Athlete of the Week: Keegan Khan

Greg Welsh Co Sports Editor

At 6’1” and 175 lbs., Villanova’s Keegan Khan is not the most physically imposing presence. He won’t bully his way to the net, nor will he dazzle with highlight reel goals. Nevertheless, the sophomore attacker commands the attention of opponents and spectators alike with his ability to play smart and his knack for quickly changing directions behind the goal. 

Despite leading Delbarton High School in Morristown, NJ to a state championship with 47 goals and 70 points in his senior season and recording team highs in both goals (26) and assists (24) at Hill Academy during a post graduate year, Khan did not receive exceptional interest from college coaches. 

“I’m skinny now, but I was even skinnier and smaller in high school, so a lot of people overlooked me for that reason,” Khan said.  

Villanova was not one of the schools to discount Khan’s talent, and during his freshman season for the Wildcats a year ago, Khan proved that they had made the right decision in extending an offer to him. 

In a road game against Marquette last March, Khan picked up seven goals in a performance that stood out in a year full of success. He was named Big East Freshman of the Year and was given All-Big East second team honors as Villanova made their third NCAA Tournament in school history.

With 30 goals and 15 assists in his freshman campaign, Khan tied for second on the team in points and started all 16 of the team’s games. He credits two of last season’s seniors, Christian Cuccinello and Danny Seibel, with helping him learn how to play at Villanova. 

Khan is one of many lacrosse stars to emerge from Hill Academy, an independent school in the Toronto suburbs which specializes in preparing both lacrosse and hockey players for success at the next level. The school was founded in 2006 by professional lacrosse star, Brodie Merrill, and his family. Merrill, a two time All-American during his college career at Georgetown, is regarded as one of the best defenders to play the game. His school has quickly become a lacrosse power house, winning high school national championships each of the last two seasons. Khan, who also played hockey in high school himself, took advantage of his year at Hill to mature and develop in preparation for the college game. 

“It [Hill Academy] is just like IMG Academy but a little grittier, Khan said. “There’s a lot of heart up there. Basically every single kid that plays at The Hill goes on to play in college somewhere.” 

Now, with the 2019 season just getting under way, Khan and the rest of the Wildcats are hoping for even more success. 

“Hopefully this year, we will be able to get over the hump in the Big East tournament and win that semifinal game and get to play for the Big East championship”, Khan said. “Along with that, we hope to not only make the NCAA Tournament again but to get the program’s first win”. 

The ‘Cats’ quest is off to a good start. After dropping their opening game to Penn St. in a disappointing effort, the team bounced back in a big way by knocking off the defending national champion, and number one ranked, Yale this past weekend. Khan netted three goals in what was a statement win early in the season for the program. 

“We had two weeks to get ready for Yale, and we really prepared hard and practiced hard,” Khan said. Come game day, we were ready to go and we knew what we needed to do to get the win”. 

Now 1-1 on the season, the Wildcats hope a Khan led attack will help the team continue their climb to national prominence.