Nick Pecora: Lehigh men’s lacrosse competitive, consistent goalie


Go to school. Run 8 miles. Bike two or three more. Then push-ups.

This was Nick Pecora’s daily routine leading up to his arrival at the Naval Academy.

But after two months, second thoughts crept in. He realized this wasn’t the right path for him. 

Navy was actually his second choice. When he was a junior at Deerfield Academy, a boarding school in northwest Massachusetts, he said he was set on going to Duke. 

But after all the twists and turns of the beginning, he now finds himself closing in on the end: Pecora will soon finish his senior season as a goalie on Lehigh’s men’s lacrosse team, with a final fifth year ahead. 

That journey started when coach Will Scudder learned Pecora was leaving Navy. He quickly called to inquire about him playing for Lehigh. 

Pecora was in.

Senior mens lacrosse goalie Nick Pecora went from Deerfield Academy to Navy to Lehigh. In his four seasons as goalie Pecora has played a vital role in leading the Mountain Hawks. (Amanda Rowan/B&W Staff)

But with school starting in less than two weeks, the common application was closed. Pecora would have to hand write it. 

So, with a printed PDF and a pencil, Pecora sat down to complete the application over the course of two hours, and he faxed it back to Scudder and the Lehigh admissions office. 

“And, you know, the rest is kind of history,” Pecora said. “It’s a pretty complex recruiting process, and (I’m) definitely the latest commit here ever for lacrosse, but I’m happy it all worked out.”

Pecora grew up in Congers, New York, with two brothers — twin Matt and older brother Ed — cultivating his competitive nature from a young age. 

His parents like to call them “Irish triplets,” a term used for three babies born within three years. 

In kindergarten, the three all began playing lacrosse. Ed played defense and Matt took midfield. Nick was in goal. 

“We have this mini team,” Pecora said. “My dad is in construction, so he had some leftover turf from high school turf fields. We put it in the backyard, and we had this little turf field, and we would just run these one-on-ones and practice together all the time.” 

The three played more than just lacrosse in their makeshift backyard field. 

“Football was really my first love,” Pecora said. “When it became evident that I wasn’t going to be 6-foot-5, that NFL dream was over.” 

While Pecora would have a new place to call home and new teammates to call brothers, it wasn’t the same. 

Pecora showed up to Lehigh’s move-in day, shaved head and all. He said the transition from boarding school to Lehigh was somewhat seamless. The only adjustment was not having his twin with him, who now plays lacrosse at Trinity College. 

“Matt is my best friend,” Pecora said. “We talk every single day. I already talked to him this morning. Most of the time our schedules don’t align. I can’t go to his games. He didn’t go to mine. He’s my twin brother, but I look up to him. He’s a really smart guy. And you know, he kind of does everything the right way.”

While he missed his twin brother, he had Quinn Armstrong at Lehigh, a fellow teammate and boarding school kid he knew before arriving. 

Armstrong and Pecora roomed together freshman year and have been roommates ever since. 

“Nick and I are best friends,” Armstrong said. “We’ve been through tough times, good times. Whenever I need a laugh, I’ll go to Pecora. Whenever I need to have a more serious talk, I’ll go to Pecora. We’re two guys that have built a relationship with each other that is pretty undeniable.”

Armstrong, a senior midfielder, said it’s good he and Pecora are on different sides of the ball. They don’t have to argue about their play. 

He said they have trust in each other as both teammates and friends. 

“If he says something to me on the field, I’ll listen,” Armstrong said. “I’m not going to tell him what to do, he’s not going to tell me what to do, but if we have a suggestion to help each other’s games, we’ll definitely listen to it.”

This will be the last year the two play together. Armstrong will graduate on May 19.

Lehigh men’s lacrosse goalie Nick Pecora had 10 saves in Lehigh’s game against Boston University and recorded a .455 save percentage. The Mountain Hawks won 13-12 in overtime. (Archer Benedict/B&W Staff)

Pecora’s primary on-field action started his junior season when he appeared in net for all 15 games of the season. 

He had a 51.5% save percentage as a junior and was second in saves per game in the Patriot League. 

Now a senior, Pecora is excelling with a 52.8% save percentage. He recorded a career-high 19 saves in goal in a game against Patriot League-leading Army on March 16. 

Scudder said Pecora has been consistently great this year. 

“He just inspires a lot of confidence with our defense,” Scudder said. “He just wants to be the best version of himself. And I think the best version of himself is when he feels like he’s competing against somebody for something.” 

Pecora faces a lot of pressure in the net. In his early years, he said he’d sometimes get down on himself when he gave up a goal. Now, he says he’s constantly developing by changing little things. 

While he’s grown since the time he walked in with his Naval buzz cut as a first-year finding his way, Pecora still admits his biggest challenge is admitting when he got beat. 

“I wholeheartedly believe that there’s nobody that can beat me and that it’s only me that can beat myself,” Pecora said “So, when someone scores on me, it’s like, ‘OK, I did this wrong. Let’s fix it for the next shot.’ It’s less about getting mad at yourself for missing something and more about using it as an opportunity to improve your game.” 

Off the field, Pecora loves being outdoors. He spent the summer of 2023 playing golf in Boca Raton, Florida, where he stayed with his uncle while working a job. 

He golfed every day when he got off work. 

Over the summer, Pecora said he played more golf than lacrosse, shooting over 60 rounds, working to break a score of 90.

Pecora enjoys anything that calls for competition. Scudder said “competitive” is the first word that comes to mind when thinking about Pecora.

“I love to stay competitive, and I really like squash,” Pecora said “It’s a good way to get some cardio in. Most of these hobbies stemmed from competitiveness and, like, playing golf with my buddies wanting to beat them, playing squash with my buddies wanting to beat them. It’s a lot of leisure sports that I really enjoy.”

In his fifth year, Pecora is planning to finish up his accounting major, and he says he’s enjoyed participating in the Dreyfuss Portfolio, a student-run investment fund. 

He said all of this gives him another identity off the field. 

“You can’t just be a lacrosse player forever,” Pecora said. “I’m just trying to find who I am without lacrosse, and I think I found that.”

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