Rich D’Andrea was a formidable force protecting the cage during his three years at Peddie, helping the team to a cumulative record of 44–5. At 6 feet 2 inches tall and 185 pounds, D’Andrea created a sizable wall to block incoming shots reaching 80–90 miles 10 yards out. But it was his explosive reflexes, first step towards the ball and stickhandling skills that set him apart from his peers. D’Andrea had all the tools of an elite goalie. He was a leader on the field and a strong communicator for directing the defense, combined with the “attack the ball” mindset to turn saves into instant offense. Peddie Hall of Fame Coach Bob Turco praised his star pupil. “In 40-plus years of coaching, Rich was the only goalie I let be captain, as most could not handle the double pressures.”
D’Andrea set an incredibly high standard of excellence for himself and Peddie lacrosse. And he did not disappoint. He was named a High School All-American during his junior and senior campaigns and twice collected the Dietrich von Schwerdtner Award for Goalie of the Year in New Jersey. At the Spring Sports Banquet, D’Andrea won the Ed Parda Lacrosse Award (2000) for the player who sacrifices personal achievement for the good of the team and the Outstanding Player Award for 2001.
D’Andrea helped turn the tables against archrival Lawrenceville, defeating Big Red in five of six matchups over three years, resulting in two NJISAA Prep A championships and three straight Mid-Atlantic Prep League titles. On May 8, 2000, at Lawrenceville, D’Andrea ascended to the top of his game, making 14 saves in an 8–5 win while holding Big Red to a season-low goal output. In the second half, D’Andrea stopped all but one shot to seal the win. “Rich stymied Lawrenceville all afternoon,” said Turco following the game. “He anticipates well and has a quick stick. That’s why his save percentage is one of the highest around. He’s an All-American in my book.”
Other teams quickly learned how tough it would be to solve D’Andrea. On the Falcons’ journey to the 2001 undefeated season (16–0), D’Andrea and company held opponents to single digits in arguably the program’s most challenging schedule. Peddie celebrated an 8–7 win over future Tournament of Champions, Moorestown and a 10–9 conquest of Top 10 Bridgewater in two epic battles. “D’Andrea was in the zone and made saves no one had any business to stop,” Turco said.
D’Andrea went on to play at Georgetown University, where he made four straight NCAA Division I Tournament Quarterfinal appearances and twice earned Big East All-League goalie honors. He captained the Hoyas his senior year and was a two-time recipient of the Unsung Hero Award.
Rich D’Andrea belongs in the Hall of Fame, for he is truly one of the most competitive and respected student-athletes that ever played lacrosse at Peddie.