Mountain Hawk Seniors Reflect on Careers Ahead of Regular Season Finale

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh men’s lacrosse’s senior class, featuring 10 true seniors and four graduate students (fifth-year seniors), reflected on their careers in the Brown and White ahead of Saturday’s regular-season finale at No. 16 Villanova.

“It has been an honor working with these 14 men,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “The four fifth-years and the 10 true seniors meshed well together from the start to form a strong leadership group for this team in the face of one of the most challenging years any of us have ever encountered. I am grateful to them for buying in at the highest level and for demonstrating our core values of passion, selflessness, discipline and toughness day in and day out. We have the opportunity to earn more time together in the coming weeks and I know I speak for everyone when I say that I am no way ready for this to be over. We have such a good thing going right now, and all we want to do is keep it going.”

 

Check out the full Q&A with the seniors…

 

#1 Crew Cintron – Gr. – M – Rocky River, Ohio – Technical Entrepreneurship (Master’s)

 

What are some thoughts going through your mind as you’re nearing the end of the regular season in your senior year?

CC: I am just super appreciative of the opportunity that I had to come back and finish my final year of lacrosse. Getting to spend another year around this team has been really special.

 

What is your favorite Lehigh Lacrosse memory up until this point?

CC: My favorite Lehigh Lacrosse memory has to be from last year’s shortened season. I was able to walk out for the starting lineup with Ike and Ryan Klose on the first midfield line. Living in the same house for two years, we had always talked about how awesome it would be to all walk out there together and play on the same line. To be able to finally do that in our senior season was surreal. Definitely something I will never forget.

 

Describe your relationship(s) with your fellow teammates, seniors and/or fifth-years?

CC: As a fifth-year, the relationships I’ve built over the last five years are incredible. I love every single one of these guys like they’re family and it’s definitely a bond that will transcend college and lacrosse.

 

What makes this team and this program so special?

CC: I think the camaraderie between everyone on the team is what makes it so special. Whether we’re out on the field, in the locker room, or hanging out together off the field, there’s a real sense of family and it makes showing up every day worth it.

 

What are your plans for next year?

CC: Upon graduation, I will begin working as an investment banking analyst at Brown Gibbons Lang in Cleveland.

 

#4 Sam Charlton – Sr. – LSM/D – Berwyn, Pa. – Finance

Sam Charlton 

What are some thoughts going through your mind as you’re nearing the end of the regular season in your senior year?

SC: My time here has been flying by and it feels like just yesterday I got to campus. It’s been an eventful ride and can’t believe that it is almost over. I’m looking forward to the postseason and competing for a PLC. 

 

What is your favorite Lehigh Lacrosse memory up until this point?

SC: My freshman year in the Patriot League Semifinal against Navy. It was an electric environment and we came out with a big win against Navy in OT. 

 

Describe your relationship(s) with your fellow teammates, seniors and/or fifth-years?

SC: I only have a sister, but since being on the team, it feels like I have a bunch of brothers. Living with them throughout the years and especially during COVID, we have become very close. It has been a great ride with the boys. 

 

What makes this team and this program so special?

SC: Our team is so special this year, mainly because everyone on the team has the same goal. We all want to win and have given up a lot to have the chance to win. It has been hard at times, but everyone has been fighting through it and we have done very well to date. 

 

What are your plans for next year?

SC: I have accepted an offer to work at MPI, which is a valuation company in Lawrenceville, N.J. My role is an analyst and I will be starting in June. 

 

#6 Matt Ilchuk – Sr. – M/A – Bay Shore, N.Y. – Earth and Environmental Science

Matt Ilchuk 

What are some thoughts going through your mind as you’re nearing the end of the regular season in your senior year?

MI: First off, I am thankful that we have had the opportunity to play this season. This is certainly not exactly what I pictured my senior season being like however, I believe that all of the uncalled for circumstances surrounding this season have brought us together even closer as a group and have made it quite a memorable season so far. I am looking forward to making it last as long as possible.  

 

What is your favorite Lehigh Lacrosse memory up until this point?

