NCLL 25th Anniversary
Annapolis, MD-The National College Lacrosse League announced today as part of the league's 25th Anniversary, 2015 will begin All Conference and All America Teams for Division I and II. Each team will include ten total positions of one goal, three defensemen, three attackmen and three midfielders. Each conference will be awarded a 1st Team , 2nd Team and Honorable Mention  for All Conference. Beginning with the team previews in mid-January, the NCLL will also unveil its' new website and pre-season Top 20s as well as players to watch.

NCLL announces Living Legacy Award

Norio Endo Living Legacy Award

 

Annapolis, MD- The National College Lacrosse League announced today the creation of the Norio Endo Living Legacy Award. The award is established in recognition of the passion and tireless efforts for growing the sport of lacrosse for a common cause of competition, sportsmanship and friendship. Norio Endo, a retired U.S. Navy captain and decorated Vietnam War veteran was instrumental in popularizing the sport of lacrosse in Japan and co-founded the Japanese Lacrosse Association. The Endo Legacy Award is given in remembrance of his fortitude, foresight and visionary skills contributing to the JLA’s success with over 15,000 current members to become a competing member in the World Lacrosse Championships held every four years. From an initial group of 10 lacrosse players in 1987, there are currently over 80,000 active players in Japan (3rd most populous behind USA and Canada). The NCLL is honored to be able to recognize Norio’s vision and spirit by creating the Endo Living Legacy Award, given to that school’s lacrosse President who has done much to establish a standard of excellence within that university’s athletic department.. The 1st recipient will be announced Monday February 2nd at www.ncllax.com.

 

 

For more information on Norio Endo: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/norio-endo-navy-veteran-and-lacrosse-booster-dies-at-78/2013/02/18/d533ef90-79d7-11e2-9a75-dab0201670da_story.html


Empire Conference Division II Team Preview

EMPIRE CONFERENCE

Division II Team Previews

 

 

ALBANY COLLEGE- Akin to adding gasoline to an open flame, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS) enters the Empire East Conference with a full year under their belt and a highly competitive roster to boot. Explosive in 2014, the Panthers jumped on the chance to fell #13 Vermont, #20 Albany and Oneonta. Competing vs #15 Syracuse and DII #7 RPI were the only blemishes of note as Albany College heads into 2015 with an attitude and swagger with those experiences well in the rear view mirror. Not content to just compete within the conference, the Panthers are aiming to be the best team on campus and atop the conference leaderboard come May. Judging by the successful fall, Albany College will not be able to sneak up on anyone anymore. In the juggernaut conference of the Empire East, many hurdles await as the conference claims the #1 SOS nationally. Winning face-offs was a major strength last year for Albany College as possession correlated into a high powered offense, which was often difficult to get the ball away from. Combining at the faceoff X, freshman Nick Stevens and junior Matt Simpson will be the catalyst on groundball work. Continuity will remain supreme as both the attack and midfield starting units return. Midfielders Bryan Dyer (Jr.), Matt Morgia (Jr./Captain), and Liam McGuey (Soph.) have the additional support from several freshmen as the attack will be directed by senior Nathan Wood and junior Jacob Potts. Cody Kempen’s ability in net is unquestioned and provides a calming influence as the Panthers Jake Pignone patrols down low.

 

BINGHAMTON- The only constant from their ‘13 5-6 season and Binghamton’s sensational undefeated run to the National Championship were the Bearcats one goal victories of the same 11-10 score versus rival Cortland. In all other areas, Binghamton was clearly not the same squad that had ended 2013 by losing the last three of four contests. It wasn’t even evident out of the gates in ’14 when the Bearcats captured their first win of the season by 12 and then upset #11 Cornell 11-9, who just a year earlier had completed their own undefeated regular season. However with three additional wins by a combined four goals, it confirmed what Binghamton could do as the ‘Cats would go on to score almost 12 GPG while the defense kept opponents at bay in surrendering a paltry 6 GAA. Regardless of whether Binghamton is the reigning or defending champion, don’t expect a let-down as many key cogs return to keep the machine running on all cylinders. No more evident than on attack, the Division II Team of the Year returns a workforce in juniors Nick Leone, Griffin Rock and Luke Rettinger. All returning starters, this attack unit is more than capable of adding onto their sophomore numbers. Add in transfer Danny Carolan, who can play offense anywhere, and hopes are high in the ultra-competitive Empire Conference. The midfield corps will be led by junior standouts Blake Koch and Anthony Naso, as freshman Anthony Sala and Brad Howes will likely contribute heavily once the season fires up. Not to be outdone, expect twin senior pillars Josh Potter and Edward Puncar to begin where they left off as the Bearcats defense is stingy as they come. With transfer Ryan Swanson and LSM Kevin Osman given the green light, look for more transition goals in unsettled situations as takeaways turn in scoreboard highlights.

 

BROCKPORT- Give Brockport credit as they have been steadily completing their homework. Prior to their entrance into the Empire West, the Golden Eagles appropriately competed versus their potential conference member. With a senior laden team to boot, Brockport also realized that success can fade just as quickly if there isn’t enough depth to step up after graduating starters move on. On both fronts, Brockport has passed with flying colors. With founders Matt Robinson and Steve Hilsdorf at the helm, expect this year’s edition to be well prepared for the rigors of conference play as opponents will not take lightly to this new found rivalry. Ending the fall campaign undefeated provides hope for the spring, but Brockport is keenly aware that it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish and by all accounts, there will be bumps in the road in the toughest SOS conference in the league, but Brockport wouldn’t want it any other way. To be the best, you have to play the best and if you give all that you can, Brockport is willing to let the chips fall where they may.

 

CLARKSON- With almost 90% of underclassman starting for the first time, Clarkson took some hits late in the season but also claimed an overtime win to set the stage for Empire Conference competition heading into this spring. A respectable .500 fall campaign adds credence to the maturation factor of several key players. In the process of Building a Program 2.0, Clarkson bids farewell to founders Tim Graham and Ryan Dempsey but if all goes according to the original plan, the Golden Knights will keep progression moving forward. Even so, Clarkson will still need to rely on several incoming freshman, but the program has enough depth and experience to sprinkle in a few rather than majority.  In goal, freshman Jack DeMeyers brings an expectation of excellence as an accomplished all-around athlete and winning as he led Pal Mac High School to the Section C Championships. With classmate Charley Reagan (Bow High School, Hooksett, NH) and returning junior Nick Schmacher (Pittsford, Pittsford, NY) fronting DeMeyers’ first taste of college competition, Clarkson should be much improved. On offense, senior attackman Andy Milne and junior midfielder Harrison Kay’s veteran leadership will be counted on to keep the young guns focused and aiming for high percentage shots. Their experience late in games when the score is in doubt will be critical to keeping the offensive stable on the same page. Kay will count on sophomores Tom Sarles (Duxbury, Duxbury, MA) and transfer John Gell to form a potentially prolific midfield unit. On attack, expect Milne to quickly bring either Matt Hayward (South River High School, Edgewater, MD-2014 4A Maryland Champion) or Gavin Hambrose (Shawnee High School, Medford, NJ-2014 17-2 record) into the fold along with talented returner Nick Brueske (Kettle Moraine, Wales, WI). Hambrose, for his part, could see playing time at both midfield and attack.

 

OSWEGO- Hopes are high as Oswego returns a solid foundation and adds impact players to shore up integral areas in the ultra-competitive Empire Conference. Leading scorer Jon Ross returns as a junior with a wicked shot to form a dynamic duo with senior playmaker Matt Sheffer who is also the leading point returner for assists. Joining Sheffer in the midfield corps is sophomore Pat O’Reilly who will look to add to his freshman campaign with newcomer Baldwinsville teammates Matt Brennan and Dan Thomas. Brennan and Thomas for their part could see significant playing time right out of the gate. Freshman Joe Delucia (Dryden HS, NY), ‘14 2nd Team All Section will be an instrumental player as he continues to open up his game. Another freshman, Shane Dupe is expected to step right in with junior Drew Swenson to anchor a revamped defensive unit.

 

ROCHESTER- Founded in 2012, Rochester has notched at least one win in each of the past two years.  With a solid corp of returning players and a new Head Coach on board, the Bees will be in line to further that progress in 2015. The good news begins with netminder Michael Dieringer, who can hold his own when counted on; bad news is that Dieringer enters his final season. For now, expect a combination of Edward Ham, Moiz Khan, Kevin Kuyk and Mark Ninomiya to provide stability on defense while working on new schemes under Coach Korn.  With the cup overflowing on attack, don’t be surprised if the offense replaces midfield and attackman labels with shortsticks as matchups will be an integral aspect of creating offensive flow. To that end, look for the attack to run through returnees Gregory Shinaman and Shahyan Rheman while Mark Palmeire will be a major player in the midfield. In a likely combination of offensive sets, several newcomers will get a great opportunity to contribute immediately: included in that cast is Ryan Bowen, Alex Balatori and Alex Heilizer.

