The 2013 season is here and we wanted to work closely with college programs to bring a part of the excitement to you. Throughout the 2013 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.
Midfielder – #2
The Tribe’s Final Ride
Last Friday night was a huge win. With the Regular Season Championship on the line, we were able to pull out the win over a very talented Bucknell team. As “Clarity” was bumping in the locker room after the win, and everyone was jumping up and down, it finally hit me; we would be hosting the Patriot League Tournament for the first time in school history. This is one of many of the firsts that we have accomplished since I have been here, and this was quite the turn around from my freshman year when we didn’t even qualify for the Patriot League Tournament. Since then, we have made the Patriot League Tournament, won a Patriot League Tournament game, won the Patriot League Tournament, qualified for the NCAA tournament and hosted an NCAA Tournament Game… all firsts in school history. It has been quite the ride the past four years, and I honestly wouldn’t trade it for anything. With classes coming to an end next week and the window on my college career quickly closing, I have had a lot of time to reflect lately and really look back on what our class has been able to do. With that being said, we are by no means satisfied and still have plenty of goals left to accomplish. Our opponent this weekend is none other than the Lafayette Leopards, our rival from right down the road. This game is important for a couple of reasons: we have the ability to finish the regular season 6-0 in the Patriot League, as well as the fact that it is Senior Night. Lehigh-Lafayette is one of the oldest rivalries in the country, and both team’s records go out the door in this game. Like many other rivalry games, any team can win on any night. With it being Senior Night though, I wanted to take this blog to recognize all of the Tribesmen and give them their proper due.
I wanted to start it off with none other than last year’s blogger, Ryan “Da Meat” Snyder. Ryan epitomizes, in a sense, everything that our class is about. Since day 1, Ryan had an absolute chip on his shoulder and wanted to prove to the lacrosse world that he was for real. He was unbelievably dedicated to honing his craft the past four years, and this has really paid off for him. A 2-time All-Patriot League selection, Ryan really came onto the scene sophomore year when he went off. However, he did not stop there, as he continued to work hard and had another great year last year. He recently eclipsed the 300 ground ball mark and is in second in Patriot League history in ground balls. However, he doesn’t just excel on the lacrosse field, as he is an absolute beast in the classroom (rivaling his beastness in the weight room). Holding a 4.0 GPA in his Finance Major, Ryan was named a nominee for the prestigious Senior Class Award. Ryan is a kid I genuinely look up to, and I can’t wait to live with him in NYC next year.
His roommate, Mike Noone, isn’t too shabby on the lacrosse field either. Another All-Patriot League Team Member, Mike decided last year that it was his turn to show everyone how talented he could be. He did so, winning the Defensive Player of the Week three times in a four-week span. He has made plays on the lacrosse field where everyone on our team just looks around and goes, “How did he just do that?” Besides being a stud on the field, he is also the “Commander in Chief of the Defense.” Not only does Mike know what he is supposed to do, but he knows what the other 5 guys are supposed to do as well. Whenever I get caught on D in the game, I just listen to Mike as he directs me. Off the field, Mike has really grown up over the past four years and has gone from a boy to a man. He has really dedicated himself to his studies, as he has had over a 3.0 the past couple semester. Mike is one of the most loyal kids I have ever met, and it has been a blast playing with him.
Dan Carr is the definition of a grown man. If I had to describe Dan, I would call him the perfect teammate. He is unbelievably selfless and puts the team first in every situation. He has really stepped up as a senior leader this season, and is a great example to the younger guys of how to handle your business both on and off the field. I know Dan will be successful in his life, because his character is impeccable.
Another senior goalie, Griffin Farha, is another high character guy. Being a walk-on freshman year, Griff seamlessly fit in to the team. He worked extremely hard to improve his game and started the second half of the season his sophomore year, and played great. This year, when he was called upon to play against Air Force, he stepped in and crushed it per usual, which is what we have come to expect from Griff. He is a true professional, as he is always ready to go when his name is called. Besides being the man on the lacrosse field, Griff heads the Academic Committee of the Lacrosse Team and looks out for the younger deviants on the team, a task harder then it sounds.
Next up is my main man, my line mate, Alex “Drizwiz” Drake. Drizzy Drake has been a baller since the day he stepped on campus. His quickness and athletic ability turned heads, and he was a contributor since day 1. Drake was sidelined with an injury last year, but has come back stronger than ever this year, and earned a starting midfield spot. I think that really describes the type of kid Alex is: he is always positive and extremely hard working. I have developed quite the chemistry with Drake, and am going to miss watching in awe as he dices his defenders on a daily basis.
Drake’s roommate, Nate “Nasty” Hunt, is the hardest working kid I have ever played with. I wish I could attach a video of Nate squatting to help illustrate this, as he holds the team record with a 515 pound squat. If I’m ever looking for Nate, it is safe to say that he is either a) in the weight room doing extra work b) on the field doing 1-1’s c) going for a run or d) crushing school work. Nate is really an all around stud, as he excels in one of the hardest majors in the school, but doesn’t let that affect his lacrosse. I think it’s safe to say every young kid on the team really looks up to him.
