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Lehigh sophomore Richard Checo was one of the best defensemen in the country.

NCAA Rewind: Lehigh Exceeds Expectations in Scudder's First Season at the Helm

July 2, 2024
Patrick Stevens
Lehigh Athletics

Before USA Lacrosse Magazine looks ahead to what’s to come in 2025 — look out for our NCAA Way-Too-Early Top 25 rankings later this summer — our team of staff and contributors decided it was worth taking a last look at the 2024 college lacrosse season.

To do that, we’re taking a journey through 30 of the top teams in men’s and women’s lacrosse to see what went right, what went wrong and how we should feel about the season.


USA Lacrosse preseason/final ranking: NR/19
2024 record: 10-7 (6-2 Patriot League)

What went right: The Mountain Hawks went 5-0 in one-goal games, including an 11-10 defeat of Boston University in the Patriot League final. Attackman Scott Cole scored 41 goals as a senior, stabilizing an offense that scored at least eight goals in every game. Junior Sean Dow proved a more-than-capable replacement for the graduated Mike Sisselberger, winning 56.7 percent of his faceoffs. Sophomore Richard Checo was one of the best defensemen in the country, forcing 48 turnovers and collecting 62 ground balls. A late six-game winning streak more than salvaged an uneven first half as Lehigh earned its fourth NCAA tournament berth to cap coach Will Scudder’s first season.

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What went wrong: Turnovers (18.47 per game, 63rd nationally) were a problem during good times and bad for the Mountain Hawks. Lehigh was tied for 69th in Division I with just four assists per game, and it assisted on just 37.9 percent of its goals to place a heavy onus on one-on-one play throughout the spring.

Season highlight: The first weekend in May. Checo tied a Division I record with eight caused turnovers in the Mountain Hawks’ 12-8 defeat of Navy in the Patriot League semifinals. Two days later, Lehigh erased a three-goal deficit in the fourth quarter of the title game against Boston University, with Quinn Armstrong scoring with 1:29 to go to send the Mountain Hawks to the NCAA tournament.

Verdict: Lehigh was frankly a preseason afterthought in the Patriot League, in part because 2023’s top teams (Army and Boston University) brought plenty back and in part because the Mountain Hawks had more questions than in previous years. But Scudder, the program’s longtime defensive coordinator, did admirable work in his first year as head coach and the Mountain Hawks figured things out at the right time. The strong finish — which included a feisty showing at Johns Hopkins in the first round of the NCAA tournament — provides plenty to build on.