By Nick Porter
DENVER – Southern Virginia University alumnus and former men's lacrosse player Casey Rich has signed with the Colorado Mammoth, a member of the National Lacrosse League (NLL) a professional indoor lacrosse organization in the United States and Canada.
"Playing professional lacrosse means so much to me," Rich said. "It is the culmination of my athletic dreams since I was a little kid. I have a deep passion for the sport and being able to play at the highest possible level is surreal."
Rich was a member of Southern Virginia's men's lacrosse program from 2015-17 and is the top goal-scorer in the program's history. As a freshman in 2015, he led the team with 38 goals and 16 assists and was named to the All-CAC second team. In 2016, he again earned All-CAC honors as he was named to the first team after ranking fourth in the conference with 49 goals.
Last season, the Buffalo, New York native led the team in goals for the third straight year with 48. He also finished 11 games with at least three goals, with a season-high of six against Merchant Marine on March 8, one shy of his career-high of seven goals.
"This is an exciting time for our lacrosse program to see its first professional athlete," Head Men's Lacrosse Coach and Director of Athletics Jason Lamb said. "Casey has worked hard and earned this opportunity. He has an exceptional skill set and I couldn't be prouder of him. It's a privilege to have coached someone who has earned the right to be a professional athlete and have a chance to earn a spot on the Mammoth's roster."
Rich traveled to Ontario, Canada in September to participate in the NLL Player Combine. Despite going undrafted, Rich was offered a contract to practice with the Colorado Mammoth, and fight for his spot on the team's roster. Colorado's training camp begins this week and the NLL opens its season on December 8.
"I almost can't believe it," Rich continued. "Southern Virginia has helped immensely in the pursuit of my goals. There are so many people there cheering you on and supporting you in every facet of life.
"I have had the blessing to work with Coach Jason Lamb, who was one of my strongest advocates and has open countless doors for me," Rich said. "The invaluable relationships with professors and friends at SVU has helped get me where I am."
Rich was recruited by Coach Lamb and came to Buena Vista after serving a two-year LDS mission in Guadalajara, Mexico. Shortly after coming to campus he met Southern Virginia women's soccer player Sierra Sorenson. After dating for a few months, they were married in Bountiful, Utah on August 5, 2016.
"Sierra has been my biggest fan and supporter," Rich concluded. "She has been super positive and a driving force for me to want to achieve my best in all aspects. This is kind of her dream now too and I'm grateful she's with me on this journey."