MI: My favorite Lehigh Lacrosse memory thus far is probably our overtime win against Navy in the Patriot League Semifinals (in 2018). That was definitely one of those moments where all of the hard work day in and day out becomes worth it and the whole team gets to enjoy it together.

 

Describe your relationship(s) with your fellow teammates, seniors and/or fifth-years?

MI: Our whole team has really been forced to spend even more time with each other than usual this year due to COVID protocols, so I think we have a really close group. Our senior class is especially close and the friendships we’ve built over the years will definitely last far past our playing days.  

 

What makes this team and this program so special?

MI: This group specifically has fully bought into what is best for the team and what will lead the team to success in the long run. This started with making a ton of sacrifices off the field in order to make sure that we could play this season in the first place. You can clearly see the selfless mentality of our play on the field as well. No one really cares who it is scoring, assisting, causing turnovers etc. as long as it’s getting done and the team is winning.  

 

What are your plans for next year?

MI: I have accepted a job offer at Enviroscience Consultants Inc. on Long Island.

 

#8 Kevin Gersbeck – Sr. – M – Miller Place, N.Y. – Earth and Environmental Science

Kevin Gersbeck 

What are some thoughts going through your mind as you’re nearing the end of the regular season in your senior year?

KG: My main thought is winning the Patriot League Championship with my teammates. We have worked so hard in such a tough year and this would be a perfect way to end it. I also think about leaving this team. I have learned so much from this program and it’s going to be hard moving on from the boys

 

What is your favorite Lehigh Lacrosse memory up until this point?

KG: My favorite memory of Lehigh was beating Navy our freshmen year in overtime in the Patriot League Semis! 

 

Describe your relationship(s) with your fellow teammates, seniors and/or fifth-years?

KG: My relationship with the whole team is like my brothers. We have gone through hardships and sacrificed so much together. I have never had a brother, but it feels as if the whole team are my brothers. 

 

What makes this team and this program so special?

KG: I think just how much we want to win. Every day, people are staying outside after practice doing extra work to make our team as a whole better. We are selfless and are always putting the team before ourselves. We strive to be great and win every single day.

 

What are your plans for next year?

KG: Yes, I have accepted a job offer at L.K McLean Associates in Brookhaven NY. LKMA is a civil engineering firm and I look forward to starting my career with such a great company.

 

#14 Denny Nealon – Sr. – A – Garnet Valley, Pa. – Finance

Denny Nealon 

What are some thoughts going through your mind as you’re nearing the end of the regular season in your senior year?

DN: I’m extremely thankful for what this program has provided me. I have learned so much from this experience and have built relationships that are going to last forever.

 

What is your favorite Lehigh Lacrosse memory up until this point?

DN: My favorite memory was beating Loyola on Banko this season. 

 

Describe your relationship(s) with your fellow teammates, seniors and/or fifth-years?

DN: I feel like our class is extremely close-knit, and a truly special group. Adding the fifth-years to our class for the year had been awesome, and they have only made this year that much better. I’m going to be in contact with these guys for the rest of my life, and I am lucky to call them my best friends.

 

What makes this team and this program so special?

DN: I think the brotherhood separates us from a lot of teams. In my four years here at Lehigh, this is as close as a team has been from seniors through freshmen. Everybody gets along with everybody regardless of class, and I truly believe that is a huge ingredient to our success. 

 

What are your plans for next year?

DN: I expect to be starting my career in Banking as I finish up interviews for full-time positions. 

 

#17 Justin Angelel – Sr. – M – Bellevue, Wash. – Computer Science and Management

Justin Angelel 

What are some thoughts going through your mind as you’re nearing the end of the regular season in your senior year?

JA: I’m excited to finish the season strong. I really feel like my class has made a positive impact on the program and helped take the program to a higher level. It’s also scary that my last season of competitive sports is coming to a close. Hoping to make it last as long as possible.

 

What is your favorite Lehigh Lacrosse memory up until this point?

JA: The locker room after beating Army my freshman year. We hadn’t beaten Army in a long time, and it was a dog fight of a game. The locker room was electric post game… even Coach Cassese was dancing.

 

Describe your relationship(s) with your fellow teammates, seniors and/or fifth-years?

