By Xander Swain
On Aug. 28, Thomas Vaesen was sitting in the Montevallo media room with lacrosse Head Coach Jason Lange during the National Lacrosse League draft. It’s only the first round of the draft, yet the room was full of tension surrounding Vaesen. He had talked to all the teams in the league, but he didn’t want to get his hopes up.
In the media room, Vaesen heard his name called and shared a smile with Lange. Across campus, Vaesen’s teammates had erupted into cheers. The Buffalo Bandits selected Vaesen as the 14th pick in the first round of the 2021 NLL draft.
Vaesen said, “It was a feeling that is so tough to put into words. It’s something that I’ve spent majority of my life working toward, and to have it turn into a reality and hear my name called in the first round was something truly spectacular.”
Lacrosse wasn’t Vaesen’s first sport. He originally played hockey until he discovered box lacrosse. Box lacrosse is different from the lacrosse that most people are familiar with. Rather than playing it outside, box lacrosse is played indoors on an adjusted hockey rink.
Once Vaesen began playing box lacrosse, he said, “I fell in love with the game immediately, and eventually took on lacrosse as my full-time sport.”
Originally from Victoria, BC, Canada, Vaesen came to Montevallo to be part of the inaugural lacrosse team. He also said, “I liked the campus, the classroom environment and sizes…Plus Coach Lange is an excellent recruiter.”
Since coming to Montevallo, Vaesen has significantly contributed to the Montevallo Men’s Lacrosse team. For the last three seasons he has led the team in goals and ranked 10th in the NCAA in goals per game.
Named the Peach Belt Conference Player of the Year last season, Vaesen also helped lead the team to their first conference championship in program history.
He said, “It was one of the things I came here to do, and to see it happen in my senior year was another incredible feeling.”
Head Coach Jason Lange said, “Thomas has been a great ambassador not only for our lacrosse program but for the University of Montevallo as a whole. Thomas is a tireless worker who is always trying to improve on a daily basis.”
Lange continued, “On the field Thomas has really developed his game from a pure goal scorer to someone who takes pride in getting others around him involved…I’m extremely proud of Thomas and am looking forward to his last year at UM as well as following his career in the NLL.”
Vaesen plans on finishing his graduate year with the Montevallo Men’s Lacrosse team while he finishes his MBA. After this year, he will return home to continue to play lacrosse while waiting for pre-season camp to move to Buffalo and begin his new career.