Ryan Saraceni '14, Lacrosse

At Scranton, student-athletes can make baskets or score goals, but they also excel at the quintessential Jesuit ideal of being men and women for others. One such person is lacrosse player Ryan Saraceni.

Year: Senior
Major: Business Administration
Hometown: Lansdale, Pa.
Position: Close defenseman

You were named to the Landmark Conference Academic Honor Roll. How do you combine being a good lacrosse player with being a good student?

First and foremost, I remember why I am at school. We are student-athletes and school comes first. Before I go to a practice or a game, if I have homework, the homework's done; if I have a test, the test is studied for. I can compartmentalize so there are no worries when I am on the playing field. 

What were the high and low points of last season?

The high point was that we were successful, all things considered. We can look back proudly on having adapted quickly to a new coach. We had a better season than we thought we'd have. The low point was losing to Susquehanna in the play-offs. We'd beaten them before in the regular season and I guess we were just looking past them, and you can't do that. You have to remember that it goes one game at a time. The team that wins is the team that shows up.

What was your best moment with the team?

My favorite team moment was my freshman year when we beat Gaucher for the conference championship. We beat them at Gaucher, playing in a hostile environment as the underdog. We were down only once and it was when their guy scored on me. Every goal is huge, especially in a championship. My coach called me over and said, “Are you done with that now?” He was asking if I was ready to move on. It calmed me down, and that Gaucher player never scored again – and he was their top scorer.

What will you take from sports to help in your intended career?

I want to work for the federal government in law enforcement, so obviously two great skills are teamwork and leadership. I was captain of my high school football team, but that’s different from leading in college. Then, players were more willing to “do as I say.” Now, we are adults with our own ambitions and ideas. My teammates may be smarter than me or better at certain things, but we have to work together for a common goal. Teamwork is knowing when to play a support role.

Your lacrosse team does a lot of community service. Can you talk about that?

As a team, we do one or two service projects annually. Last fall we got involved in something a bit different. The Movember Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness of men's health issues. They dubbed November “Grow the Mo” month and we adopted it as a fund-raiser. We started on Nov. 1 clean-shaven and then grew mustaches. Our faces were like billboards. Everyone would ask, “Why the mustache” and then you could explain what you were doing and get donations. We made our $5,000 goal. 

Why did you choose lacrosse?

In high school (La Salle College High School, Wyndmoor, Pa.), I played both football – I was a linebacker – and lacrosse. We won the state championships in both sports in the quad A division. I wanted to continue as a student-athlete, so I had a choice to make about which to play in college. I felt I would have a better chance to play right away if I focused on lacrosse. Freshmen rarely get playing time in football. By choosing lacrosse, I was able to play at a high level right from the start. 

What do you enjoy most about lacrosse?

I like the fact that lacrosse is a team sport that allows some one-on-one play. As a team, we have to rely on one another, but when I am covering a man, it's one-on-one. After he's passed, you rejoin the team and cover each other's backs.

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