JA: They’re my boys. Ride or die. It stinks to think we’re all going to get jobs in different cities and finally start living real lives pretty soon. I wish we could all just move back in to Broadhead together.

 

What makes this team and this program so special?

JA: Our grit. We’re not flashy, but we drive over the mountain every day and get after each other. It brings us together and builds a family in the process.

 

What are your plans for next year?

JA: Not planning on coming back for a full fifth year. However, I do need to take some classes in the fall to finish my second degree. This summer I will be working for Slalom Consulting… not sure what my plan is after that.

 

#19 James Spence – Sr. – G – Springfield, Pa. – Mechanical Engineering

James Spence 

What are some thoughts going through your mind as you’re nearing the end of the regular season in your senior year?

JS: I’m proud of how our team has been playing this season so far, but we are not finished. I’m excited to see how this team keeps playing and I’m happy to be part of it all.

 

What is your favorite Lehigh Lacrosse memory up until this point?

JS: My favorite memory is my freshman year when we won the Patriot League Semifinal in overtime against Navy. Watching my brother score the game-winning goal, and making it to the PLC for the first time in four years was awesome. 

 

Describe your relationship(s) with your fellow teammates, seniors and/or fifth-years?

JS: I have a great relationship with my teammates and coaches. The coaches have always been there for me and have helped me through many obstacles that have come with school and lacrosse. They have pushed me to where I am today as a lacrosse player and as a person. Our senior class is a very close-knit group who have always been such great friends with each other. We always are hanging out getting lunch and just doing whatever we can to make sure we are always hanging out with each other. I love all the guys; they are all lifelong brothers to me, and I know I will be in contact with them for the rest of my life.

 

What makes this team and this program so special?

JS: What makes this team so special is how everyone is bought in to what we have to do in order to compete for championships. We all want to succeed on and off the field, and our teammates are willing to always help each other out in order for our program to have success. I think this year specifically, we just have listened to each other and have committed to doing whatever the team needs in order to compete for championships.

 

What are your plans for next year?

JS: I have the opportunity to come back and use my fifth year of eligibility, but have not made a final decision yet. 

 

#31 Liam Lynch – Sr. – M – Foxboro, Mass. – Finance

Liam Lynch 

What are some thoughts going through your mind as you’re nearing the end of the regular season in your senior year?

LL: Since I came onto campus as a freshman, year after year, we have come closer to pinning Lehigh Lacrosse on the map. I am beyond proud of my class along with the coaching staff and returning key players that came back as fifth-years to make this season my most memorable one at Lehigh. We have a lot more to prove this season, but I will remember the sacrifices and dedication that we made as a group to put us into this favorable position heading into the postseason.

 

What is your favorite Lehigh Lacrosse memory up until this point?

LL: My most memorable moment in my lacrosse career actually came just a couple weeks ago. It took me more than three years to get myself into a position where I am getting meaningful minutes on gameday. My senior game against Lafayette, along with the game on Friday, was the first time in my career where the process finally came to fruition and I got to see myself gaining real individual results. Never would I have thought it would take me until my senior game to see this dream come true, but all that makes it even more worth it in the end.

 

Describe your relationship(s) with your fellow teammates, seniors and/or fifth-years?

LL: Our team here really is special because we all honestly are such close friends. It doesn’t matter which class you’re in or whether you have significant playing time or not, everyone genuinely cares about each other and makes the effort to be friends. These guys are not just friends when it comes to playing lacrosse, but we’re also hanging out constantly off the field and during the summer. It’s sad to say I can’t just walk down the street to hang out with them after this semester, but I know I will continue to maintain these friendships throughout my life.

 

What makes this team and this program so special?

LL: Specifically this year, due to COVID, we have become so close with one another because of this bubble that we have had to create. We really are 100 percent focused on the task at hand, winning every week no matter what the cost. It would be easy for kids to opt out of the season if they believed it wouldn’t be worth it. But everyone from the coaching staff to every freshman on the roster is bought in and allows us to be in this position heading into our last regular season game.

 

What are your plans for next year?

