CHESTER, Pa. – The Lehigh men’s lacrosse team was recognized at the MLL Semifinals at PPL Park Saturday for winning back-to-back Patriot League Championships. The ceremony came between the first and second quarters of the second game of the day featuring the Hamilton Nationals against the Chesapeake Bayhawks.
“It was a really classy move by the MLL and Commissioner Dave Gross to invite us here as a team,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “We’re very thankful that they thought of us and were accommodating to have us come down. It was a great event, a great experience for our guys to be recognized in front of a relatively hometown crowd in nearby Philadelphia.”
The Major League Lacrosse doubleheader began with the #4 seed Charlotte Hounds taking down top seed and undefeated Denver Outlaws on ESPN2. Chesapeake went on to edge Hamilton in the second semifinal on CBS Sports Network. Coach Cassese appeared on both networks, talking about Lehigh and other topics in the world of lacrosse. Cassese advanced to five Major League Lacrosse Championship Weekends as a player, and is an assistant coach for the U.S. National Team, which holds its tryouts this coming weekend.
“We were able to take in some incredibly high quality lacrosse,” said Cassese. “Not only see some of the top players in the game on display, but also one of our own in Roman Lao-Gosney and his brother Cameron on the roster for Hamilton. It was a special treat all around and a great experience overall.”
Roman played for the Nationals while Cameron, on Hamilton’s roster, was with his teammates on the sidelines as a healthy scratch.
“I was a little hesitant, in between teams for a little bit, but I saw those [Lehigh] guys walk out and had to be with them,” said Cameron ’12. “It was definitely a cool experience. It was good to see the video on the big screen too.”
“It was very neat,” said Roman ’12. “In a big stadium with a lot of fans here, it was cool to be congratulated for two straight Patriot League Championships. It made me proud and honestly, it was a big motivation for me during the game.”
Fans starting giving the Mountain Hawks a loud ovation before the Public Address Announcer even started reading.
“There was a pretty big crowd here, and everyone stood up and cheered for us,” said 2013 team captain Brian Hess ’13. “It was a culmination of all the hard work from the past four years. It was an awesome experience. Everyone really enjoyed it.
“It was awesome reliving the glory days with all your best friends. It couldn’t be much better.”
“Anytime you can get the whole crew back together, at this venue, on this stage, it’s a pretty beautiful thing,” said Dan Carr ’13. “For the MLL to have us out here, we definitely appreciate that. It was a very cool experience.”
The Mountain Hawks received tremendous visibility as a program for those in attendance and fans watching the semifinal games across the nation on ESPN2 and CBS Sports Network.
“A lot of hard work has gone into helping our program take the next steps up the Division I lacrosse latter,” said Cassese. “To be recognized and to hear the ovation is very positive, it’s rewarding and validating to me as the head coach and the members of our program.
“Does it mean we have arrived? I don’t think so. But it means that we’re certainly getting more respect in general in the lacrosse world. We won’t let it go to our heads, but we will take that and try to build upon it.”