 

ST. BONAVENTURE- Factoring in their ’13 winless campaign and dropping their 1st game from a year ago, many pundits could have written off St. Bonaventure. In a complete 360 that reversed their course, the Bonnies ended ’14 on a four game win streak, while averaging 10 GPG and giving up just over 4.1 GAA. Playing with a renewed vigor and a sense of urgency enabled St. Bonaventure to not only complete the most successful season in school history, but also provide a spring board for 2015. With a trio of capable seniors in Captains Joe Battaglia and Matt Nesbitt, look for Brandon Deady to also provide a healthy dose of offensive firepower as the Bonnies set their sights on moving up the food chain. If the fall is any indication, expect the offense to carry their weight as explosive sophomores Joe Hanna and Pat McMahon return on attack. Scoring over double digits in half of their spring victories, Coach Nephew’s squad will also be boosted by newcomers Ethan Appleton (A) and Tyler Morel (A/M). Two other sophomores that will be counted on heavily are defenseman Kelsey Gordinier and LSM Joe Colligan, with freshman Sean Stark looking to add his name to the mix.

 

 


Deep South Conference Previews

 

DEEP SOUTH CONFERENCE

Division II Team Previews

 

FURMAN- Furman joins the Deep South Conference with fellow new arrivals in Mercer, Western Carolina and North Georgia to complete a six member conference with founding members Mississippi State and UT-Chattanooga.Captains for the Paladins inaugural campaign include sophomores in midfielder Tom Bennett (Calvert Hall, MD) and defenseman Chase Merkel (Severna Park HS, MD). Furman will look to fellow classmates Will Buckingham (Landon, MD), Connor Lynch (Landon, MD) and Mills Pritchard (Highland School, VA) to anchor the defense while the offense will be under the guidance of Bennett, Travis Giarratana (Boca Raton HS, FL) and Gordon Abercrombie (Worcester Prep, MD). While young, the team possesses an extensive array of experience and high lacrosse knowledge as evidenced by their backgrounds and high competitive level. Both sides of the ball will benefit from the contributions of a very enthusiastic freshman class. Stepping in to plug a major gap, sophomore Jack Zuckerman (Orlando HS, FL) gets the nod in goal to lead the team into unchartered waters. When its’ all said and done, look for the Paladins to raise the bar as their high energy level will only get higher as the season progresses.

 

MISSISSIPPI STATE-- Mississippi State posted double digit GPGs over the past four years as their offense was explosive with possession. Losing six quality players might be of concern, but the Bulldogs have plenty of talent left to carry on that tradition. As a Founding Five member of the Deep South Conference, Mississippi State will get a chance to compete versus several new conference teams that bring a varied style of play to the table. Playing MCLA Arkansas and Valdosta State will also be a barometer of the Bulldogs depth and tenacity as evidenced by their fall ball victory over arch-rival Ole Miss. Led by goalie Michael Wallin (Soph.) and a defensive unit of Kyle Cupples (Sr.), Joes Escalante (Soph.) and Eric Mahler (Sr.), the Bulldogs will again play a factor for best in conference. Freshmen Drew Bethea and Josh Beck are good enough to earn playing time early as the defense will look to improve upon their GAA from ’14. Dominic Marinari (Jr.) and Nick Zajowski (Sr.) form a tight nucleus as newcomer Tim Spaulding could fill out a potential 1st midfield unit. Senior Ben Bradley returns for a fourth and final season to carry the flag on attack and will likely be joined by incoming Drew Latini, Justin Masinko, or Nick Toscano. Bradley can do it all, but with the talent on board, will not have to carry the load. The roster includes the most lacrosse players in program history as Mississippi State has made significant progress in what hopes to be back to back winning seasons and another crack at the conference championship.

 

NORTH GEORGIA- Entering the Deep South Conference, North Georgia will have its hands full as the roster is filled with plenty of athletes but of differing skill level. If the fall was an indication, the Saints are not to be taken lightly though and will only add to the tradition that is the DSC, whereby games are decided by the slimmest of margins. Overhauling every aspect of the program, President John Murphy, VP Nick Ogle, treasurer David Grenader and secretary Colin Marney finally get a chance to test their mettle on the field. And if the team plays as hard as they work, this spring will be one to remember.

 

UT-CHATTANOOGA- While the Deep South Conference has undertaken some fundamental changes, the Mocs from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga have remained the constant. With three consecutive conference championships under their belt, UTC has also undertaken fundamental changes from within as evidenced by their one goal win over MCLA Division I Alabama, a team the UTC seniors had lost to as freshmen by a score of 24-6. Losing four starters doesn’t help, but the Mocs return plenty of talent and game experience to once again be the team to beat. Sophomore Nathan Ballard will have the enviable job of replacing three year starter Ryan Jennings in net, but all signs point to another Mocs game changer taking the reign. Returning over 80 points on attack, look for the trio of Nick Taylor (4,10/Sr./Farragut, TN-Captain), Luke Tanner (32,9/Sr./Franklin HS,TN-Captain) and Austin Watters (20,4/Soph./Coppell HS, TX) to work like a well-oiled machine in overdrive. Scoring double digits in all seven of their victories from ’14, UTC’s offense rebounded from ’13 to post 11.0 GPG after averaging just over 9 GPG. Considering the Moc’s ’12 output of 13.72 GPG, sky is the limit as the offense returns the majority of its firepower. Even with the toughest SOS in program history, all signs are trending up. Part of that optimism resides in the midfield, where Calvin Fluhr (Baylor HS, TN) accounted for almost a quarter of the teams’ goals on their way to another Elite 8 run. Finishing with a total of 28 goals and 11 assists, the sophomore captain can expect to see a lot more pressure from LSM’s but will have very capable teammates to keep up the pace. Classmate Brady Dixon (Mount Julien HS, TN) will look to expand on his 7,3 production from a year ago and will get a chance to contribute  much more often in Coach Zach Taylor’s offensive schemes. More time will also be awarded to Jared Murillo (2-0) and Sean Hubbard (9 GBs) as well as to freshmen David Gerity (Bergen Catholic, NJ) and Sam Mullaney (Brentwood HS, TN). The only Achilles Heel in the Mocs fantastic runs is a 0-8 record when giving up double digit goals over the last three years. Culpable on both sides of the field, the offense and defense will have to be on the same page to overturn that stat. Senior Captain Adam Harbin (McCallie School, TN) will be tasked with that undertaking as sophomore Pat McGrory (Brentwood HS, TN) and LSM Ron MCMillen return with anticipated starters in freshmen LSM Clay Oliver (Baylor HS, TN-All State) and Evan Craig (Baylor HS, TN-All State). At the faceoff X, expect to see a three man rotation as good as they come in junior Este Lucio (52%/Norwest Whitfield, GA) and Hubbard (47%) as Mullaney steps up to several roles in collegiate competition.

 

WESTERN CAROLINA- Western Carolina enters the Deep South Conference with a 15 game slate that includes the usual suspects but also adds in a variety of OOC opponents and independent teams in North Carolina. Diving headfirst in what will no doubt be an exciting and entertaining spring, the Catamounts have one of the most aggressive pre-season practice plans to prepare for the high level of competition. Entering the great unknown that is the DSC, with the addition of four new programs, Western Carolina will also compete against Howard University (Chesapeake Conference), Hampton University (Tidewater Conference), Marshall (Midwest South Conference), UNC-Asheville, UNC-Greensboro, Laurel and MCLA Montreat. Using the Catamounts fall as a springboard, all systems are a go as the ‘Cats proved their mettle in anticipation of their upcoming inaugural spring when competing with a full roster. The initial roster carries a 25 man squad and if WCU can stay healthy, a successful spring is available for the taking. Penciling in starters has not been easy as the Catamounts have a plethora of talented midfielders in: senior Luke Hanner, juniors Chris Cleland, Brian Godwin, Tevin Mitchell, Dom Cosenza and Dan DeRocher as well as sophomores Zack Griffin and Zack Kierstead: and freshmen Colin McCormac, Bryan Lozano, Alec Lucas and Jaylon Williams. The attack seems to be set with freshmen Ben Hayes and David Hayes joining veteran Luke Ball to coordinate the offense. Defensively, sophomore Jake Rosemond gets the nod in goal and will have a rotating unit of Christain Gammariello, JoJo Defazio, John Rosser, Kyle Kirby, Dylan Johnson and Spencer Stock to form a solid cast.

