A year ago, Andrew Pettit was being talked about as one of the nation’s top collegiate lacrosse players, and heading into his senior year at Lehigh he was in contention for the prestigious Tewaaraton Award – the very best player in the country.
The former Delaware Player of the Year at Tower Hill School was coming off a 46 goal-season that led the Patriot League, and his average of 2.71 goals per game was 10th in the country.
But then disaster struck: Pettit tore his ACL during a pre-season practice, and he was out for the year.
Twelve months later Pettit is once again on the shortlist for both the Senior CLASS Award that recognizes outstanding student-athletes’ community service, but also again in the running for the Tewaaraton.
To be eligible for the Senior CLASS Award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced in conjunction with the 2020 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse National Championship in May.
The fifth-year senior has come back from the devastating injury stronger than ever for his final college season, with eye-catching performances that included leading the 18th-ranked Mountain Hawks to a come-from-behind victory against VMI where Pettit scored a career-high eight goals. That’s a tally that equals a 23-year-old program record.
“Never in my life have I ever scored 8 goals in a game, let alone during my career at Lehigh at the Division 1 level,” said Pettit.
In the game, Pettit finished with five of Lehigh’s six third-quarter goals and six of the Mountain Hawks’ nine second-half goals in a dominant performance. Pettit also shattered his career-high for groundballs, finishing with eight.
Pettit has been confirmed as the only men’s Division I player to post that stat line (8+ goals and 8+ groundballs) in at least the last 10 years.
“We needed every single one of the eight goals from Pettit,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “I challenged him in the pregame before we came out for the first faceoff and I thought he really rose to the occasions. For him to step up like that was really big. We needed some leadership tonight. I felt like we didn’t have a lot of it throughout the early stages of the game, but he provided a tremendous boost – a great spark – and a lot of leadership for us.”
Pettit says his performance was a direct result of everybody around him on the field. “I happened to be the beneficiary of a lot of great plays made by my teammates. Extra passes led to more open shots. That ended up piling together and we put a lot on the board.”
Pettit, who underwent a lengthy recovery including surgeries and months of physical therapy, wasn’t sure how his return to the game would play out.
“After almost two years in between my first game this season and the last time I played a collegiate lacrosse game before my injury, there definitely was an adjustment period before feeling myself again. Now four games into the season, I feel at home again out there on the field. I couldn’t be happier with my decision to return for another season here at Lehigh and cant wait to see how the rest of the year plays out,” he said.
His goal this year remains the same he started at Lehigh in 2015 — to win the Patriot League Championship (PLC). He played in the PLC his junior year but was sidelined last year when his team made it back to the championship. “After we came up short of our goal both times, there is nothing on my mind more this year than trying to accomplish that goal that would make everything worth it.”
The star athlete says he is working “extremely hard” to fulfill another dream — playing lacrosse in either professional league (PLL and MLL). He has also accepted a job in New York City in commercial real estate and is excited about that opportunity.