LL: Coming back for a fifth year unfortunately is not an option for me. I have received an offer from Vanguard that is a dream come true for me and an opportunity that I cannot pass up. I will only be a little more than an hour away from Bethlehem in Malvern, Pa. so I’m sure there will be opportunities to get back together with my teammates. Hard to walk away from the game, but Lehigh Lacrosse has allowed me to be in a position to achieve my goals off the field as well. Hopefully I can help get some of my teammates job offers at Vanguard in the future! 

 

#38 Conor Gaffney – Gr. – M/FO – Mount Laurel, N.J. – Management Science and Engineering (Master’s)

Conor Gaffney 

What are some thoughts going through your mind as you’re nearing the end of the regular season in your senior year?

CG: I am making the most of the rest of my time here and am looking forward to enjoying the process of competing for a championship that has been the long-time goal of this program. 

 

What is your favorite Lehigh Lacrosse memory up until this point?

CG: Winning semifinal games against BU and Navy.

 

Describe your relationship(s) with your fellow teammates, seniors and/or fifth-years?

CG: I am super close with the current senior class and fifth-years. I expect us all to remain close even after our time as teammates ends at some point in the next month or so. 

 

What makes this team and this program so special?

CG: The friendships and relationships that we have with each other. The guys on the team are what make even the toughest days enjoyable.

 

What are your plans for next year?

CG: I accepted a job doing Valuation Consulting with EY in New York City. I also have the opportunity to play in the PLL (Premier Lacrosse League) for the Archers Lacrosse Club.

 

#43 Hayden Trautmann – Sr. – D – Huntington Valley, Pa. – Computer Science (EN)

Hayden Trautmann 

What are some thoughts going through your mind as you’re nearing the end of the regular season in your senior year?

HT: These four years went by much faster than I was expecting. I have so many great memories from Lehigh Lacrosse and have made lifelong friendships throughout the processes. I’m very thankful for all the program has given me. 

 

What is your favorite Lehigh Lacrosse memory up until this point?

HT: Beating Army my freshman year at their stadium. The game was an absolute battle and everyone unlocked a different level of energy.

 

Describe your relationship(s) with your fellow teammates, seniors and/or fifth-years?

HT: I would consider my teammates best friends who I can rely on for anything

 

What makes this team and this program so special?

HT: The team’s leadership and disciplined mentality through the chaotic past year has kept us stronger than ever. 

 

What are your plans for next year?

HT: I need to finish up a few more credits of my undergrad this coming fall, but won’t be staying for the spring. I will start looking for a job this summer for after my extra semester.

 

#45 Teddy Leggett – Sr. – LSM/D – Vaughan, Ontario – Bioengineering

Teddy Leggett 

What are some thoughts going through your mind as you’re nearing the end of the regular season in your senior year?

TL: Obviously, the thoughts going through my mind as the regular season is ending is just how much time actually flies when you’re here at school. Definitely excited to get into postseason and compete for a championship as well.

 

What is your favorite Lehigh Lacrosse memory up until this point?

TL: I think one of my favorite Lehigh Lacrosse memories was playing Navy last year. It was a really intense game and so much fun to play in and luckily, we came out on top.

 

Describe your relationship(s) with your fellow teammates, seniors and/or fifth-years?

TL: My relationship with everyone on the team is extremely great, I love seeing each and every person each day at practice. Regarding my relationship with my class and the fifth-years, they are some of my best friends in the entire world and there is no one I’d rather spend my time with.

 

What makes this team and this program so special?

TL: I think just the culture that this program has is what makes it so special. Each person knows that they play a crucial role in the team’s success and everyone is dedicated to helping the team win no matter what that takes.

 

What are your plans for next year?

TL: Yes coming back is an option for me and I have been looking at the Master’s of Healthcare Systems Engineering.

 

#55 Andrew Eichelberger – Gr. – M – The Woodlands, Texas – Technical Entrepreneurship (Master’s)

Andrew Eichelberger 

What are some thoughts going through your mind as you’re nearing the end of the regular season in your senior year?

AE: My journey at Lehigh has definitely been a wild ride, especially with the COVID year. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to come back and play another year with these guys and I am extremely happy with my decision. It will be interesting next year not going to practice and seeing the boys every day, but I am very lucky to have had the opportunity to come back.  