 

 

 

 


Liberty Conference Division I Team Previews

LIBERTY CONFERENCE

Division I Team Previews

 

 

PENN- In finishing off a season for the record books, Penn never faltered as the Quakers took over the Liberty and captured its’ 1st Conference Championship in more than 15 years on the way to a 12-4 campaign. Jumping out to an undefeated 4-0 record, Penn went on to finish the regular season on a 6-1 tear, including a thrilling one goal victory over defending champion Rutgers and a title shot at the Beltway Bash. Making it to the Elite 8 after beating perennial power Salisbury under the direction of Head Coach Dom Catapano, the Quakers scored the most points of the season on Navy before falling 19-12 in the National Tournament. Heading into 2015, the radar has been readjusted from New Brunswick to State College as Penn looks to not only return to the Elite 8 but also a deeper run into the history books.  

 

PRINCETON- Princeton has traditionally been one of the most successful teams out of the gate. Last year was no different as the Tigers began 2-0 before falling off the pace in the competitive Liberty Conference. Playing a Top 5 SOS, including OOC foes Loyola, #11 Hofstra and #1 Penn State was commendable but ultimately became the Achilles heel as Princeton surrendered more than 10 GAA over the course of the season; which was reminiscent of 2013’s seven game slide. Following a productive fall season, Princeton is poised to return to the top of the conference with an experienced nucleus of veterans and one of the most athletic and talented freshmen classes in program history. Wearing the black and orange for the first time, the Class of ‘18 adds much needed depth to a program that has more years in the National Tournament than not and looks to improve up their 2.0 GPG average against Division I opponents from ’14. Adding attackman Kenric Hoegler and defensemen Geoff Vrla brings a breath of fresh air as both grad students expect to win and have the talent and maturity to blend in newcomers with the returning talent. The Tigers are fortunate to have a healthy competition in net as senior Tony Juliano and sophomore Jose de Alba seek the full time starter label and will be instrumental to keeping opponents well below the Tigers’ double digit GAA. When this happens, look for Princeton’s hot start to extend well into April and possibly beyond.

 

RUTGERS- Starting out 2-2, Rutgers kicked it into high gear to earn a National Tournament Bid, advance to the Elite 8 and claim a Top 10 ranking for the fourth consecutive season. Earning double digit wins marked a historical 1st as the Class of ‘14 completed their career in stellar fashion finishing 55-14 after inheriting a program that hadn’t had a winning season in eight years. Fortunately for the Scarlet Knights, plenty of talent returns to keep Rutgers running at full throttle. Brandyn Merkel returns as a major factor in goal as he was integral not only throughout the season with a .613 sv% but played a key role in the Knights 3-2 record in one goal games with losses to Elite 8 Penn and National Champion Penn State while beating both Top 10 Hofstra and Maryland in OT. The Knights return junior Bryan Wild and welcomes freshman Gerard Arnold from Chaminade HS to a defense that held opponents to a regular season 6 GAA. With senior Zach Witter commandeering the offense, expect to see plenty of new faces such as freshmen Conner Parke (Monroe HS) or John Krayowski (East Brunswick HS) be in good hands as Rutgers return to glory is far from over.

 

VILLANOVA- Highlighted by the greatest season in program history in 2010, Villanova’s current seniors have only heard but not yet tasted a winning season. Losing twenty seniors doesn’t help, but the Wildcats could be on the verge of setting the record straight. With key cogs in FOGO Nick Donahue and netminder Nick Sapnar, Villanova returns a hungry nucleus in Tim Wilt, Gorr Sahakian, Sean Whiteman and John McGoldrick.  If the ‘Cats can get out of the gates and shake off their tendency of past poor starts, it won’t be long before the leadership of Captains Jamie Nugent, Tony Silva and AJ Sanuinetti shine through to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

 

 

 


Keystone Conference Preview

KEYSTONE CONFERENCE

Division I Team Previews

 

PENN STATE- In one of the greatest endeavors ever in league history, the Penn State Class of 2014 blazed a trail into unchartered territory in capturing a sixth Frederick Cup as the blue and white repeated as National Champions. Completing a four year campaign of 53 wins for a winning percentage of 88%, the Nittany Lions staked claim to best program ever as "one for the thumb” became "on to the next one”.  Reminiscent of their 2013 title run in which Penn State claimed a rubber match victory over Maryland in the Final Four, the 2014 edition would take it one step further in claiming back to back titles in their 14-8 win over Navy in the finale, PSU’s only blemish in the regular season. Over the past seven years, the Lions have never lost more than two games in a single season and turned the corner to compete in four consecutive Final Fours from 2011-2014 as well as lay claim to several Fall Brawl and Beltway Bash Championships (including the last two). With a stacked and loaded roster, the ’15 spring is shaping up to be another epic season as the Lions continue a Top 5 SOS tradition while adding several powerhouse programs from both divisions. Among the returning are the past two Final Four MVPs, Luke Thompson and Ben Mank, both capable of taking over a game at a moment’s notice or filling in to make the offense go as needed. Senior Sal Sassano completes this dangerous attack and is just as deadly in multiple statistical categories. Planning on utilizing multiple midfield units that are equally as strong, Penn State has an outstanding five lines at their disposal to throw out versus spring competition. Scouting will be of no use for opponents as the midfield lines present a logistical nightmare as the only way to stop the Lions’ offense will be to play a fundamentally sound 6 v 6 defense and hope for the best. Leading the charge, seniors Jamie Froehlich, Brandon Ament, Jimmy Cushwa, and Cole La Pointe return to fill the void of graduated midfielders and leave a mark of their own. Juniors Matt Vincent, Ryan Glass, Sean Higgins, Peter Thiel and Craig Costabile complete another gifted class of note as Penn State’s offense is characterized by unselfish play and a team attitude of getting the job done regardless of who gets the credit. In terms of defensive midfielders, junior LSM Matt Reilly will take charge of the rope unit with seniors Dave Cardile and Mike Russell. Down low, senior Scott Markle commands an experienced unit that includes classmate Dan Marr and John Becker. In net, the Nittany Lions return capable goalies in senior Beau Brady and junior Dave Reiling. And if all goes according to plan, a three peat would be even better as the blue and white play host to the National Tournament in May and a trip to the trophy case is that much shorter.

 

 

KEYSTONE CONFERENCE

Division II Team Previews

 

BLOOMSBURG- Coming into a program and playing through a winless season can either make or break a teams’ spirit. Fortunately, for Bloomsburg, that experience hardened the Class of 15’s mental fortitude and tenacity. How else to consider that success isn’t built overnight as the Huskies then went on to record a 2-8 record in 2013 and 8-4 tally to set a watermark as competitors in the Conference Championships. Along the way, Bloomsburg rode a 7 game win streak to erase any doubters and could have just as easily been 9-1, if not for three 1 goal losses. That’s a long, long way from the beginning as now the Huskies enter rarified air in national conversations that for over a decade has been reserved for other storied Keystone Conference programs. And with success comes the spoils as newcomers will push the returners for time as competition not only exists on game days, but that competitive spirit lives and breathes in practices as the second team pushes the first in a fight to finish off the job that began as freshman. Pitching two shutouts and giving up a 4.25 GAA, netminder Tim Bruemmer finished with 113 to keep opponents at bay. Never giving up more than 9 goals in a single game, Bruemmer averaged almost 10 saves per game in helping to set the stage for a historic year. Transfer Austin Marshall (Cabrini) will give the starting spot a run for the money in goal as competition breeds excellence should Bruemmer falter. Veterans Keith Bryan and Corey Shirk will add experience and maturity down low as the defensive unit with be tested often in conference play. Expect LSM Dave Flanders to play a key role as his dynamic play in between the lines, on wings and EMD create havoc for opponents. Returning to ignite the offense are Dan Belk (22,18) and Cody Seagrist (8,10): two integral midfielders that quarterback the offense with efficiency depending on game situations. Finishing 17 and 7 on attack from a year ago, Ryan Flanagan is a natural finisher who will be counted on to expand on those statistics to cap another historic run for the ages. Incoming players include attackman Mikey Barrella (Hatboro HS), and midfielders Joey DeCaprio (Emmaus HS), Brandon Ford (Transfer Gwynedd Mercy) and Ty Sager (Spring Grove Area HS). Although far removed from 2012, the history will be ingrained in the newcomers as Bloomsburg has learned to work hard today to prepare for tomorrow’s success, but will always be mindful of how they found the program and don’t want to leave that legacy for anyone else to encounter. No matter what happens, the seniors know they left it better than they found it, but would love to push it as far they possibly can and leave no doubt.

