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McCaleb ’20 clinches men’s lacrosse victory

Athlete of the Week scores three goals, helps team overcome 6-1 deficit against Villanova

Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, March 15, 2018

The men’s lacrosse team earned a critical upset victory on the road last weekend against the fourth-ranked team in the nation, Villanova University. After falling behind 6-1 in the second quarter, Brown mounted a comeback late in the game to win 12-9. Luke McCaleb ’20 notched three goals and two assists, scoring two of his goals at crucial moments in the fourth quarter.

McCaleb, a sophomore from Chevy Chase, Maryland, plays as both an attacker and a midfielder for the Bears. He has scored nine goals and recorded 14 points this season, including a four-goal effort in the team’s first victory of the year against Stony Brook University. For his outstanding performance in the triumph over Villanova, McCaleb has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.

Herald: Congratulations on the huge win against Villanova. Can you talk a little bit about the comeback and how it felt to play so well against tough competition?

McCaleb: Villanova is a phenomenal team, and they came out firing. They were up 5-0 on us at the beginning of the second quarter, and in the first quarter, we were playing outside of ourselves and not playing our game. Then we buckled down, started moving the ball well, pushing it through behind the goal, moving it up top and getting good looks. Our defense couldn’t have played better. … Our coaches were phenomenal with making great choices, and just pulling together and playing as one team rather than individuals to make that incredible comeback. 

When did you first start playing lacrosse?

It’s funny — my dad actually was a baseball player and my grandfather was a baseball player. They played football as well, so I grew up as a baseball and football player. But I played (lacrosse) a little bit because I had some buddies in second and third grade (who also played). Then, I dropped baseball in fourth or fifth grade and focused on football and lacrosse, and it took off from there. So I’ve been playing for however many years, but since as long as I can really remember.

When did you decide that you wanted to play lacrosse in college?

I’d say probably fifth or sixth grade, honestly. I grew up watching some of the great players like Paul Rabil, Rob Pannell, Steele Stanwick and guys like that. Just watching the college lacrosse games — one time I was watching (the University of Virginia) play somebody in fifth or sixth grade, and they went into like eight overtimes. Ever since then, it just looked like a great game and looked like everyone who did it enjoyed it so much.

Why did you choose Brown?

Really it was the atmosphere, the whole school, the combination of great lacrosse and incredible academics. I came (and) visited, (then) visited a couple of other places, a couple of other Ivy League schools and a couple of the service academies. I just really felt at home at Brown. I liked the diversity of the school and all the different people you see, different people you meet and all the different groups that there are. I was just drawn to it and fell in love with it.

What’s your favorite part of being on the lacrosse team?

I’d definitely say the camaraderie throughout the team and with the coaches. Our coaches are the best coaches in the country. They really love the game, which is important. They say that if you come up here and this isn’t the best part of your day, then I’m doing something wrong. Everyone on the team is just a great guy, who always (has) each other’s back and (is) always looking out for each other. It’s just a great group of friends who all want that common goal of hopefully winning a national championship and winning an Ivy League championship. 

Do you have any pre-game rituals?

Yeah, it’s actually pretty funky. Before every game, I actually listen to a song called “Gravel Walk” by The Rogues, and it’s a full bagpipe song. I’ve always done that, and it’s kind of weird because I get ready for the game about five or six hours early, while most of the guys (get ready) two hours before. … I always shoot before the game, throw against the wall before the game and listen to that bagpipes song.

What are some personal and team goals you have for the season?

For team goals, I’d say we’re just taking it one game at (a) time — just playing our best lacrosse, and it’ll all figure itself out from there. My personal goals (are) to be the best teammate I can be and do whatever is necessary to put the team in the best position that I can to win games. 

What are you concentrating in and what do you hope to do after graduating?

I’m doing the organizational study track and am (concentrating in) Business, Entrepreneurship and Organizations. I’d like to go into the military for a little bit after college. I’m actually going to officer candidate school this summer for the Marine Corps. And then, I don’t know, to be honest. Maybe I’ll be a lacrosse coach, maybe be a teacher or maybe do something else. I really don’t know, but I’m just loving life right now and looking forward to where it takes me.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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