 

What is your favorite Lehigh Lacrosse memory up until this point?

AE: We have done some great things this year beating Loyola for the first time in program history and beating Army when they were in the Top 10 as well. I think us securing the No. 1 seed in the Patriot League and hosting the tournament is a great accomplishment and puts us in a good spot to make some more memories before the season is over. 

 

Describe your relationship(s) with your fellow teammates, seniors and/or fifth-years?

AE: It’s crazy to think about how much has changed since our season ended due to COVID. This year has been extremely challenging with all of the obstacles we have had to deal with, but I am very grateful for the Lehigh Lacrosse Family making this entire journey worth it.  

 

What makes this team and this program so special?

AE: The entire Lehigh Lacrosse Family of players, coaches, parents, alumni and all of our supporters is what makes this such a great place to play. I feel lucky to have been a part of this family for five years and I can’t thank everyone enough for making my college experience such a great one. 

 

What are your plans for next year?

AE: I am still figuring out my postgraduate plans, but I will be entering into finance post-graduation.

 

#66 Matt Douglas – Sr. – D – Mendham, N.J. – Finance

Matt Douglas 

What are some thoughts going through your mind as you’re nearing the end of the regular season in your senior year?

MD: As I near the end of my senior year, I’m feeling very thankful for everyone that has been a part of my journey since I started playing lacrosse in elementary school. I’m making sure to treat every day and every opportunity to play and spend time with my teammates as a gift and take nothing for granted. We have all experienced first-hand how quickly things can come to an end whether it’s because of a global pandemic or a season-ending loss. We’re doing our best to control what we can control and put ourselves in a position to play together for as long as possible. 

 

What is your favorite Lehigh Lacrosse memory up until this point?

MD: My favorite Lehigh Lacrosse memory up until this point is beating Navy in overtime in the Patriot League Semifinals my freshman year.

 

Describe your relationship(s) with your fellow teammates, seniors and/or fifth-years?

MD: All of my teammates throughout my four years here have had a lasting impact on my development as a person. The guys in my class as well as the fifth-years who have been with us every year now are my brothers for life and there’s nobody I would rather have shared my college lacrosse experience with. It’s just a great group of guys who have been through a lot together and understand what it takes to carry on the Lehigh Lacrosse legacy. We really enjoy being together and although that has looked a little bit different this year, we have formed bonds and made memories that I’ll carry with me the rest of my life. 

 

What makes this team and this program so special?

MD: Every member of this team and program has an incredibly high care factor. It’s amazing to be a part of a group that puts so much time and effort into a shared goal. Not only do we work hard on the field during our scheduled hours as a team, but there is also so much extra time spent on Banko, at the varsity house or at our houses talking and thinking about our team and what we’re trying to accomplish in a given week or throughout the season. Passion is something that defines our program and shows through in countless ways every single day.

 

What are your plans for next year?

MD: Yes, coming back for a fifth-year is an option for me and I’m very grateful to have the choice to come back. I still haven’t made a final decision on whether or not I’ll use my last year of eligibility or enter the “real world” just yet. 

 

#77 Christian McHugh – Gr. – M – Bronxville, N.Y. – Technical Entrepreneurship (Master’s)

Christian McHugh 

What are some thoughts going through your mind as you’re nearing the end of the regular season in your senior year?

CM: Some of my thoughts as our year is coming to a close is just how much I am going to miss seeing my best friends and competing every day, whether it be a practice or a game.

 

What is your favorite Lehigh Lacrosse memory up until this point?

CM: My favorite Lehigh Lacrosse memory is definitely winning in OT against Navy my sophomore year. It was an unbelievable game to be a part of and winning the way we did was a great feeling.

 

Describe your relationship(s) with your fellow teammates, seniors and/or fifth-years?

CM: I will always talk about my teammates like they are my brothers. It is just a bond that can never be broken. We put our bodies on the line for each other every time we strap on the pads and I go into every game knowing that I have 50+ brothers who have my back.

 

What makes this team and this program so special?

CM: The people. Coach Cassese is a great recruiter because he gets players that fit right into our culture and there’s no one that ever feels out of place. We are a family.

 

What are your plans for next year?

CM: Undecided