 

CALIFORNIA (PA)- Led by a quartet of instrumental seniors, California University returns one of the largest team rosters in program history after completing its’ first winning season ever. Beginning with the most wins in 2013, the Vulcans completed the next step as several of the founding members remain to finish the task. Competing in the Keystone Three Rivers Conference, California looks to senior Tom Terrel to commandeer a young but able bodied defensive unit that surrendered under 5 GAA in its’ 2014 victories. Senior Frank Guyer leads a capable attack that looks to improve upon its’ 8 GPG as the Vulcans have several underclassmen that will upgrade the offensive output in a move to the front of the pack. In the midfield, seniors Dan Coyne and Michael Detorakis will once again be integral leaders in taking the program higher as Coyne continues to play a major role at the faceoff X and Detorakis seizes the general’s role in mentoring the midfield stable. Junior Tyler Cunningham and freshman Stephen Rippe will get plenty of action as the Vulcans fly ever higher.

 

CARNEGIE MELLON- Making a switch is never easy, but Carnegie Mellon returns enough experience and talent to present problems to their newest conference foes in the Keystone Three Rivers. Located in the heart of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon will get to enjoy the best that western PA has to offer and if things fall into place, expect the Tartans to be in right in the thick of it all heading into the end of the season. With an influx of incredible new talent and a solid core returning, Carnegie Mellon is eager to not only claim their first conference win, but also their first win since 2012. Leading the way on offense are sophomores Gabe Renna (Midfield) and Tyler Reid (Attack). Upperclassmen Esteban Pacheco and Jay Kuvelkar will add quickness and experience to a potentially explosive revamped offense where the Tartans will be looking to push the ball at every opportunity. The defense is anchored by a trio of able bodied underclassmen in Charlie Aguilar, Kincaid Murray and Luke Nealley. Possessing talent and experience on both sides of the field, expect the Tartans to quickly adjust to the rigors of conference play and a welcome addition to the new look Three Rivers Conference.

 

ESU- Don’t be fooled by the past two seasons of .500 at East Stroudsburg. Coming off a 9-3 2012 record, the Warriors proved worthy of their moniker as 2013 & 2014 as the game results could have ended much better than their record indicates. In all of their contests, save two, ESU’s results could have topped ’12 with a bounce here or another groundball there as the Warriors competed tooth and nail across the field all season long. Returning a veteran presence on all sides of the ball, savvy offensive returner Nicholas Stelzman (Allentown Central Catholic, PA) gets another crack at some formidable conference foes and will be joined by a strong corps of midfielders. Eerily reminiscent of Stelzman’s scholastic competition versus Emmaus, one in which his alma mater vanquished in 2012 after claiming their 1st victory in program history, so too must the Warriors stand toe to toe in the Keystone vs. conference power programs. Hardworking senior Steve Larkin (Mahopac HS, NY), shooter Nicholas Chesko (Valley View HS, PA) and feeder Matt Regan return to form a solid midfield core. Larkin is the team’s heart and soul as he hustles between the lines to make the Warriors go, Chesko possesses a keen eye and is a gifted multi-sport athlete, whereas Regan returns from a vicious injury but has the vision to see plays before they develop. Anchored by seniors Kevin McDermott and Daniel Kirkpatrick, the defense will be much improved and welcomes freshman Michael Hartney (Garnett Valley HS, PA) to the mix. Senior netminder Sean Murphy looks to keep honing his skills as a relative newcomer to the sport, but no one would ever know it after watching him compete as the Warriors contest every groundball, shot and faceoff.

 

KUTZTOWN- Losing seven talented seniors from a winning season, Kutztown will be buoyed by a strong nucleus of returning juniors and a successful fall campaign that could have the Golden Bears knocking on the door to the playoffs once again. A hallmark of past success, expect the Kutztown offense to be the wheel that keeps the program moving forward as both Brandon Mattis and Zach Mitchell return to spearhead the midfield. Add classmate Kevin Freitag to the mix, and it’s easy to see why so much is expected from that side of the field. Newcomers Alec Doyle (Attack/Wayne Valley HS) and Ben Youngman (Midfield/Selinsgrove HS) will give the unit extra zest as each brings a different style to complement the veteran strengths. With a power shift transformation in the Keystone, more will be expected from the defense as they continue to improve as evidenced by their three year trend of smaller GAA each spring. Charged with that task will be Joe Schiavo as the lone returning senior as well as keepers Ted Brandes (Jr/Central Dauphin HS) and Kyle Kondraki (Fr/Hershey HS). If one of the goalies starts hot and Schiavo can work in magic with the youngsters, expect to see and hear more good things from the Golden Bears camp come May.

 

LOCK HAVEN- In a season of firsts, Lock Haven enjoyed the most success in program history by finishing 9-5. Not only did the Class of ‘14 win the most games ever, the senior’s also never had a losing season going 5-4 as freshman, 6-3 as sophomores and then 6-4 as juniors: while also celebrating taking down rival foes along the way in successive years for the first time. If the Eagles follow suit, as all intentions indicate, expect to see more of the same in 2015. After losing to Moravian 13-5 in ‘12, Lock Haven came out strong in their 2nd outing of ’13 to grab a 9-3 victory at Moravian. Then after losing to Millersville 7-6, the Eagles doubled up Millersville one week later 14-7 before falling to Slippery Rock 14-8. Last season, LHU grabbed two wins against nemesis Millersville, including an early season 5-0 shutout and a 3-2 victory over rival Bloomsburg. In between a four game and five game winning streak last season, Lock Haven lost four games by a total of six goals as the Eagles competed across conferences and divisions with a vengeance. Ranked #17 to end the season (highest end of season ranking in program history), look for more movement as the season unfolds. With a schedule that favors the bold, LHU will welcome Slippery Rock and Susquehanna to campus as the Eagles look to continue the recent trend. While one goal games were an aberration going 1-3, overall this years’ seniors have a combined 4-4 mark over their three years. A hallmark of success, the defense yielded only 4.2 GAA in the regular season. With Tyler Burton in goal and both Phil Greider and Hunter Greer returning, keeping a tab close to that mark will clearly be in sight. Throw in freshman SSDM Bryce Pruiett, returning from active duty overseas and shots will be hard to come by for opposing offenses. Over the last decade when scoring double digits, the Eagles are 12-0. Expect Brendan Clair and Austin Reichenback, both attackmen, to continue that progression as the team also finished 3-1 in the last four fall scrimmages.  Workhorses in the midfield, Jared Campbell and Kyle Heisey will be joined by newcomers Andrew LeClair and Trever Pastor to boost the hopes of achieving another season of firsts.

 

MILLERSVILLE- After almost a decade of double digit wins, Millersville fell off the pace in ’14 finishing 5-6. Not content to delve into the past, the Marauders know that with a few more bounces their way, a 10-1 season could have been within reach. To this end, expect Millersville to push to the front of the pack as several victories are noteworthy. Winning tight contests against the likes of Bloomsburg, Kutztown and Susquehanna gives credit to what returns in ’15. Most offensive weapons return as the Marauders look to avoid a midseason slump that nearly cost them a chance at the conference championships. Scorer Billy Franks returns to work with playmaker Matt Kratzner as multi-faceted veteran Andy Sweigert evens out the offensive threats. In the mix will be spirited Gunnar Ross and speedster Joe Didusch (Fr.). FOGOs Angel Galindo and Evan Rubin have the uneasy but doable task of playing make it-take it as the offense comes together. Transfer Greg Quillian will add a much needed spark if the ball starts to bounce the other way. Third year starter Tofer brings a steady influence to the net but will need all out efforts from Chris Bohon, Tommy Rodgers and Ryan Eberlie to erase last year’s fall. Freshman Connor McFeely should get a look at close defense or use his rangy ability to take over fulltime as the LSM. And if some of the bounces go the Marauders’ way, the ‘Ville as they call it, will be back.

