BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh men’s lacrosse team is hard at work in preparation for a much-anticipated spring campaign. This past weekend, the Mountain Hawks faced a pair of CAA teams in the Nick Colleluori Classic to highlight a fall which has also seen them host their annual Alumni Game, a Brown-White Scrimmage and more.
Here is a rundown of what Lehigh has been up to through the competition part of the fall:
Community Night – Alumni Game – Brown-White Scrimmage [September 30]
Lehigh hosted its annual Community Night on Friday, Sept. 30, which saw nearly 100 youngsters come out and learn the game of lacrosse from Mountain Hawks’ players and coaches in the most successful Community Night to date. Participants went through drills, covering stick work, shooting and dodging in a competitive and fun environment.
The Mountain Hawks then broke off into an Alumni Game as the current squad played two quarters against the alums. Among the returnees were most of the Class of 2011, including All-Patriot League honoree Richard Bradley and Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award Finalist Jonathan Stumpf. Following two quarters of action, the current squad broke off into a Brown-White intrasquad game.
“We were able to draw youngsters for the alumni game as well, so they stayed and watched us play after the clinic,” said Smith Family Lacrosse Coach Kevin Cassese. “Just to have the support from the community and be able to put together a program where they can learn about the game and interact with our players is really what Community Night is all about and why we put these two [events] together.”
Awards Banquet [October 2]
The Mountain Hawks hosted their awards banquet on Sunday, Oct. 2, where Cassese handed out the 2011 team awards. A trio of graduating seniors were honored as Stumpf earned the Scholar-Athlete award (given to the student-athlete who exemplifies the ideal of the scholar-athlete), Will Scudder garnered the Coaches Award (awarded to the individual who made significant contributions to the well-being of the team in terms of attitude, improvement or special leadership) and Bradley was named Player of the Year (awarded to the team member who made the most outstanding athletic contribution to the accomplishments of the team).
All three seniors played significant roles in the Mountain Hawks’ success last season. Stumpf garnered Second Team All-Patriot League while also being named a Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American. Meanwhile, Scudder served a key role backing up Ryan Snyder at the faceoff X while Bradley led a resurgent defense which held four teams to seven or fewer goals in 2011.
Fifth Annual Nick Colleluori Classic – vs. Hofstra and Towson [October 9]
Lehigh got its first (and last) game action of the season against outside teams on Saturday, facing CAA powers Hofstra and Towson. Each year, to honor Nicholas “Head” Colleluori, and those affected by blood cancer, the HEADstrong Foundation hosts “The Nick Colleluori Lacrosse Classic,” has become the premier Men’s Collegiate Fall Ball Lacrosse Tournament. The event has already raised more than $700,000 for blood cancer research and development.
“It was a great event first of all,” said Cassese. “It’s an honor to be a part of it; it’s an unbelievable cause.”
On the field, the Mountain Hawks fell to Hofstra, 2-1, a squad perennially ranked among the top 10 in the nation. Lehigh also dropped a 9-6 finale to Towson. Both games were running clock. In the end, there were a number of positives and Cassese learned a lot about the team, which is what the fall is all about.
“For us, as a team, it was a learning experience in a number of ways,” he said. “We played fairly well against Hofstra in our first game, especially on defense. It was 1-1 after three quarters, so that was positive. Offensively, we scored one goal, so that needs to improve.
“Then we played against Towson and didn’t perform very well in pretty much all aspects of the game, but got to play a lot of people and evaluate our entire roster from top to bottom,” continued Cassese. “At the end of the day, it was definitely a learning experience for all the coaches and players.”
Cassese coaches U.S. National Team against Duke [October 10]
Immediately after facing Towson, Cassese and Tigers’ head coach Shawn Nadelen, a good friend of Cassese’s, shook hands, then hopped in the car together to head to the Philadelphia airport and catch a flight to Durham, N.C. That’s where the duo teamed up to coach Team USA in an exhibition tilt against Duke (Cassese’s alma mater) as part of Stars and Stripes Weekend at Cardinal Gibbons High School.
“That was another terrific event,” said Cassese. “It was a beautiful day; we probably had about 2,000 people at the event. Our team was phenomenal, just a tremendous group of professionals who played really well together. These guys are some of the best in the world and for this event, they put all their egos aside and played together in a true team fashion; I was very impressed.”
The United States went on to beat Duke, a Final Four team from a year ago, 21-9, led by four goals from Drew Westervelt.
“From top to bottom, it’s a great event,” said Cassese. “It was fun to be a part of. I was honored to coach that team alongside my good buddy Shawn Nadelen. It was a lot of fun and a pretty quick turnaround in 24 hours, but it was definitely worthwhile.”
This isn’t Cassese’s first experience coaching the U.S. National Team as he coached the United States on two occasions last year as well.
Cassese and sophomore defenseman Ty Souders are guests on Lehigh Sports Magazine TV Show [October 11]
Coach Cassese wrapped up a busy weekend on Monday when he and sophomore defenseman Ty Souders joined Jim Vaughn as special guests on the Lehigh Sports Magazine TV show. The two touched upon the fall campaign, looked back to last season and ahead to an anticipated spring campaign. If you missed the show, just click here to watch it FREE any time on demand on Lehighsports.com. Just click “On Demand” then find the Lehigh Sports Magazine on October 10, 2011.