The Brown and White spoke with men’s lacrosse seniors Michael Gomez, Matthew Marker, Michael Monitto and Tommy Shelling to hear about their Mountain Hawk experience and talk about their plans following graduation in May. This is an installment in The Brown and White’s senior athlete Q&A series.
Question: What is your proudest Lehigh lacrosse achievement?
Michael Gomez: Last year was kind of a tricky year because of COVID, and I had just transferred here last semester after the 2019 season. But, I would have to say going undefeated in the regular season was my proudest moment. I would say given the circumstances last year, it was a very tough year to rally around and so each week, it gave us something to rally for–we wanted to keep that zero on the sheet.
Matt Marker: Going undefeated in the Patriot League last year was kind of a proud moment for us, along with making it to the NCAA tournament. It was kind of cool for us to get to that big stage and play in a big stadium.
Michael Monitto: I would say my proudest achievement would be getting a scholarship to play at a division one school.
Tommy Shelling: Making the NCAA tournament last year. Our program hasn’t been to the NCAA tournament in 10 years. Honestly, another big achievement was beating Loyola for the first time in program history. That was definitely very cool to be a part of, the first Lehigh team to beat Loyola in program history. Also, just making the NCAA Tournament is something I think pretty much every lacrosse player has dreamed of doing. Every college lacrosse player has dreamed of making the tournament. And for us to do last year, that was pretty incredible and an unreal experience.
Q: How has playing Lehigh lacrosse shaped you as a person?
MG: It’s taught me more about the finer details of life and how to take care of the little things that lead up to the big things.
MM: The daily challenges that we face as a team have led me to be a stronger individual. And the kind of the relationships that I have with my teammates has formed the person that I am and how I interact with others. It’s been the best experience, pretty much of my entire life, and it kind of shapes pretty much everything I do and how I act. I’m very grateful for all that I’ve learned so far these past four years.
MM: Everything that we do is very regimented. It gives me structure, and going through practice every day, and just having that daily grind just gives you toughness and teaches about commitment.
TS: It has definitely made me a better person. From a leadership perspective, it has made me a better leader. It’s definitely played a big part in who I am. Our core values are being disciplined, selfless, passionate and tough. Those are our four core principles, and I definitely think those are all very relative to not just lacrosse but life. I’d say lacrosse has definitely shaped me into a better and more complete man.
Q: In what ways are you different now from when you first began playing for Lehigh?
MG: Lehigh lacrosse taught me to put other people first, as in my teammates first. If you take care of your teammates first, then it will reflect well on you, and you’ll be happier for it. Everything works out better if you take care of the people around you first. It all comes full circle.
MM: I think when you come in as a freshman, you don’t really have much experience. You’re young, immature, and don’t really know all too much about what kind of goes on—whether that’s in the real world or out on the field or in the classroom. I think over the past four years, I’ve definitely matured a lot as an individual, just from being around my teammates and through all the lessons that we’ve learned together. Getting through the hardships as a unit has given me a unique experience heading into the next chapter of my life, which is awesome. Learning everything from the program has made me a stronger person and more confident. I know that whatever is thrown at me, I’ll be able to handle it because of what I endured over the past four years.
MM: I would say I’m more responsible. More responsible and a better leader. I’m better at time management.
TS: I think I’m more responsible. In terms of a leadership perspective, I feel like I’ve grown a lot as a leader and also been able to hold myself to a higher standard, the Lehigh lacrosse standard, in pretty much everything I do. I know I’m not just representing myself, but I’m representing a team and, as our coach says, being a Lehigh lacrosse man, no matter what. It’s something that I obviously try to do every day.
Q: What is your favorite on-field memory?
MG: First day of practice. It was eye-opening for me. It opened my eyes, and looking back on it, if I could experience one day over I’d say that first practice. It was an experience that I never had, and being with those guys for the first time was amazing. I’d do it over two times if I could. I mean I get to go every day, but it’s just that first time that makes it special.
MM: It’s been pretty crazy the past couple of years because we’ve had our season shortened because of COVID. But I would say beating Loyola last year. It was the first time we beat them in program history, which was kind of big for helping us realize that all the work we put in it really does pay off. We try to pride ourselves on being a top program, and beating them kind of proves to us that we can accomplish what we set out to accomplish.
MM: I would say freshman year, Patriot League Championship, fighting against Army at Loyola.
TS: Beating Loyola is still my favorite on the field memory so far. Just watching the clock tick down and seeing zeros under the game, storming the goalie, and everyone’s celebrating all happy because we just won.
Q: What are your plans for after graduation?
MG: Move to Spain and become a chef. It’s my dream. And well, it’s a long term plan.
MM: I’m considering coming back and taking on a fifth-year. I’m a little undecided about what I’m going to do. I would like to come back to Lehigh, but I’m not 100 percent certain at this point. I guess after that, I’m looking to work in some type of business-related field. I’m thinking of some type of sales, maybe medical device sales. I’m a little undecided at this moment which is why I want to come back to figure out what exactly I want to do.
MM: After graduation, I plan to do something in commercial real estate. So I have to find a job and then just work commercial real estate. That’s my minor, so I’m interested in something I want to pursue.
TS: I’m honestly not sure. I’m really not sure. I still have the eligibility for a fifth-year, so I don’t know if I’m going to be coming back here or what that entails.