Tom Decker Scores 100th Goal for Oberlin Lacrosse Team


Courtesy of Maggie Balderstone

Tom Decker takes a shot on Bailey Field against Allegheny College, earning his 100th college career goal.

Scoring more than 100 goals in his four years, fourth-year men’s lacrosse player Tom Decker is nearing the end of an incredible college career. Despite having one season cut short due to COVID-19, his triple-digit goal was made against Allegheny College on Wednesday, April 20. Only six alumni have ever reached this rigorous milestone. 

This year Decker has proven himself to be a powerhouse for the Yeomen, helping them achieve a 5–3 standing in the conference and an 11–4 record overall; the last time the Yeomen have done this well was back in the ’80s. This season Decker already scored 33 goals. At an away game against DePauw University earlier this month, Decker scored 5 out of the 14 goals. He’s already catching up to his statistics from 2018 and 2019, and is on a trajectory to break his personal records.

Head coach of the men’s lacrosse team Ryan Polak belives that Decker is a standout player not only because of his achievements on the field, but also the positive attitude that he brings to the overall team. 

“Tom is a joy to watch and coach; he’s a natural goal scorer and has solidified his name in the history books this spring,” Polak said. “He currently sits at 6th all-time in career goals, 9th all-time in career assists, and 8th all-time in career points. But while these are great individual achievements Tom has made, Tom would tell you that he could not have done it without his teammates. Tom takes the field each day looking to compete with his teammates and have fun; you can tell by the way he plays he loves the game.”

Indeed, Decker cites his teammates as an essential part of his career. During his first two years on the team, he looked up to the seniors as role models. Now a senior himself, he hopes to fulfill that same part for the underclassmen. Decker doesn’t see himself as a verbal leader, but rather a leader by example, bringing intensity and lightheartedness to the game. This season, he’s glad to have others besides himself scoring for the team. 

“We got guys like [first-year] Niko Maheras, [fourth-year] Michael Muldoon, [and third-year] Max Cha who will also put up huge numbers for us and be really great guys at the same time,” Decker said. “It’s not one or two guys on the team who are really scoring a lot of goals, which has kind of been the case in the past.”

Tom’s teammates, second-years John McDonell and Aidan Loh both look up to Decker’s achievements and aspire to be as great of teammates as him. 

“Decker is a phenomenal player but an even better teammate [who] cares about every single member of the team,” McDonell said.

“Tom has made one of the greatest positive impacts on the culture as well as on the field for our team,” said Loh. “He’s a great player and obviously one of the best in the program’s history.”  

Although Decker may stay humble about his remarkable athletics career, Polak speaks highly of Decker’s admirable character and knows that he’s an irreplacable player for his crew.

“Oberlin lacrosse will miss Tom dearly — he is a once-in-a-lifetime-type player, and we’d like to thank him for everything he has given to the program,” Polak said. “Off the field as a person, Tom is one of the most genuine people I have met. Tom always makes time for others, he shows kindness and compassion to all on campus. It’s the way Tom carries himself each day that impresses you as he is showing our team — especially the younger players — what it takes to be a successful student-athlete at Oberlin. We all need to be a little more like Tom.”