 

PENN COLLEGE- A model of consistency under the tutelage of Head Coach Lou Allen, Penn College ramps of their strength of schedule with an early spring visit to Chesapeake Conference foes Johns Hopkins and Stevenson after notching another historical first for the program. Relying upon five seniors as the program has progressed each and every year since their arrival, the Wildcats have inched closer and closer to a coveted conference championship bid. In the new power hold of the Keystone Conference, Penn College has scheduled multiple Top 20 teams in an effort to push for a top spot come May. With capable goalies in either Jason Yorston (Sr/59.2% saves/6-3 as a starter) or Chris Stavala (Soph/58.1% saves/2-2 as a starter), expect the defense to be a bright spot as seniors Andrew Baugus and Alex Roese return with junior Mike Betz to hone their overall 4.8 GAA. In games where the Wildcats held their opponent to 7 goals or less, Penn College remained unbeaten at 8-0, when opponents scored 7+, Penn College was 0-5. In three overtime games over the last three seasons, Penn College retained an unblemished undefeated mark of 3-0. Part of this scenario can likely be traced back to the offensive side of the field as the Wildcats philosophy has always been a team game. Fortunately, this year’s edition returns a wealth of not only experienced players but also adds five freshmen that will contribute immediately. Leading scorers can be found on attack as Andrew Zimmer (Sr./13,7) and Rafael Correa (Jr./12,18) can compete with the best. Add in newcomers Andrew Cahall (Garnet Valley HS) and Trevor Shourds (Paul VI HS), and it’s easy to understand why optimism remains high in Williamsport. Nick Judge, (Sr./3,0), Dan Pulinski (Jr./2,3) and Sam Dalley (Soph./6,0) will form the base of the midfield corps and will be counted on to increase their production. With freshmen LSM Garrett Midlarsky (Delaware Valley HS) and Mike Carty (CB West) grabbing groundballs and the addition of Andrew Cooper (Delaware ValleyHS) down low, the Wildcats will have more opportunities than ever on offense while limiting opponents on their own end.

 

PITT JOHNSTOWN- Pittsburgh-Johnstown returns with an overhauled roster that counts the junior class as its core foundation. In terms of numbers, the junior class will form the bulk of the roster, but the success of the season will also come from goalkeeper Tyler Burns and midfielder Marco Corradi, both seniors, as the Wildcats find themselves smack dab in the middle of conference play. With a 4-1 season from 2013 to rely upon, this year’s UPJ edition has the ability to sneak up on higher ranked opponents, if they’re not careful. When this happens, be prepared as the Three Rivers is loaded with potential landmines at every corner. UPJ could easily be one of them as the attack will come in as no names, but will leave as names to replace. Thomas DeGore, Kevin Grimm and Angelo Toscano form the corps of the offense that will need to take the load off of Corradi and be a threat on their own; and in all likelihood, another junior Sam Lawson could fill one of those positions. On defense, expect the sophomore class to contribute as both Nick Mitchell and Brian Betz are expected to be the forces down low in front of Burns or sophomore Webster Burrier.

 

SHIPPENSBURG- Playing seven opponents over the course of four different dates while hosting only once should give a glimpse of the changes within Shippensburg. Just 4-14 overall at home since 2007, the Raiders traditionally are a much better road team. To that end, 2015 will give the best opportunity to highlight the talent and skill of the current edition. Sophomore Ian Kubinak (Berks Catholic HS) and junior Tyler Murkley (Radnor HS) will be tasked with keeping the offensive output consistent as Shippensburg started out with 17 goals in its’ 1st three contests (1-2) while finishing with only 6 in its last three. Junior transfer Tyler Murkley could play a major factor as the Raiders reset their scoring. Midfielder Alex Tuturice (Easton HS) has several roles to choose from as starter/scorer/leader and has several options in his arsenal including freshmen Danny Czerpak (Pottsgrove HS), Corey Drass (Ridley HS) and Niko Kolkka (Plymouth-Whitemarsh HS). Captains Nick Best (Jr./Hempfield HS) and Colid Ward (Sr./Spring Ford HS) provide a fundamental core to the defensive side of the field  as Shippensburg benefits from the addition of transfer Andrew Ambroz and freshman Pete Psomiadis (Pennridge HS).

 

SLIPPERY ROCK-20-3 over the past two seasons gives an overview of the stability at Slippery Rock. While conference teams have been narrowing the gap, Slippery Rock has been able to answer each and every challenge. Save for an OT loss to Robert Morris in 2013, the Pride has not lost to another in-conference opponent in 12 years. Averaging over 12 GPG, Slippery Rock will again be the hunted as teams reload to unleash their offensive firepower on the Pride in an effort to beat them at their own game. With a wealth of talent and experience returning, it might be best to just play keep away as the Pride is as dangerous as ever. Bringing in four more offensive threats provides additional depth for a team already loaded from top to bottom. Junior transfer Nico Summaria will join freshman Janson Doyle (Mountain View HS), Craig Gillen (Chartiers Valley HS) and Joey Blumer (Trinity HS) as incoming players to watch. With Captains Tyler Lutz, Ian Schwan and Jimmy Kucynski at the helm, look for Slippery Rock to bear down to defend its’ reign in the Keystone. Joining Schwan and Kucynski on offense will be Brady Weber (Jr./Kent Roosevelt HS) , Ryan Worsena (Sr./North Allegheny HS) and  Tyler Coleman (Soph./Annapolis Area Christian School). Keeping a bend but don’t break attitude, expect sophomores Alex Durham (Walkersville HS) and Ronnie Richwalls (Pine Richland HS) to be the mortar between the bricks to keep the defense in optimal operating efficiency.

 

 SUSQUEHANNA- With three double overtime games to its credit, Susquehanna proved their mettle immediately as a first year program. Duplicating that success and improving upon their inaugural 9-5 mark will not be easy, but enough talent remains for the Crusaders to again be a threat in the Keystone. Coming away from those OT games at 2-1 provides a glimpse into what makes this young team dangerous. Losing ten seniors, of which six were starters, should not alarm outsiders as Susquehanna played multiple roles in their historic season. Beginning rivalries with Bloomsburg, Millersville, PSU-Altoona and Lock Haven has raised the ante as the Keystone consists of several power programs, none of which takes lightly to being challenged by a newcomer, especially one that has provided instant competition. As expected, the Huskies fall ball was double challenged as opponents were well prepared a second time around and Susquehanna gave the entire roster ample time to earn playing time. When spring rolls around, expect to see new faces but the same effort and intensity to elevate the program to new heights. The backbone of any good defense, seniors Decker Doupe and Nick Staurulakis return in cage as classmate Steve Arhontoulis and LSM Eric White welcome back a healthy Beau Masano to begin anew. Mike Sharer will be expected to jump right in without missing a beat as the defense will look to improve upon the unit’s consistency. The offense, for their part, will have to adopt a Race to Ten as the Huskies were a healthy 5-2 when scoring 8+ goals on their way to the Conference Championships. Senior midfielder Anthony DePaola will be counted on heavily to achieve that goal as he returns a wealth of experience to an offense that will rely on several new faces. Starters from that group should include Nolan Robertson (M/North Warren HS), Greg Peil (M/Kittatinny HS), Matt Buckey (A/Downingtown HS) and Steve Viegas (A/Sparta HS).

 

 

WAYNESBURG STATE- After completing a successful sophomore campaign with the first wins in school history, Waynesburg made significant strides in finishing off a 4-1 season before making the jump to the Three Rivers Keystone Conference. With plenty of athletes to choose, look for Head Coach Chris Kellner (4-4, 3rd season) to keep the offense in high gear as the Bees averaged a healthy 12.5 GPG in their four game winning streak. Both leading scorers return in attackman Taylor Koncen (Jr./25,10) and midfielder Warrens Remmy (Sr./12,5) as running mate Brandon Glenn (6,5) also added to the revamped look in 2014. Add in newcomer Jesse Levier (Pine Richland HS,PA) to the mix for a potentially explosive combination with a stable of senior workhorses in Dan Mahon, Colin Roble, Joseph Kondash and Cam Allen. As if that isn’t enough, Waynesburg also boasts Dom Ciaramella, Kaleb Williams, Brandon Glenn, and Abu Kaba for additional depth in the midfield lines. At any time, Coach Kellner will utilize several of dodgers to assist the attack as Koncen is joined by rangy junior Eric Burnett and freshman JaShawn Smith. Standing in goal with a 6.4 GAA, junior Jordan Rode will be expected to follow up on his stellar sophomore year as his GAA dropped to 4.75 in those four wins from a year ago. In front of Rode, look for returners Derek Hamilton and Ryan Mayfield to be joined by freshmen Chris Clinton and Chad Neary as junior LSM Kyle Cline works his magic between the lines turning groundballs into goals.


