Last spring, the Lehigh men’s lacrosse team advanced to its first-ever NCAA Tournament which capped off an incredible year of Lehigh Athletics. Two of the reasons for Lehigh’s success were twins Cameron and Roman Lao-Gosney, who continue to make their mark after college.
The Lao-Gosneys were back on campus from Sept. 28-30 as part of Family Weekend and Young Alumni Reunion. They participated in the team’s annual Alumni Game while they (along with their 2012 teammates) were recognized at halftime of the football game vs. Fordham. The weekend wrapped up with the team banquet on Sunday when the Mountain Hawks received their Patriot League Championship rings.
“It’s weird being considered an alumnus now, but it was nice to spend a weekend at Lehigh feeling like a student again, and to remember a great season with so many great memories,” said Cameron.
“Being honored at the football game and at the banquet was a privilege, but I was most looking forward to seeing all the guys again,” said Roman.
The Lao-Gosneys helped change the culture of the program into a winning one, not only last season, but also moving forward.
“They in particular made it okay for the members of our lacrosse program to do extra work on a regular basis,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “On a daily basis, they were doing extra shooting after practice and getting in an extra lift. They made it cool to care about lacrosse in such a way that helped others think that was the right way to do it.”
“Last year’s success set the bar pretty high and it would be pretty easy to get complacent after such an outstanding season, but I know the coaching staff and my former teammates won’t be satisfied,” said Cameron. “I’m sure that ingrained in everything they do this season is an inner force compelling them to take a step further. Especially with a great showing in the NCAA Tournament against the eventual runner-up Maryland, a National Championship is well within their capability.”
Lehigh has been building to where it is today, advancing to the Patriot League Tournament in 2011 via a 7-9 record before turning that into a Patriot League Tournament Title and NCAA appearance last season in finishing 14-3.
“Last year was the closest team I’ve ever played on,” said Roman. “We were honest with each other, which allowed every player to be accountable for everyone else. We knew what our goals were and we made sure we maintained a high standard throughout the year. I also believe that our chemistry on offense and our new, smarter defensive schemes strengthened our team on the field.”
“The transformation our team had to undergo, on and off the field, in order to achieve the Patriot League Championship was unbelievable,” said Cameron. “Change is an incredible challenge, in any context, and when nearly 50 individuals are able to do so, together, in the realization of a unified goal, it’s special.”
Individually, both Lao-Gosneys have continued their lacrosse careers, among a select group of players on a Major League Lacrosse roster. In June, Roman was selected by the Hamilton Nationals off waivers while Cameron signed with the Charlotte Hounds just days later. With only eight MLL teams and 25 members per squad on the active roster, there are only 200 spots available to play at the game’s highest level.
It’s a much different game in Major League Lacrosse, most notably a 60-second shot clock so there was a transition coming from the college game.
“It is very humbling to be surrounded by the best players in the world and I’m honored to continue playing lacrosse at the highest level,” said Roman. “I like how teams push more in transition and how willing players are to take risks.”
“Not only did I get the opportunity to play with some of the best players in the game, but I also had a chance to travel around to some pretty cool cities and make some good friends,” said Cameron.
Roman played in four games this summer, scoring his first professional goal on Aug. 4 against Charlotte. Ironically, it came against the team Cameron started the year with, but by that time had been dealt to Hamilton as part of a trade which included legendary faceoff man Geoff Snider. So instead of playing against each other on the fourth, it marked the first time the twins played together professionally.
“Though Cam and I have always enjoyed playing lacrosse together, we were looking forward to playing on separate teams for once,” said Roman. “When I first heard that Cameron got traded to the Nationals, my initial thoughts were, I can’t get away from this kid. It would have been new and interesting playing against him, but it’s still fun being on the same team.”
Cameron played in three games for Charlotte and one for Hamilton, primarily as a defensives midfielder. He was very well regarded for his play defensively, while also contributing a groundball and two shots.
“Initially, when hearing about the trade, I was actually bummed considering I had just gotten settled in at Charlotte and had been working my way up,” said Cameron. “I had made some good connections there and was enjoying the city, but it’s nice playing with my brother again. We’ll get a chance to rekindle the on-field chemistry we have been developing since birth.”
The Lao-Gosneys have doubled the number of all-time Lehigh players on a Major League Lacrosse roster. Before them, only Andrew Lucas (2006) and Todd Schreiner (2002-03) ever donned an MLL uniform – for the Long Island Lizards and Rochester Rattlers, respectively. And with a strong senior class in 2013, there should be even more in the league next summer.
“It’s a great honor to represent Lehigh in professional lacrosse,” said Roman. “So many of the players are from the big-name schools and it means a lot to be among the first players from Lehigh to play professionally; it shows how far Lehigh has come in the last four years. I know next summer, there will be more Lehigh grads drafted into the league and I’m excited to play with, or against, some of my old teammates again.”
“I honestly believe it’s only the beginning for the Mountain Hawks in terms of moving on to the next level,” said Cameron. “It’s really a testament to the program in general and its rise to prominence, and I’m happy to have been an inaugural part of such a significant step for Lehigh Lacrosse.”
Recently the twins were among Hamilton’s “protected list,” meaning the Nationals see them both in their future plans. They also participated in a team USA tryout scrimmage the week on Sunday, Oct. 7, playing with (and against) the nation’s top players. Both enjoyed strong performances, with Cameron earning a spot on Lacrosse Magazine’s “Ten Who Impressed at Team USA Scrimmage.”
The Lao-Gosneys have also been active outside of the playing field, most notably appearing in the lacrosse movie Crooked Arrows released in May. The twins were both part of the Coventry team, the prep school which the Crooked Arrows play. Roman wore #21 and Cameron #25; they appeared in numerous scenes with Roman having one speaking part as well. Both Cameron and Roman plan on pursuing careers in film, so the movie experience fit in perfectly with their future goals.
“It was a great experience,” said Cameron. “It was a great chance to observe the environment and to get a feel for how a production company operates. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting other lacrosse players from around the country, including the natives whose understanding and tradition of the game I’ll never forget.”
“The involvement in Crooked Arrows gave both of us a handful of connections that will prove beneficial moving forward in film,” said Roman. “We’ve both been in contact with producers from the film and Sports Studio, who continue to involve us in their initiatives.”
Both are excited to continue in the film industry. As Philosophy majors with strong academic backgrounds, their futures are bright.
“My ideal next step is finding a job in the film sector,” said Roman. “I have been in contact with a few production companies and will be sending them some of my recent work. I will also continue to play professional lacrosse and will be looking to play professional box lacrosse in the North American Lacrosse League.”
“I wouldn’t mind taking some time to either do a little traveling or work some small film gigs before jumping into my career just yet,” said Cameron. “I’ll have time to work my way up in film, but for now, especially after 18 years of schooling, I’d like to just get out there and experience something real.”
The twins certainly made their mark on the program and will continue to make an impact for years to come. As the Mountain Hawks begin to eye their next goal, a National Championship, Cameron and Roman look to continue their successes, on and off the lacrosse field.