Lehigh women's lacrosse graduate student Cassie Marte approaches a defender with the ball in her stick. Marte holds the school record for draw controls in a season with 117. (Courtesy Hannah Ally)

Women’s lacrosse graduate student leads in draw controls


Most ninth graders navigate each day spontaneously, uncertain of what tomorrow might bring — but not Cassie Marte.

She wasn’t just planning her next meal or outfit for the following day of school; she had already set her future in motion, committing to play Division I lacrosse at Lehigh. 

“I’ve dreamed of playing Division I sports ever since I could remember,” Marte said.

Nine years later, the graduate student midfielder has proven Lehigh made the right decision in securing her spot on the roster, as she’s played and started in every game for the Mountain Hawks between 2020 and 2024.

Marte broke the school record for draw controls in a season with 117 at the end of last year. This season, Marte leads the team in both draw controls and caused turnovers.

For her efforts, Marte was honored as a second-team All-Patriot League selection in 2022.

Marte credits her tenacious defensive mentality to her love for playing defense in basketball growing up. 

“I love defense; it’s really fun,” Marte said. “It involves a lot of the same angles and philosophies, just being able to see what’s happening on the offensive end and anticipating what the offensive player might do next.”

Marte began playing basketball and lacrosse in elementary school, starting lacrosse when she was in the third grade. 

Marte said she was inspired by watching her older brother, Alex, play. 

“I loved watching him, and that’s kind of what got me into the sport because I wanted to be like my brother,” Marte said with a smile.

This admiration didn’t just inspire her, it motivated her to practice relentlessly in their backyard, laying the foundation for her future in lacrosse.

Marte started focusing on lacrosse seriously around the end of middle school, right before she entered high school. During her summers, she attended several college camps as she sought to be recruited. In her freshman year of high school, Marte committed to Lehigh.

The rule that brought Marte to Lehigh has since changed, as high schoolers are no longer allowed to speak to coaches or formally commit to schools until January 1 of their sophomore year.

“Committing to Lehigh was a very fast process; it was like the perfect package for me,” Marte said. “It was only an hour away from home, with really amazing academics and a coaching staff that was amazing towards me.”

Marte made an immediate defensive impact in the abbreviated eight-game 2020 season. She started every game as a first-year, picking up seven ground balls with four caused turnovers.

“Not only is she an amazing draw taker, but she also has such great, consistent defense and strong offense,” junior midfielder Quinn Meyer said. “She really does it all over the field.” 

As she has transitioned from a first-year standout to a veteran leader, her teammates have taken to her positivity and guidance. 

“(Marte) is always proud of her younger teammates, but especially the younger midfielders on the team,” junior midfielder Casey O’Connor said. “I remember during my sophomore season, after a game she had told my dad that she thought I was playing so well and she’s happy for me.”

O’Connor said she shows how enthusiastic she is for the successes of her teammates and that she is a selfless player.

First-year attacker Molly Snow spoke highly of Marte, citing her as a role model to the team. 

“I am so beyond grateful to have played alongside Cassie this season,” Snow said. “As a freshman, I have looked up to her so much and have been able to learn from her. She is amazing at everything she does on the field. From the draw, to attack and even on defense, she has such a strong impact all over the field.”

Marte said she takes a lot of pride in being there for her teammates, which is why she returned for her fifth year as a graduate student.

“I just had the opportunity to play one last time, and I was already on campus, so I was like, ‘I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t play one more time with my teammates and just compete at the highest level again,’” Marte said. “It felt like a no-brainer.”

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