Chesapeake Conference Previews

 

CHESAPEAKE CONFERENCE

Division I Team Previews

 
DELAWARE- Returning twelve top notch seniors only scratches the surface of what Delaware has in store for the upcoming season. From one end of the field to the other, the Hens’ will be difficult to deal with as UD returns eagerly to erase memories of the past two seasons. Bookending their freshman campaign that culminated with a run to the National Championship around two 2-6 seasons, the Class of ’15 would like nothing better than to end their careers with how it all started. In goal, Connor Borchers returns as the leading candidate to start the revolution as freshman Logan Cotter will provide stiff competition when called upon. Any shots that do get by will be hard to come by as Eero Dinkeloo and Brian Lowe will start down low as CJ Myer works his magic as the LSM. Pulling from a deep talent pool, freshmen Chris Martel, Alex Willin and Garrett Becker are all expected to contribute to the turnaround as Michael McLaughlin will earn time either down low or up top. A bright spot throughout the years has been the work of the faceoff unit and Ryan Kiernan will see to it that the Hens remain committed to winning possession after every goal. In tandem, expect to see talented seniors Steve Jackolski, Wes McDowell and Chris Woodruff welcome freshman Steven Grant, Nicholas Gruwell and Max Vanegas to the midfield and will look to a bevy of others, such as Jeff Flood, to raise the output to keep the offense on track. One of the more competitive positions involves attack, as Delaware has a slew of offensive weapons awaiting their chance to gather vital playing time. Wily veterans Tyler Dimes, Paul Pirozzi, Mark Tappan, and Quinn Stewart are important wheels in the Hens’ offensive machine, but don’t be surprised if underclassmen Logan Aunon, Andrew Kay or Matt Garrabrant work their way into the starting lineup.

 

NAVY- Few words have a worse connotation when used inappropriately then the word elite. As teams add that moniker to their names and it becomes more commonplace, it greatly diminishes its’ value. It’s a word that should be extremely hard to come by, a word so valued that it should be designated for only the top 5% of the best of the best, something akin to Top Gun. It’s not a word that Navy speaks or prints anywhere on apparel or an attitude of arrogance, instead it adequately describes the winningest team on the Yard and is a by-product of what the Sleddawgs hold so dear. That tradition can be traced back to the 1994 National Championship game, when Navy’s 1st edition set the bar to compete in the last game of the year, each and every year, always, especially on Sunday. This season will be no different under the tutelage of Coach Lawrence Goldstein who enters his 20th year roaming the sidelines. Navy doesn’t expect to go undefeated, like the ’95 Navy edition did en route to their 1st of four titles. Teams have beaten Navy, even in the last game of the year, like West Virginia in ‘94, or Penn State a year ago. Since 2008, only five teams though have earned a W vs. the Midshipmen: Salisbury, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and Penn State.  Salisbury also pulled off the trifecta in 2008 winning three times in that season alone. And guess what happened: each and every year after, without fail, Navy repaid the favor. Coming off bookend losses to start and end ’14 to Virginia and Penn State, the upcoming season will surely be entertaining to say the least as Navy’s entire roster has never been knocked out of the National Tournament. Looking to secure one for the thumb after claiming the Frederick Cup as National Champions in 1995, 1996, 2011 and 2012, will be no easy undertaking as other juggernauts await and judging by the depth of the roster and the experience across all classes, both practices and games will be at an extremely high level. Starting eight seniors highlights the fact that another set is right behind them as the Mids graduated a stellar cast of eleven seniors, of whom six were starters. Jake Sanborn gets the nod in goal and will have several returnees to turn to in John Henrich (Jr./Gilman School, MD), John Dillon (Sr./Westhill, NY) and Joe Carbone (Sr./St. Paul’s, MD). Senior SSDM’s Will Cranford (John Carroll, MD) and Jake Fish (Scripps Ranch, CA) join LSM’s Patrick Gough (Battlefield High, VA ) and Matt Washington (Hill School, PA) to set up a stout starting defensive unit top to bottom. Add in sophomore LSM Trevor Diamon and freshman defenseman Andrew Kane and the defense will have to be on its’ toes as plenty of talent waits in the wings. Known to carry several outstanding keepers, 2015 is no different as freshmen Cole Oliver (Bishop Kelly High, Idaho) and Zach Skirpan (Pine-Richland High, PA) will make sure the defense doesn’t miss a beat when the opportunity arises.  Among the 30+ goals and 30+ assists that return in the midfield, the senior trio of Alex Clements (Franklin High, MD), Max Chomic (Winter Park, FL) and Nik Thompson (Westminster School, CO) are as dangerous as any out there. Although the mid unit can run all day, junior Gil D’Albora looks to get plenty of action as will the freshmen trio of Logan Dyer (West Orange High, FL), Nate Bermel (Brookline High, MA) and Connor Bailey (Trinity High School, PA). If there is one place where there are almost too many choices, then Navy is simply loaded at attack. Junior Mark Brashears (Broadneck HS, MD) returns as the leading scorer on the unit with 25g, 6a but seniors Grady Weber (Wantagh, NY) and Adam Wydra (Allentown Central Catholic, PA) bring back 20 points apiece and can be more than deadly. More weapons exist in seniors Jack Hinderland and Kevin Whitlock as one can be just as lethal as the next as both have unsettled scores to settle. Throw in sophomore Russ Atkinson and freshman Luke Coughlin and it’s easy to see why Navy’s cupboard is never bare.

 

SALISBURY- Always a threat, Salisbury stood in the Top 10 a year ago finishing 6-2 overall. Falling to #3 JMU and #2 Navy to end the regular season earned the Seagulls another National Tournament bid and an away trip to a hot #6 Penn squad hell bent on going to New Brunswick. So it goes for an elite Division I team as seasons come down to the narrowest of margins and the outcome is always in doubt until the final whistle. Relatively young after losing 15 seniors (six starters), teams in the Chesapeake Conference already know that they will not be able to let down their guard as the Seagulls traditionally reload with a vengeance. Numbers cannot be construed for weakness as Salisbury has a bevy of new names just waiting for their chance to get on the field. Losing their last game of the year has given them a fury that only game days can quench. The Elite Eight without the ‘Gulls would require a trip back to 2007, one in which that edition also had a 6-5 record but prevailed the following year with a healthy 10-3 mark. Returning every starter, such as Brian Hofstetter and Zach Treakle, on defense will be of great help, but Pat DeVries can’t do it alone and judging by word out of Salisbury camp, there are many names to choose from, but only a few will be needed to set the spring straight. Regardless of the names on the back, Salisbury has the talent to make opponents remember the names on the front.

 
TOWSON- Competing in 33 contests in 2014 including a 13-6 mark during the spring on their way to another National Tournament bid, Towson returns better than ever in the Chesapeake Conference. Taking the "33” another step further, Towson’s success lies not only in each unit of midfield, defense and attack, but also within each position (3 midfielders/3 attack/3 defensemen) as the Tigers look to earn a Top 5 position with a talented corps of starters in each. None more important than in goal, Logan Binder and Mitch Gunning will compete to replace graduated 3 year starter Jeff Joyce and proved during the fall that making a decision will not be easy. A mainstay in Tiger Tradition, senior defensive captains Tyler Jurvelin and Stephen Schuler continue the legacy of great defenseman and get a boost from transfer Billy Fierstein (McDaniel College, MD) and freshman Dylan Harris (South Carroll HS, MD). The rope unit returns intact as leading senior groundball getter LSM Ryan Scranton leads the way with SSDM Eli Tolstoi and Chris Dunnigan creating transition at a moment’s notice. Undefeated in ’14 when posting 9+ GPG (22-1 last 3 years), Towson notched notable wins over #11 Cornell, #16 Cincinnati and DII Final Four VMI before giving eventual National Champion Penn State all it could handle before falling 10-7 in the Elite 8. Absolute wizards on attack, Towson will utilize a four man rotation of Collin Snyder (Sr.), Sean Holliday (Sr.), Mike Kenski (Jr.) and transfer Alex Hutchinson (AACC, MD). All dynamic in their own right, they’ll be exponentially more dangerous together as they can create, feed or finish. The midfield will consist of legendary Joey Vogel (Sr.), shooter Reece Bartell (Jr.), speedster Ryan Hanright (Soph.) and finisher Taylor Brown (Jr.) who form one of the most up-tempo offensive units in the conference as the Tigers seek to elevate their offensive output from a year ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHESAPEAKE CONFERENCE

Division II Team Previews

 

 
CATHOLIC- Loaded offensively, Catholic enters the Chesapeake Conference with a successful fall season to build on. With a top heavy roster of starters as seniors, the Cardinals will have to blend newcomers in with veterans to complete the next step in their development: it’s not a matter of if, just a matter of when as senior Captains John Lucente, Hunter Steel, Brian Duff and Will Horne are all in on not only leaving a foundation for the future but a bar that will leave a mark for legacy. Joining these midfielders are junior John Bruno and sophomore attackman Patrick Daisy. Rounding out the offense includes attackmen Nick McDonough (Soph.), Joe Mintzer (Fr.) and Jack McFarlane (Fr.). Defenseman Jack Ursprung (Jr.) earns the go ahead to lead the defensive end in inaugural conference action: expect Hugh O’Neill, Logan Haarman, and Brad Lois to be key players as the Cardinals ramp up their offense and compete in overdrive. If the fall season was any indication, these Cardinals will be more than capable of handling whatever conference competition awaits.

