April 10, 2014

CUA Pays Tribute to Former Club Coach Tom Lillis

The Catholic University men's lacrosse team picked up its second Landmark Conference win of the season with a 15-7 victory over Washington & Jefferson on senior day in Cardinal Stadium.

Seniors Sean Cummins and Walter Hickey combined for 11 points on nine goals and two assists, while Tim Keith handed out a career-high five assists.

W&J jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first quarter before the Cardinals came charging back, scoring four straight in the second period to take a 4-2 lead into halftime. William Cowan scored twice for CUA, while Cummins and Hickey each added their first scores of the game.

Cummins pushed the lead to 5-2 to open the third period from a Hickey assist at the 10:03 mark.

The Presidents answered back at 8:57 to cut the deficit to two. Senior Bobby Kusbit set up Ethan Rodriguez who found the back of the net for the sixth time this season. Shortly thereafter, Tim Keith got a little bit of help from his older brother, Brian Keith, to push the lead to 7-3.

After another W&J score, Hickey scored back-to-back goals for CUA off of assists from fellow seniors Brian Finnegan and Cummins. The Presidents responded with two goals of their own for a 9-6 score heading into the final period.

Hickey scored his third straight goal to begin the fourth quarter at the 13:30 mark. Just 21 seconds later, Cummins took a pass from T. Keith to push the Cardinals' lead to five.

Bryan Whipkey scored the final goal for W&J at 12:10 to go before CUA scored four more times for a final 15-7 score and their seventh win of the year.

T. Keith took over as the assist man, helping on all five of Catholic's final five goals of the game to pull away for good. Keith now leads the team with 11 helpers and ranks sixth in the Landmark.

Harrison Holak picked up four saves in the win. John Blee and Hickey each scooped up a game-high six ground balls, as Kevin Murray chipped in five.

Jack Drexel and Matthew Cirieco each caused three turnovers for the Catholic defense.

As a team, the Cardinals dominated the Presidents in shots (42 to 20) and ground balls (34 to 19), and were also able to deny W&J of scoring on any of its four man-up opportunities.

Prior to the start of the game, CUA head coach Brooks Singer and his staff recognized the 14 seniors on the team. It was an emotional ceremony, as Brendan Englert was honored as the final senior in the class of 2014 with his family in attendance.

During Brendan's recognition, fans joined the CUA lacrosse family by raising their right hands and holding up three fingers to honor Brendan and his #3 jersey that has been retired. Players and coaches from W&J also joined in the dedication.

After the game, there was an awards ceremony where the team presented the first annual Coach Lillis "Baggataway the Right Way" Award. Coach Lillis was the former coach of the club team back in the 1980's before the team went varsity. He inspired his players with his work ethic and enthusiasm for the game.

He was at the game and was presented with a plaque to honor his achievements. The first award recipient of this annual award this year is Brendan Englert. Brendan's free spirit and love for the game, along with the class he played the sport with made him the perfect recipient for the award.

Brendan's parents John and Kathy were presented with plaques to honor yet another achievement of Brendan, beyond his All-American selection last year, and Landmark Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year honors he received during his career as a Cardinal.

Here are Remarks from Brian Kennedy, Joe Malley and Sean McMahan About Coach Lillis

Good Afternoon.  First off, How about that great Conference win today!

My name is Brian Kennedy. Some of you may know that my friends and I founded the men's club lacrosse  back in the late 70s and early 80s. Two of those friends are with us here today, the third Club President and leader of the Swiss Cheese D, Joe Malley; and Sean McMahan, most recently famous as "the last old man standing" at the alumni games.

Youthful enthusiasm and love for the sport can often get a good idea like a lacrosse team going, but it is typically a measure of mature leadership mixed with a true passion for the game which lays the solid foundation that let's an inspired idea flourish.

Along with honoring the seniors and Brendan today, we gather to honor Coach Tom Lillis, the man who provide that leadership and passion and  who is a big reason why lacrosse is a reality at Catholic today.  Coach was the Club's first Coach and gave us instant credibility given his record as an All-American, leading team scorer sophomore year, senior team captain and 4 year first Team Midfielder at the University of Maryland. He holds a still unmatched shooting percentage record at Maryland for scoring five goals on only five shots against Army.

Coach gave us original club players our "good old days, " along with the sense of pride that we in some small way had a part in laying the foundation for the "good old days" to be created for every team to come after us.

For all this, we gather today honor Coach Lillis with the Coach Tom Lillis "Baggataway the Right Way" trophy, to be awarded for the first time this year and annually hereafter. Congratulations Coach Lillis!

Reason, Faith & Service is our motto here at Catholic, so let me share two thoughts on service, One, Coach Lillis was a volunteer his whole time with CU lacrosse setting an example for us of true love for the game; Two, Seniors consider following Coach's example as you finish your career, either by giving back to the program here or by becoming a Coach yourself.

And for all this, we are her today to honor Coach Lillis.

Now I would like to hand it over to Coach Singer to talk about the trophy and to award it for the first time.

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