By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 9/10/09
Conestoga rising senior attackman Matt Smith has made a verbal commitment to play Division I lacrosse at Lehigh University.
Smith, a second team All-Central League and Honorable Mention All-Phillylacrosse.com pick last year, scored 27 goals in helping the Pioneers win the Central League title and the first District 1 championship while reaching the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association title game.
Smith said he chose Lehigh for its highly-touted engineering program.
“Lehigh was one of my top college choices even before I thought about playing college lacrosse,” he said. “I am planning on majoring in mechanical engineering and Lehigh’s national academic reputation and its top 50 ranking in the country engineering program attracted me to the University.”
Smith also was swayed by Lehigh’s coaching staff.
“I visited coaches (head coach Kevin) Cassese, (Taylor) Wray, and (Brendan) Callahan at the end of April and was very impressed with the Lehigh lacrosse program, their vision for the future, the current Lehigh players that I met, and their focus on a team oriented style of play,” Smith said. “I knew on my first visit that Lehigh was where I wanted to go to school and to play college lacrosse.”
Smith was one of many key players that helped Conestoga finish 23-2 and earn a national ranking among the top 20 teams in the country by Lacrosse Magazine and Inside Lacrosse.
“The Conestoga season was a very special experience,” he said. “The Mesa Fresh 2010 team, which is made up of mostly Conestoga varsity players, provided a great foundation.
“The Conestoga team chemistry was amazing and it was fun playing with a bunch of friends that I have been with for the last eight years. Conestoga coaches (head coach Brian) Samson, (Craig) Gratton, and (Brody) Bush provided great instruction and guidance.”
Smith admits expectations will be high in 2010, but feels his team is prepared to put in the work.
“Our goal for this year is to try to get back and win the state championship, but we know that it will be a difficult task,” he said. “Our intention is to work hard, stay focused, and take each game one at a time.
“We have some younger players that we know will step up and replace our graduating seniors. Our returning core of seniors and juniors are excited about the 2010 season and enter it with high expectations.”
Smith will join two others from Philly that committed to Lehigh, fellow Pioneer Ryan Buttunbaum (face-off specialist) and Emmaus defenseman Ty Souders (defenseman). Seniors can sign National Letters of Intent during the early signing period Nov. 11-18.