 

GEORGE MASON-If you want to make a run, you first have to make a stop: and with that, George Mason pulled up out of its’ early season nosedive and created its’ own destiny to finishing ‘14 on a high note. After an initial conference victory, the Patriots then lost the next four of five and in a nod to the previous two seasons to erase the memories of five-game losing streak in ’12 and ’13 finished on a season-saving three game win streak to jolt the Mason faithful and capture a coveted spot in the Chesapeake Conference Championship with a solid 8-6 victory over conference foe St. Mary’s. No win was bigger though for the Patriots than the 7-6 OT thriller over Top 20 Christopher Newport that put GMU back on track and back into national tournament conversations. The new look Patriots will lean on junior stalwarts Collin Kohlasch and Dan Butcher, while senior Sean Gambrani takes charge of the midfield corps that includes newcomers Franciso Lam and Dexter Ang. Freshman attackmen Tyler Alexander and Nathan Brostoff will bring extra attention from opposing defenses. For his part, freshman Josh Wheeler will take the reign in goal while having transfers Casey Shannon (Seton Hill) and Joey Edison (Virginia Tech) add experience to the mix. If all goes according to plan, expect even more jolts on the Fairfax campus as the green and gold have what it takes and more than enough to counter any run with a run of its’ own. In the always competitive Chesapeake Conference, that would set up another run to the National Tournament and a date with destiny.

 

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (MD)- St.Mary’s College continues to be an electric mix within the Chesapeake Conference and is equally capable of sparkling at both ends of the field. A regular competitor at the conference championships, the Seahawks look to build upon their .500 season from last spring, which  included close losses to #4 UMBC and #16 George Mason. Seniors Jay Richardson (Mt. Hebron HS, MD) and Ben Weiss (Walt Whitman HS, MD) get one more season to solidify their mark in a power program and will bring freshman Jack Lowenfeld (Georgetown Prep, MD) under their wing to form a unified defensive front. Seniors Rickie Kalama (Aberdeen HS, MD) and Nick Bozzonetti (Urbana HS, MD) direct the attack and midfield corps respectively as several capable underclassmen will see significant playing time. Unexpected for freshman to step in immediately, Sean Cassard will be a name worth noting under Richardson’s and Kalama’s tutelage.

 

STEVENSON- The Mustangs entered ’14 with realistic hopes and surpassed many on the way to ending their season in spectacular fashion which included an OT loss to Hopkins and their second program win in the last game of the year. As is the case with starting from scratch, the foundation for success is not built overnight. Slowly but surely, the signs of inching forward start to shine through and 2015 is no exception. Head Coach Mike Urgo and Director Matt Grimm provide the steady hands as Stevenson begins the next step in the maturation process and looks to not only build a starting team but add depth along the way. Senior Nick Van Rensselaer (Calvert Hall, MD) and sophomore Will Pfeiffer (Howard HS, MD) return on attack to increase the ‘Stangs output from their inaugural campaign. If the offense finishes as it did in its’ last two times out in ’14, in which they tripled their season GPG average, expect more room to create for midfielders like junior Tiler Baldwin and freshman John Brummet. With Baldwin as the shooter and Brummet as the feeder, all eyes will be on freshman Dominic Impallaria to play make it, take it at the face-off X and stay on to play offense. Freshman John Mann gets a great opportunity to not only start but lead the defense in his first taste of collegiate competition and will pair with another talented multi-sport athlete in Colin Dow.

 

UMBC- The Retrievers return a lot of bite after reaching the Final Four in 2014 as major offensive weapons return in sophomore leading scorer Jack Rogness (Century HS, MD) and  junior playmaker Greg Usilton (Kent Island HS, MD). Capable of igniting those weapons is junior attackman Camden Belinko (Century HS, MD), who is just as dangerous at X as anywhere on the field and has the vision to find the open shooter, such as running mate Jon Carr (South River HS, MD). A top notch athlete, Carr enters rarified air as a superior finisher in the Chesapeake Conference to complement Rogness. Having creators such as Usilton and Belinko provides a dynamic situation in which the midfield corps will benefit mightily. At 6’4” and 210 lbs, sophomore Christian Chiodo presents match -up problems across the board and is a dangerous dodger from up top. Matching that size but competing in a totally different style of play is junior midfielder Jordan Fetterman, another weapon in UMBC’s stable. Exposing the depth of the roster, the Retrievers return junior FOGO Luke Byrne (Centennial HS, MD), who is consistently good each time out and SSDM’s in senior Yves Nazon (Guilderland HS, NY) and junior Eugene Bosworth (Westminster HS, MD), who sits atop the leader board in ’14 groundballs. Junior transfer Ben Gill (Westminster HS, MD) will be a welcome addition as will freshmen Quentin Jones (Atholton HS, MD) and Shez Bhagwandin (Overlea HS, MD). Two other newcomers in sophomore Mason Dowell (Loyola HS, MD) and junior Darius Sias (Howard CC, MD) will vie for the starting keeper’s spot at the Hilltop. Three terrific seniors will make that transition much easier as Cory Nettleton (Hereford HS, MD) returns as the #1 close defenseman in terms of matchups, as LSM’s Shaun Baxley (Archbishop Curley HS, MD) and Tre Lundy (Gilman School, MD) are one of the top rated  rope units in the conference. Add in sophomore Garrett Higgins (Archbishop Curley HS, MD), who is the leading take away player, steady junior Cameron Riddell (Quince Orchard HS, VA) and freshman Tom Cinotti (Archbishop Spalding HS, MD), there’s much optimism to be found as UMBC looks to complete the next step on the ladder after two Elite 8 finishes and last year’s Final Four run.

 

WASHINGTON COLLEGE- Coming off a .500 effort this past spring, hopes are sky high in Chestertown as Washington College returns plenty of talent to push for a front row ticket. While the Shoremen look to build a larger roster, they can take solace in the fact that only ten is needed at any one time to compete: and judging by their fall efforts, Washington College has plenty of dynamic players to be a force throughout the spring. As the bulk of the starters return, President Colin Rainey and VP Max White can concentrate on preparing the freshmen for the rigors of collegiate competition. If the maroon and white can remain focused on the end result, trending up on the Eastern Shore has never been higher.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Midwest Conference Team Previews

MIDWEST CONFERENCE

Division I Team Previews

 

CINCINNATI- Regardless of year, one constant at Cincinnati is their ability to reload and maintain a consistent high level of play from season to season. Graduating key players each and every year has not deterred the Bearcats from highlighting plans for the last date of the season. After jumping up divisions, Cincinnati continued their consecutive streak for playoff bids and again claimed best team in conference over the past four years, including both Division II and Division I. A hallmark of any solid program is to not only reload with incoming freshman, but also utilize a deep bench. In both cases, the ‘Cats are stacked. Racing out to a stellar 8-0 record, which included a 6-4 victory at #19Michigan, Cincinnati fell to three Top 10 teams in JMU, Towson and VMI before rebounding to stake a 10-6 victory over Indiana. Claiming their 1st Division I National Tournament bid in program history signaled another major achievement for a storied program. With current Captains Justin Paelk, Kyle Wendt, and Zach Gordon heading the ship towards State College in May, expect Coach Glaser’s squad to run like a well-oiled machine as the target on their back continues to grow. Junior Matthew Walters (Dublin Jerome HS/’13 All-Tournament) returns in goal and continues to excel from his outstanding freshman campaign and with classmate Zack Gordon (Westerville HS/’13 All-Tournament) will spearhead a stingy defense that coughed up a paltry 3.75 GAA during their first eight games versus conference opponents. On the other side of the field, the Bearcats wasted no time in claiming 11.65 GPG during that streak which also saw a 25 goal barrage in a single contest. Returning as the leading scorer, look for Paselk (Westerville HS) to post big numbers to keep his leaderboard status as Top Gun as Vlad Jovic (Sycamore HS) commandeers the midfield unit.

