By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/16/09
Council Rock South senior attackman Andy Lihani said learning how to work through adversity has helped him in many ways.
“We were really just learning how to work with others and trying to get kids motivated,” he said. “It’s a good feeling helping them out. You see they can achieve something when they put their mind to it.”
Lihani, the Laxzilla Male Scholar-Athlete of the Week, has had to deal with adversity in his own life as well.
He lost his mother to a rare blood disease called Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) when he was in fourth grade. More recently, during the 2009 season, Lihani served as co-captain on a young Golden Hawks team that struggled through a 4-13 campaign.
But through tough times, Lihani has managed to become a leader on the off the field. In the classroom, he sports a 3.7 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society while taking all Honors and AP courses. Besides his work with students with disabilities, he put in more than 60 hours of community service by helping build a home in Trenton, N.J., for Habitat for Humanity.
Lihani’s hard work has paid off. He will attend UC-Santa Barbara and play lacrosse for a team ranked in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (non-NCAA schools). He will either be a pre-med students or study marine biology.
“My step-mom is a physician,” he said. “She was the driving factor. And because my late mother died of a rare blood disease that really has no cure. That was the driving force for me at a young age.”
Lihani originally wanted to play NCAA lacrosse and was looking at some Division I schools. But he looked out West and UC-Santa Barbara proved to be the ideal setting.
“In my junior year and after summer recruiting camps I was talking to a couple Division I schools and a couple high Division III schools,” he said. “I thought I had my heart set on playing in the NCAA and then on a whim – because I had family out in California – I applied to UC-Santa Barbara.”
“The school is literally right on the beach. Every dorm has its own pathway to the beach. That’s a pretty big drawing factor.”
Lihani said he’ll draw on his many experiences in and out of lacrosse when he goes away. He said that this year the Golden Hawks may have had only four wins, but the team stayed up all year.
“The captains, I, Matty Morton and our goalie, Sean Poritsky, would feed off each other’s energy,” Lihani said. “For every drill we tried to go 110 percent and even when we were losing three or four in a row and it was tough to come out to practice and every game with a positive attitude, we tried to work hard.
“The younger guys looked at the seniors and saw us playing hard and that pushed the other guys. We buckled down and played the game we love to play and we tried to get better every time we stepped on the field.”