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Lansdale Catholic’s Connor Mann is 2022 The Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery Media Boys Lacrosse Athlete of the Year

Lansdale Catholic's Connor Mann (18) celebrates after his goal with teammates Pat McKeever (24) and Gavin Selchert (33) during their game against Archbishop Wood on Monday, April 18, 2022. (Mike Cabrey/MediaNews Group)

From the beginning of his time at Lansdale Catholic, Connor Mann could literally see where he wanted his career with the Crusaders boys lacrosse team to go.

“Coming into my freshman year I saw the number, it was hanging up in our school ever since freshman year, just that 123,” said Mann of 2017 grad Grady Kelly’s school record for goals. “I saw and I was like ‘Huh, that’s like a possible thing for me to do.’

“But my main goal was just to help the team win as much as possible.”

Mann ended up doing both, the 2022 The Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery Media Boys Lacrosse Athlete of the Year finishing his LC career is the top scorer in program history while also leading the Crusaders to the Philadelphia Catholic League semifinals and a second straight District 12 Class 2A championship.

“It pretty much started off from last year,” Mann said. “After that season we knew we wanted to come back and our goal this whole year, we knew we were going to win that district title championship – that was just set in stone.

“But we knew that we wanted that state title. And we worked together in the offseason, even during the season just we would all shoot together, we would do everything together. But that chemistry from the year before helped us into this year a lot.”

Mann bettered her LC single-season record of 80 goals he set in 2021 as a junior, finding the back of net 84 times this year, scoring almost four goals per contest (3.7) in leading a Lansdale Catholic attack averaging 12.5 goals per game as completed his career with 207 goals. The Crusaders went 15-8 overall, took third in the PCL with a 9-2 record and reached the PIAA-2A tournament for the second consecutive year.

“It was kind of just I knew I was going to get close to it,” said Mann of eclipsing his own single-season record. “I didn’t really expect to break it, I just wanted to be the best teammate possible for my team to win.”

Along with the single-season and career goal marks at LC, Mann also set the school’s single-game record by scoring nine times in the Crusaders’ 14-7 win over Pope John Paul II May 9.

On what he worked to improve his game, Mann said, “I would probably say just my strength in the weight room, my conditioning and really off hand and dodging from all over spots of the field. Cause from later in the year I started to come through the box as a middie to try and attempt to get a shortie so I’d have to dodge down the alley.”

With defenses keying in on him, Mann – who was named All-Catholic League first team at attack as both a junior and senior – also was a quality distributor, dishing out 31 assists as he ended the season with 115 points.

“I knew that anytime I had the ball I was going to get an early slide,” Mann said. “So I knew I needed to keep my head up and just move that ball one more and just have confidence in my teammates to score the ball.”

Mann started the season with a seven-goal, one-assist effort as the Crusaders cruised past Springfield-Montco 12-3 March 25. Three days later, Mann tallied four goals as LC improved to 2-0 with an 8-4 victory over Upper Dublin.

The Crusaders started PCL play with a 14-2 win over Archbishop Carroll April 4, Mann finishing the contest with two goals and three assists.

LC went on to win its first seven games before falling at home to La Salle – Mann collecting his 200th career point with a goal and assist in the April 26 matchup with the Explorers.

“It was a really good start,” Mann said. “We did that I believe that last year we did 7-0 as well and then ran into some good teams but I felt like that 7-0 was a good energy boost to the team just because of the younger side of our defense.”

After getting edged by St. Joseph’s Prep May 6, LC earned back-to-back wins, Mann scoring nine against Pope John Paul II with the senior totaling two goals and four assists in a 20-5 victory over Archbishop Ryan a day later that improved the Crusaders to 12-4.

The Crusaders dropped their final two regular-season games but Mann had eight goals and an assist as LC rolled past Father Judge in their PCL playoff opener. A second loss to Prep denied Lansdale Catholic a spot in the league final but the Crusaders regrouped and proceeded to defend its District 12 Class 2A title.

Mann recorded four goals and two assists as LC topped Boys’ Latin 19-1 in the district semis then scored twice and dished out three assists as the Crusaders beat Devon Prep a second time in 2022, besting the Tide 15-5 in the district final.

“We knew just we can’t underestimate any opponent going into a game,” Mann said. “But we knew that we beat them before earlier in the year and that one of their better players wasn’t able to play so it was kind of just a good feeling all around for the whole game. But we knew we couldn’t go in underestimating that team.”

In the first round of the PIAA-2A tournament against Lampeter-Strasburg, Mann had three goals and LC rallied in the fourth to force overtime but the Pioneers struck early in the extra session to end the Crusaders’ season with a 10-9 loss.

“That state game, we knew we needed to win that game cause it would be a big energy boost for us to push into the tournament,” Mann said. “And we knew earlier in the year when we played Marple [Newtown] going into the fourth quarter I think we were down two or three goals against them so we knew that we could compete with teams in this state tournament and we knew that we needed that game. But we went on the opposite side of that one.”

Lacrosse has been Mann’s sport for as long as he can remember, stating, “I’ve had a stick in my hand since I could walk.” And he will continue to play it at the college level at Division II Belmont Abbey, located west of Charlotte, North Carolina. He will be joined by LC teammate Jake Lesher with Mann confident the two will continue working to make each other better.

“Me and Jake have just always pushed each other since freshman year with lacrosse,” Mann said. “And from our winter workouts we just always pushed and pushed each other. Like this morning, me and him were running sprints at 6:30 in the morning just trying to push each other to get better and better every day. So we knew going to college together, we know that we’re going to push each other to be our best.”

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