Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/22/16
From Press Release
With the season opener just over two weeks away, the Lehigh men’s lacrosse team is wrapping up its first week of preseason practice. The Mountain Hawks reported to campus last weekend and have been hard at work on the field, in the weight room and in the film room as they prepare for the 2016 season, which begins Feb. 6.
With classes set to begin on Monday, Jan. 25, Lehigh has been able to focus solely on lacrosse for an entire week.
“It’s been a really productive week overall,” said head coach Kevin Cassese. “It’s the first time we’ve held a preseason training camp like this. We’ve done one weekend before with double sessions, but never quite a full week of intensive practices and meetings. I feel like our guys have learned a lot. We have a lot of our base schemes in place already. Hopefully at the end of this week, we’ll be at a similar point to where we were at the end of the fall, then we can start building our schemes a little bit further.”
The Mountain Hawks feature a young group with 16 freshmen on their 43-man roster. Lehigh will rely heavily on its senior leadership to lead the way, led by senior captains Casey Eidenshink (La Salle), Tripp Telesco and Reid Weber (Germantown Academy).
“I think we’ve gotten off to a great start,” said Eidenshink. “We’ve been working really hard and guys have really gotten after it. We’ve focused mostly on the defense the first couple days, now we’re getting to the offensive part.”
The Mountain Hawks’ motto for the season is “win today.”
“We’re making it a competition every day,” said Eidenshink. “I feel like guys have really bought in. It’s been a great start to the preseason and we’re making strides towards that first game (on Feb. 6).”
“We have a good group of guys,” said Cassese. “They work hard. They’re still learning on the fly. Even though we had the fall to get the freshmen up to speed, it’s still a learning curve, which is what preseason is all about. A big theme for us has been not looking ahead. Our focus is on being the best we can on this day, making the most out of it and winning the day. If we can put a bunch of those days together, then maybe something bigger down the road can happen.”
Lehigh lost several decorated players to graduation, but still has plenty of talented players returning for a program that has advanced to six straight Patriot League Tournaments, including three of the last four championship games. Eidenshink is one of those players. Part of the Mountain Hawks’ 2013 Patriot League Championship team, he has developed into an All-Patriot League defender, earning second team laurels last season.
“For me personally, there’s a new sense of urgency, realizing it’s my last season here and wanting to leave this program better than how I came in,” he said. “There’s just a new sense of energy and urgency, trying to have guys follow my lead.”
Meanwhile, Weber stands as the top returning goal scorer in the Patriot League while Telesco was a first team All-League honoree and honorable mention All-American in 2014. Coupled with a freshman class ranked in the top 20 by Inside Lacrosse, the Mountain Hawks have high hopes, but it all starts with winning today.
“Leadership has been strong,” said Cassese. “The guys haven’t had much time to do anything except lacrosse and hang out together. Leadership has been good and I think the followship has also been good, which is important. I’m pleased where we are right now, but we’re only in week one.”
The Mountain Hawks will open their season at home on Saturday, Feb. 6 when they host NJIT at 12 p.m.