Sports: Kelleher a leader on and off the field

As the Vermont men’s lacrosse season begins to take shape, team leadership is becoming more and more important.

This season, a great deal of that leadership is coming from senior standout Andrew Kelleher.

The Delmar, N.Y. native is the team’s top scorer with 32 goals and eight assists so far this season.

He has been improving every year, and has been an important factor for the team in all of his four years, playing in all 16 games last season.

“I think that getting to play in all 16 games in a season is an honor, but at the same time I think I’m also very fortunate. Not getting hurt and having great strength and conditioning coaches definitely plays a huge role,” Kelleher said. “Also, it’s great when the coaches have the confidence to put you in day in and day out to hopefully have a positive impact on the game.”

The team itself has had some strong victories and some tough losses so far this season, currently with a record of 4-8 overall and a 1-1 record in America East competition.

“We certainly have the ability to play with the big time programs, and I think that we will show that as the season goes on,” Kelleher said. “Everyone in the group brings something new to the table, and I think that making the America East tournament and hopefully competing for the conference title is an attainable goal.”

“On the field, it feels good knowing that it’s your job as a senior to bring intensity and energy to the field, but at the same time, you are responsible for making sure that when things get rocky, you’re a calming presence,” Kelleher said of fulfilling his new role for the 2009 season as one of eight seniors on the team.

“He’s definitely someone we can count on,” Vermont head lacrosse coach Ryan Curtis said. “He’s someone who’s always consistent.”

Kelleher will be graduating in May with a major in physical education. He is interested in working as a teacher after he leaves UVM.

“After doing my student teaching at Burlington High School this semester, I think that would be an awesome place to go back to.”