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Vol. LXIV, No. 51
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010
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CAPTAINS CLUB: Former Princeton High standouts Casey Rahn of the University of Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team, left, and Princeton University’s Tyler Moni battle as the teams met in the opening round of the 2009 NCAA tournament. Senior longstick midfielder Rahn was recently named as a tri-captain for UMass, months after close friend Moni was named to the same position for the PU squad.

PHS Alum Rahn Named as a UMass Lax Captain; Hopes to Lead Minutemen Back to NCAA Tourney

Bill Alden

Casey Rahn was enjoying his junior year with the University of Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team as the 2010 season headed into April.

The Minutemen started the month by beating Penn State to improve to 7-2 and rise to No. 9 in the national polls with former Princeton High star and longstick midfielder Rahn helping to spearhead the defense.

But hurt by some key injuries, Massachusetts stumbled down the stretch, losing four of its last five games as it fell short of making a second straight trip to the NCAA tournament.

Rahn, for his part, won’t soon forget the team’s late collapse. “It is something we are still talking about; something we will always remember when you have that kind of talent and come up short,” said Rahn, reflecting on the 8-6 season.

“I think we need to be better at communication and we need better defensive cohesiveness. We had one of the highest scoring offenses but one of the worst defenses. Being a defensive leader and being a part of that is tough.”

With the 2011 season just around the corner, Rahn will get the chance to provide that leadership as he has been chosen as a tri-captain for the squad.

For Rahn, becoming a captain is a crowning achievement of his athletic career.

“I was ecstatic; we have plenty of seniors who could lead,” said Rahn, who was also a soccer star at PHS and helped the Little Tigers win a sectional title in his senior season.

“It is a lot of responsibility; it is not a figurehead position. I look at the history of UMass captains and it is amazing to be part of that group with players like Jack Reid, Kevin Leveille, and Sean Morris. It is a culmination of the work I have put in at UMass and at Princeton High. It is great to end on top like this.”

In assuming the role of captain, Rahn is looking to help the Minuteman work together on and off the field.

“We need to build a sense of community and be unified as a social group,” said Rahn.

“In the past, we have had outliers and cliques have formed. Having cohesion on and off the field helps you count on someone when you need a big play on the field. Being in a group helps people stay out of trouble. We need people to be accountable on and off the field.”

Rahn and some of his teammates recently got some lessons in accountability from a special group.

“The senior class and the leadership group had a workshop with some Marines,” said Rahn.

“We met for about four hours; it was really intense. The Marines came to help us develop leadership skills; we have to bring guys in who might be outside the group. They also told us look at yourself and what you can change.”

There was some positive change for UMass as it went through its fall ball program.

“We had a great fall; things were shaky in our tournament but then we beat Stony Brook,” said Rahn.

“We showed development as the fall went on and that is what the coach was looking for.”

Rahn kept developing last year even as the Minutemen took a step up, switching to the CAA from the ECAC.

“I still had the stats; I was able to play against better and faster players,” said the 5’9, 195-pound Rahn, who was third on the team last season with 32 groundballs and had nine caused turnovers.

“We didn’t know what to expect; you grow with the players in your league. You see them on film and play against them every year. With these guys, it was only film work and that makes a difference.”

In addition to using his physical skills, Rahn is looking to inspire his guys verbally.

“I am trying to find my voice on the field,” added Rahn. “I need to be vocal as a communicator and not yelling at people. Coach [Greg Cannella] met with me and said I should be talking to people, not talking at people.”

In Rahn’s view, UMass will have plenty of good people on the field this year.

“I am excited; we have a lot of young talent and senior talent,” said Rahn of the Minutemen who are ranked 15th in the Inside Lacrosse preseason poll. “It is the first year where talent has flowed through all the classes.”

With that depth, Rahn is looking to do whatever the team needs. “I would like to have more ground balls and caused turnovers but I am not worried about stats,” said Rahn, who has one goal and two assists in his career to go with 75 groundballs and 35 caused turnovers..

“I just want to be better defensively and if that means played better positionally and having fewer stats; that is fine. I would like to score another goal; I hit some posts last year.”

In the back of his mind, Rahn is focused on another goal, getting a rematch with former PHS classmate and current Princeton University men’s lax tri-captain Tyler Moni.

“Tyler and I come from a competitive environment and atmosphere,” said Rahn, noting that the teams met in the first round of the 2009 NCAA tournament with Princeton winning 10-7.

“It is great that we are both captains of top 20 teams. It would be great to come out before an NCAA game and shake hands at the X as captains.”

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