Generation X and O: Lehigh at Denver Not Just Any Game

Lehigh is doing just that as the Mountain Hawks are set to face four teams ranked in the top 11 of this week's Media Poll - UMass (7), Penn State (9), Colgate (10) and Denver (11) - while the Mountain Hawks are ranked eighth themselves.

It was fitting that the two coaching staffs met prior to last seasons as the parallels between the programs are endless.

One connection is the Canadian presence. This year's Denver squad features three Canadians while Lehigh has two. Oshawa, Ontario native Mark Matthews just graduated as Denver's all-time leader in goals (155) and points (216). In addition, Coach Brown is a native Canadian and Coach Compitello played alongside some of the best Canadians in the game while at Stony Brook.

Tierney helped lead a non-traditional lacrosse power to Championship Weekend in 2011 while Cassese hopes to bring Lehigh to similar heights. Tierney has enjoyed success with freshmen goaltenders (Jamie Faus in 2011 and Ryan LaPlante last season) while Lehigh's Matt Poillon was named Patriot League Goalie of the Year and an All-American in leading the Mountain Hawks to their first NCAA Tournament appearance last season.

In the end, Tierney focuses on building a program, a system that's built to last, and he knows Cassese is building Lehigh the right way.

"When you build a program, it starts from the beginning with having a perspective," said Tierney. "If you're going to do it right, you're going to ask kids to sacrifice, ask kids to go to class, ask kids to look good, ask kids to love each other and respect their opponent ... all those things.

"Sometimes you go through rough spots," he continued. "My first year at Princeton, I was 2-13 then 6-8. If you take shortcuts and maybe you win a few more games early, it doesn't pay off in the long run. Kevin has done it the right way; he's demanded of his players to be the right kind of people as well as the right kind of players."

"I have a ton of respect for Coach Tierney and the Denver program," said Cassese. "Their trip to the Final Four in 2011 and Quarterfinals in 2012 was incredibly inspiring, especially for programs outside the ACC and not named Johns Hopkins or Syracuse. We certainly hope for similar success here at Lehigh.

"Obviously, we are going to try our best to be victorious on Saturday, but win or lose, I can guarantee you that my staff, my team and I will all be better because of the experience playing against a Bill Tierney coached team."

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