lot of work to do, but playing against Virginia taught them a lot about their own team.
As the season slowly approaches, Schelling is excited to get to work.
He said the team needs to iron out their play in between the restraining lines and figure out their uneven situations on offense and defense.
“The game showed me how focused we need to be in order to win against a team like that,” Schelling said. “We just need to keep getting better everyday.”
Marker said that the team had good and bad moments and that the game was a good indicator of progress.
“From an X’s and O’s standpoint, we definitely realized that we still have a lot of work to do,” Marker said.
Cole said that the team showed a great amount of hustle and grit against the Cavaliers.
Cole added that part of the team’s improvement will depend on himself and his teammates stepping into bigger roles.
“I played last year as a freshman, but I still don’t have all of the experience I need, so we’re working collectively to smooth everything out,” Cole said.
The team played a second scrimmage against Richmond, which they lost 13-7.
Lehigh’s fall season concluded on Oct. 16 with scrimmages against Towson and Drexel.
The Mountain Hawks will begin winter conditioning until the regular season begins in February.