IRVINE, Calif. — The senior class of 2020 had their season stolen from them.
For reasons outside of their control, they will never be able to pursue goals for which they worked so hard.
As part of a recurring segment for the remainder of this spring, coaches have the opportunity to thank their seniors one last time.
Continuing the series is Concordia-Irvine coach Jesse Foss honoring his five seniors.
#11 Andrew Blume, Midfield
Ranch Santa Margarita, Calif. (Trabuco Hills)
Andrew was a four-year letter winner for the Eagles. He was our Swiss army knife and contributed on man down, faceoff wings and ran two-way midfield.
One of the best athletes on the team, Andrew had the ability to be play shutdown defense and spark the offensive break. My best memory of Andrew was his huge back-to-back highlight-reel goals in an upset win over No. 3 Brigham Young in 2019!
#15 Johnny Barry, Defensive Midfield
Laguna Niguel, Calif. (Laguna Niguel)
Johnny came back after missing the 2019 season due to injury. He exceeded my expectations this year and was an incredible asset to the team. He was selfless, hardworking and had a great attitude.
My best memory of Johnny was his diving save against No. 2 Cal in the last minutes of the game. Although we lost the game his play gave us a last second chance to tie the game. That type of hustle and selflessness exemplifies the type of teammate he is and set the standard for the rest of the team.
#11 Jacob Aho , Midfield
Anaheim, Calif. (Esperanza)
Jacob was a four-year letter winner for the Eagles and team captain. He was a standout midfielder and on the man-up team. When I came in, I asked Jacob to switch roles from an offensive midfield to more of a two-way role. Even though this would affect his point production he embraced the role to help the team win.
My best memory of Jacob was his two goals in a win over Colorado State in 2019. The offense was struggling in that game and Jacob stepped up and gave us the spark we needed to get the win!
#2 Jackson Lienhart, Attack
Carlsbad, Calif. (Torrey Pines)
Jackson transferred to the team as a junior and made an immediate impact on our team. He provided us with a vocal leader on the offensive end and was named a team captain.
As a junior, he registered a point in every game including eight 3-plus goal games. In 2019, he was selected as a First Team All-American, first team all-conference and Scholar Athlete. My best memory of Jackson was his four-goal performance in an upset win over No. 1 Michigan State in 2019.
#16 Connor Reed, Long-stick Midfield
Laguna Niguel, Calif. (Aliso Niguel)
Connor was a four-year letter winner and three-year team captain. I have had the pleasure of coaching some amazing defensemen in my 18 years and Connor is among the best. What sets him apart is his leadership and ability to bring his best effort to every practice and game. He never took a day off and created a standard for the rest of the team to follow.
He finishes his career with 40 points (16 goals, 34 assists) and 355 groundballs. In 2019, he was selected as a Third Team All-American, first team all-conference and Scholar Athlete. It is difficult to come up with one memory about Connor because I felt like every game was his best game and was always the best player on the field.
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This is a very special group of young men. They have been a part of the team that has made the difficult transition from D-II to D-I and went through three coaching changes in their four years. Their leadership and resolve allowed the program to continue to thrive throughout this time.
In their four years, they posted a 47-13 overall record, won the 2017 D-II national championship, won the 2017 SLC championship and qualified for the SLC playoff and MCLA national tournament in three consecutive years.
They are all great players, but as good as they are on the field, they are even better people off the field. They dedicated themselves to the program, each other and their teammates.
As an athlete it is important to leave the program better than you found it. These five young men can certainly say that. They worked hard both on and off the field to build this program for the present and for the future.
We would be excited to have all of them come back to use their extra year of eligibility, but if they don’t, we wanted to send them off properly and let them know just how much they have meant to the program.
I cannot thank them enough for what they have done for CUI lacrosse. They will always be part of the Eagles lacrosse family.