Kyle “The AK” Stiefel is truly one of a kind. I really have never met someone like him, and I don’t think I ever will. With that being said, I also don’t think I will ever meet someone who can shoot as hard and as accurately as him. The self proclaimed “ACC Killer,” Kyle put himself on the map last year with 2 goals in a huge win over UNC and a hat trick in the first round of the NCAA Tournament (in which he put on an absolute shooting clinic). Kyle always knows how to bring a smile to everyone around him, whether it be dropping some of his trademark lines such as “Set it and Forget It,” or “2 shots, 2 goals, Classic A-K.”
Dante Fantoni is an absolute gamer. The kid has been a boss on the field since the day he stepped on campus, and has multiple game winners in his career. If it’s the end of the game, I can’t think of anyone else I’d want to have the rock. Dante has supreme confidence in his ability and that really rubs off on other guys on the team. However, Dante has really stepped up this year as a leader, which we needed him to do. Many of the younger guys naturally look up to Dante due to his on-field play, and he has really grown into a leader for our program. I know as the stage continues to get bigger, Big Game Dant will continue to shine.
Chris Rinaldi, like Stiefel, is another one of a kind type of a kid. There must be something in the water up at ATO. I have really grown close to Chris over the past 4 years and love teck-decking and shire-ing with him. Chris really made a mark from day one as he made a unique nickname for everyone on the team and repeated it hundreds of times a day. On a serious note, Chris got his shot this season, and took advantage of it, as he put up a hat-trick vs. VMI. Many outsiders were surprised, but no one on the team was. Chris goes extremely hard in practice every day, and is always first in sprints. He is quite the competitor, and it was awesome to see all of his hard work pay off. He is a great teammate and like Mike, is extremely loyal.
His partner in crime, Baxter Lanius, has really blossomed this season into a great player. Being on the fringe of playing time the past 3 years, Baxter seized his opportunity this year and earned a starting spot. He has been an anchor of our defense, but more importantly, is an anchor of the team. He is an unbelievable student and is a really responsible kid. Anyone on the team knows that Baxter means business, as he is a Finance stud, 4x Inside Lacrosse All Name Team member, and an entrepreneur. Like Griff, Baxter heads the Academic Committee. Although I constantly remind him of how awful his jokes are (and trust me, they’re painfully bad), I really look up to Baxter for how he handles his business both on the field and in the classroom. I have to suck up to him a bit more than the other guys, because I know he will be a CEO one day.
One of my 4 roommates, Noah “Ox” Molnar is diesel. He doesn’t garner the nickname Ox for no reason, as he is a very physically imposing kid. However, when you get to know him, he really is just a big teddy bear. If you asked any of the kids he played against, I think they’d beg to differ. As our team started to do better, Noah finally started to get some well deserved love after last season, as he is one of the best SSDM’s in the country. It has been an honor to watch him develop on the field the last four years, and I am definitely going to miss battling against him in practice. I can’t wait to continue to watch him play, as he got drafted by the Rochester Rattlers of Major League Lacrosse.
His red dog (SSDM) counterpart, Derek Bogorowski, is another roommate of mine. Derek has been my boy since day 1, and is the Father Figure of the Tribe. If anyone is out of line, we make sure to send them to D-Bo and he will quickly fix that. I don’t know if the Tribe would have graduated if it wasn’t for Daddy-Och. On the field, Derek has been a contributor since day 1 and has played in every game of his career. Just like he is off the field, he is extremely reliable on the field and you can always count on him.
I had to save QB1, none other than…drumroll please…the one and only…David DiMaria for last. I have had the privilege (and the misfortune) of living with David all four years in college. At this point, I really look at him like a brother. Everyone on the team constantly makes cracks about how David and I are two peas in a pod, and you won’t find one of us without the other. David, who was deemed “The Quarterback” by Coach Cassese (which he will never hear the end for), is by far the most improved kid on our team over the past four years. Coming in at a very measly 180 pounds, David had trouble benching 185 (LOL). However, David dedicated himself to the weight room, and his game skyrocketed. Alongside Dante, David has started all four years and has earned multiple awards. He is one of the most talented kids on the team, and also has stepped up in the leadership department in a big time way. It has been quite the honor to watch Dave grow up over the past 4 years, and I think I am going to have withdrawals when he leaves.
As you can tell, our class is extremely close-knit and we have had so many memories together over the past four years. It really is crazy to think that our Senior Night is on Saturday, as it just seemed like yesterday that we were freshmen coming in for the first team meeting. Although there isn’t that much time left, there is plenty of lacrosse left for the Hawks to play, starting with Lafayette on Saturday. Like the infamous Ray Lewis, this is the Tribe’s Final Ride.
P.S.- Sorry about all the corny lines in the blog