Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 9/17/17
From Press Release
Every player on a team can’t score all the goals or make all the saves. For a team to be successful, it must include players who are willing to give up the individual glory for the betterment of the team.
Noah Molnar and Mike Noone (La Salle, Duke’s LC/Twist) are two of those players.
Both were integral parts of Lehigh’s back-to-back Patriot League Championships in 2012-13 and now, they are championship players in Major League Lacrosse.
“I am incredibly proud of both Noah and Michael more so for the men they have become, but also because they have developed into true professionals of Major League Lacrosse,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “They share a lot of the same character traits that have enabled each of them to enjoy success at the professional level. Those traits include work ethic, grit, resilience and a focused determination to defy all odds and prove people wrong. Not surprisingly, these are the very traits that embody Lehigh Lacrosse.”
This year, Noone’s Ohio Machine avenged a 2016 title-game defeat to Molnar’s Denver Outlaws. The Machine were victorious this season, 17-12, one year after the Outlaws came back from a 14-7 deficit to score the game-winning goal with 13 seconds remaining for a thrilling 19-18 victory.
“When you get the opportunity to play against a former Mountain Hawk for a championship, it’s special,” said Noone. “I know our Ohio team definitely wanted some redemption after they ‘stole’ one from us the year prior.”
Heading into the 2017 title tilt, there was plenty of (fun) trash talking between Molnar and Noone. They’re competitors heading into matchups between each other, but happy for their former classmate as well.
“In the end, we each got one championship,” said Noone. “I was excited for Noah to get it last year, even though I was a little heartbroken, but he reached out to me this year just to congratulate me. Hopefully, we’ll see each other for another rematch next year.”
With Major League Lacrosse featuring only nine teams and 19 players who dress on gameday, it’s tough to crack a roster. Molnar and Noone have been able to do so because of their focus on team.
“It’s important to understand the dynamic of a team’s makeup,” said Noone. “Neither of us really have any highlight plays. We’re not really scoring goals or doing anything crazy; the defensive end never really gets much credit. But as long as you’re buying into your role and looking to get better each and every week, you can create a nice niche.”
Coming out of Lehigh, Molnar found himself in a strong situation with Denver and he’s taken advantage. He’s put in the work to allow him to thrive in his role as a defensive midfielder who has also contributed offensively in transition.
“You couple a really good situation in Denver with the work you put in during the offseason and it’s worked out well for me,” said Molnar. “Major League Lacrosse is so different from college; it’s a lot of working out and running on your own.”
Meanwhile, Noone was originally drafted by Ohio then traded to Charlotte before being reacquired by the Machine. That’s when he’s come into his own.
“I came back to Ohio and they liked my style of play,” said Noone. “I bring a lot of intangibles, like helping the defense rotate. I was just looking to find my niche, make sure I kept working and getting better at what they asked me to do.”
Focusing on team isn’t new for Molnar or Noone. While at Lehigh, they played the same positions they do now and didn’t always get the credit they deserved.
“Short-stick defensive midfield isn’t the most glamorous position,” said Molnar. “You don’t get a lot of press and you don’t get a lot of accolades. You look at any championship team and they usually have some pretty good defensive midfielders. It’s a team-first position. You need to buy into doing everything for the team and for the greater good.
“I started out at Lehigh playing mostly offense then made the switch middle of freshman year into sophomore year. I looked at it as an opportunity to be an athlete, have fun and make some plays.
“I fell in love with the position and the craft that comes along with it.”
Noone grew and developed over his collegiate career, at one point taking a step back and realizing the importance of doing one’s job as well as he can. No matter one’s role, if everyone does his role well, then the team will be successful.
“Early in my Lehigh career, I realized that we had other guys who were better than me at what they were asking me to do,” said Noone. “I had to realize where my role was on the team, similar to what I did with Ohio. Become the best that you can at whatever you’re asked to do.
“Not everybody has to be the superstar. Our motto with Ohio this year was ‘do your job.'”
Molnar and Noone are also successful off the playing field. Molnar oversees the business development platform at Alta Holdings while Noone works for Prudent Lenders outside of Philadelphia.
While at Lehigh, both learned valuable skills, such as a team-first attitude. They also learned a number of other skills that have helped them in their everyday lives.
“Lehigh Lacrosse was able to build a culture of winning, both on and off the field,” said Molnar. “What goes with that is a culture of outworking your opponents and a sense of competition within the team that helps everyone get better. There are guys coming in every year trying to take your spot.
“If you want to stick around, you need to be able to outwork them. Same thing professionally. In my role, I’m in a very sales-generated role where the more work you put in, the greater the results are going to be.”
Hard work is a mindset that goes beyond the playing field and into the working world.
“You’re always going to have speed bumps in life, but think about a solution rather than dwell on a problem, which is definitely something the lacrosse team taught me over the years,” said Noone.
It’s no coincidence that both Molnar and Noone have won championships – in college and now the professional ranks. Talent alone doesn’t win titles.
“One thing I really loved about Lehigh was how everybody looked out for everybody else’s best interests,” said Noone. “The brotherhood is the biggest commonality between my championship teams, both at Lehigh and in the MLL. If you get down the camaraderie, then everything else should follow.”
The brotherhood from the Lehigh days is still alive and well. Molnar and Noone’s class has a connection for life.
“The 2013 class, AKA the tribe, has a very lively group chat which is pretty much going nonstop whenever the Mountain Hawks are playing,” said Molnar. “We still pay very close attention to everything that’s going on in Bethlehem.”
While Molnar and Noone are having success at the next level, they know they wouldn’t be where they are today without their Lehigh experience.
“Having Coach Cassese there leading the way is always going to be a benefit,” said Noone. “He’s a great mind, who really has a passion for lacrosse. I always looked to him like a dad and I’d imagine he looks to me like a son. I’ll always be thankful for Coach Cassese and my Lehigh experience.”
“Noah and Michael are living, breathing success stories that represent the Lehigh Lacrosse culture and our core values,” said Cassese. “I am proud they will always be Mountain Hawks.”