The 2012 season is here and we wanted to work closely with college programs to bring a part of the excitement to you. Throughout the 2012 season we will highlight lacrosse programs on our space for all of our readers to follow. Player blogs serve as a unique outlet for programs to showcase their season as it develops, plus highlight everything they have to offer a student-athlete. In contrast, families and fans get a glimpse into the program’s athletic and academic regimen.
Jr. – #22 – Midfield
To all my loyal readers out there, I apologize in advance if this isn’t my most in-depth post of the year. It’s been a busy week for our team (as they all are), and a midterm week for all Lehigh students on top of that. The obligations of being a “student-athlete” are never more demanding than in weeks like this. Studying becomes far more of a time commitment than even lacrosse for most. Since I’m sure no one out there wants to read about what I’ve learned in Corporate Finance, I’ll try my best to fill everyone in on what’s been happening on the field.
On Saturday, another Patriot League matchup, another Patriot League win, and another celebratory afternoon went in the books for our team. The stakes are always raised by in-league competition, but our team continues to perform its best in situations when the stakes are high. Facing a much-improved Holy Cross team from years’ prior, we managed to get off to a quick start and rode that momentum for the rest of the game. It’s always nice to win, and easy to talk about the fallout of success, but there’s not really much time at this point in the season to look back. As Coach Cassese said in an interview this week, “You don’t get any trophy for being 9-1, or for being ranked #7 in the country.” In the Patriot League, you only get a trophy by winning the games in April. Well, April is almost upon us, and the stakes only get higher from here on out. All there is to talk about or do at this point is finding a way to keep recent trends alive.
People relentlessly continue to ask what has changed on our team that has enabled us to be successful so far this season. Some contribute it to our players’ only meeting after the Villanova game, some to a high sense of urgency, and others simply to hard work throughout the year. I think whatever way you look at it though, all of these factors relate to one thing: leadership. I’ve talked a lot throughout this blog about individual players stepping up, how well our defense has played, and the energy that’s been brought to the table on a more consistent basis than ever before. It’s hard to imagine any of that happening, though, without the leadership the senior class has brought to our team all year.
A great illustration of this point came for me personally on Wednesday. After a long day of classes, last minute studying, and a 90-minute midterm exam at 4:00, I headed over to practice with a few other guys, not sure how I was going to find the energy to get ready for Navy. We walked into the locker and got situated for a 30-minute film session to start the night, and I can’t deny that I had heavy eyes at this point to say the least.
When Coach Callahan wrapped up the session, music started blasting in the room and guys got excited to go out and take the field. I walked back to my locker and saw Mike Noone as giddy as ever, Brian Hess busting moves (which he’s been doing more than ever this week), and heard Matt “Baby Schmee” Smith’s signature laugh. With all this energy in front of me, I really couldn’t help getting excited myself. What I’ve learned most through my career here is that enthusiasm is as contagious as the poison ivy that Matt Poillon somehow recently caught on his upper thighs. In the past, there wasn’t much enthusiasm to feed off of in weeks like this. This year, our seniors refuse to let that be the case. This year, it all comes down to leadership.
It’s now Thursday, and we’re about to head over the mountain for another film session and practice devoted to beating Navy. Afterwards, we’re eating dinner as a team and hitting the road for Annapolis. Tomorrow night’s game is our first nationally televised game of the year, and I’m sure a lot of people are going to tune in to figure out for themselves how Lehigh, the normally irrelevant, small school in Pennsylvania, has emerged as a top-10 team. With no bigger stage, no higher stakes, and no tougher opponent thus far, it’s going to be a great test for our team.