 

MICHIGAN- In one of their best seasons yet, Michigan claimed two four-game win streaks while earning a bid to the National Tournament for consecutive seasons. Highlighted by a successful fall campaign as one of the top programs, the Maize and Blue have several noteworthy games in ’15. Beating Notre Dame lends credence to the fact that the Wolverines are not only dangerous as hosts but also as visitors. Returning the starting attack of Andrew Montag and Jack Eisenreich as well as midfielders Jeff Hurray, Butters Short and Zach Gala, Michigan’s offense will again be in very capable hands. Both Quinn Manfreddi and David Nauheim return to front netminder Ryan Simpson as the defense continues to shine and shaved off nearly 1.5 GPG in allowing a historic low 5.38 GAA during the 2014 season.

 

OHIO UNIVERSITY- Named Comeback Team of the Year on campus in Athens, it’s only fitting that the Bobcats of Ohio University return to their roots in the competitive Midwest. Although a vastly changed landscape that is the Midwest North Conference, Ohio University will compete versus not only their traditional rivals but also several new found foes as well. In the Bobcats previous four seasons in the NCLL from 2007-2010, Ohio posted a lethal 48-6 overall record including consecutive trips to the National Tournament. With losses only to Top 10 teams, the Bobcats ruled the Midwest as they only lost to Maryland, Salisbury and North Carolina with the exception in ’10 losing to then DII National Finalist Cincinnati in OT. Founded in 1998 with the 5C’s pillars of excellence, Ohio University spring is shaping up to be a grand revival and homecoming of sorts as teams return to Athens to rekindle lost histories. Beginning with a stout senior class, the Bobcats return a varied and talented crew that enters league play with newcomer Michigan, upgraded Cincinnati and rival Ohio State. In net, expect to see senior netminder Patrick Nida (Upper Arlington, OH) provide a steady hand at the helm as the senior class has never competed against league competition.  Seniors Dane Zito (Walsh Jesuit, OH) and Joe Natoli (Seneca Valley, PA) will be tasked with blending in several newcomers, such as freshman Ian Beith (Dublin Jerome, OH) to a Bobcats’ defense that will be the backbone and springboard to their early season success.  Gone is past President and defensive team leader Pat Horsburgh, but Zito and Natoli have the tools to take over and take the next step as Ohio University will not be the underdog for long. On the other side of the field, senior midfielders Nate Pagiano (Wooster HS, OH) and Rob Fyock (Seneca Valley, PA) will get the lion’s share of playing time as they quarterback a young but potentially dangerous offensive unit. Sophomore transfer Cole Fyock (6’0’, 170lbs/Mid/Denison, OH) reunites with his brother and harks back to their time at Seneca Valley High School’s Final Four run during the ’11 season. A Brine All-American in Cole, Ohio’s midfield will have an entire starting unit that could see an opponents’ long pole at one time or another as opponents try to neutralize the Bobcats’ offense. Completing the set, 2012 CCLA 3rd Team All-America Connor Mannion (29g,18a career) highlights an attack unit that is a great unkown with several new faces such as frehman Santiago Gill (Jackson HS,OH). Eerily reminiscent of Mannion’s scholastic career, in which he helped put his high school back on the winning track, don’t be surprised to see the Class of ’15 lay the foundation and put their mark on a program that is used to playing well beyond the end of the regular season.

 

OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY- Best in class for over a decade, Ohio State regains its’ focus as the Buckeyes enter ‘15 at full strength ready to take over the reign in the Midwest North. Epic battles await as arch-rival Michigan, in state foe Cincinnati and old nemesis Ohio University present key contests. Not merely on the Division I front, OSU can expect to see opponents best shots as the Buckeyes escaped from both Bowling Green and Xavier in one goal contests a year ago. Leading the offensive resurgence will be no easy undertaking in the brutal Midwest Conference but good things are expected from attackmen Noah Wiesner and Brandon Sienawski as well as senior midfielder Kyle Van Krevel. Big and strong as they come, expect the Buckeyes to be just as quick and fleet footed as years past as no one will go unscathed. Carrying the defense on his shoulders until a cohesive unit gels, junior Nick Sharick will ensure the OSU tradition carries throughout the ranks as many new power programs have stepped in to fill the void left by the Buckeyes absence in national title talks, but rumors of their ultimate demise will be put to rest.

 

MIDWEST CONFERENCE

Division II Team Previews  

 
 
AKRON- The past three years has been a seesaw for supremacy in the Midwest North as Akron has tangled mightily with conference foes. With BGSU’s win over the Zips for the first time in '13, expect this rivalry to be as heated as ever. One thing is for certain though as Akron will again return an explosive offense as the Zips rang up double digit goals in over 70% of contests to play at a breakneck pace. When teams tried to keep up, Akron could not be stopped. With the experience of a 6-5 season behind them, seniors Mitchell Powell, Adam Hayes, and Matt Devlin provide scoring threats on the offensive side of the field.  Projected as a starter on attack, incoming freshman Tanner Codding is like adding gasoline to the fire as the Zips fully expect to raise their GPG from a year ago. In the midfield corps, junior Rich Kenney is expected to play an integral role as his work ethic sets the team example and is bar none.  Concentrating on their "first to ten” offensive mantra, look for Akron to utilize a healthy blend of experienced veterans and talented freshmen to be just what the doctored ordered in a return to the Conference Championships. On the defensive side of the field, senior Captain Matt Gatto will take charge of a defense looking to change its’ identity to slow down opponents as the Zips gave up double digits tallies in 70% of contests, most notably going 2-5 along the way.  With Seth Wagner (Hudson HS) stepping into the LSM position, the Zips should be able to find success on both sides of the ball as the offense and defense have exactly opposite missions to achieve but have the means and roster to complete it.
 
BALL STATE- After competing as independent and posting a two season combined record of 13-1, the Cardinals found the going much tougher in route to a more than respectable inaugural campaign: one in which Ball State not only earned an invitation to the Conference Championships, but also claimed Midwest South Team of the Year honors. Capable of scoring in bunches Ball State found itself in several scoring frenzies on both sides of the field in completing a successful spring campaign at 5-4. In their previous two seasons, Ball State’s only blemish was highlighted by giving up a double digit score in a rare four goal end of season loss. After ’14, Ball State found itself in more than half their contests by giving up double digits in recording a 1-4 mark in those games. If the defense can hold upcoming opponents to their historical norm, expect another banner season in Muncie as the Cardinals return a wealth of experience and talent. Steady Dan Fischer (Cathedral HS) returns in goal as Christian Simon (Zionsville Community HS) leads the defense from the LSM position. Adding Nick Panozzo (Zealand HS) and Michael Gordon (Hamilton Southeastern HS) to the midfield corps of Kevin Shanks (Zionsville Community HS) and Kevin Butler (Guerin Catholic HS) as well as returning dynamic attackman Mitch Renfro (Guerin Catholic HS) has Ball State headed in the right direction.

 

BELLARMINE- Bellarmine hit the ground running and was in the thick of it all throughout the season. Returning wiser in its’ second full season in the Midwest South, the Knights have high hopes after earning one of the top rated GAA in the conference. Bellarmine will continue to have a strong defensive core in Captain and newly-appointed President Mike Ziegler as he’ll partner with goaltender Jeremey Shocken to provide much needed continuity and experience heading back into conference play. On the offensive side, home-town Ryan Brenzel gets a last chance to represent the Scarlet and Silver and is poised for a banner year after his breakout junior season. As the Knights look to take the next step, all systems are go as a strong freshman class will strengthen the depth and experience at much needed positions. Newcomers Alanson Stumler and Adam Klingeman will see significant minutes as both can fill several roles on the defensive side of the field. Midfielders Gabe South and Mark Carden join William Benefiel to complement the offense already in place and be expected to contribute as starters or off the bench. While difficult to lose a standout senior class, Bellarmine is in great hands with Captains Ziegler, Matt Grzelak and Jeff Ahrens as the Knights anticipate another season full of competitive games. Head Coach Ryan Kizer will like to have his hands full as games become chess matches and with a staff that includes alumni/assistant coaches in Shannon Layton and Joe Ritchie, the Knights look to be all in and ready to ride.

 

BOWLING GREEN- Nothing short of amazing as the Falcons completely overhauled their program and resurrected a proud tradition with an all hands on deck attitude. Led by President Stephen Miller, BGSU captured back to back Midwest North Championships, an Elite Eight bid and posted double digit GPG in all of its’ 2014 conquests. Undefeated in conference play, the Falcons have set their sights on advancing further in National Tournament play and led by a boatload of returning talent, have all the tools for the mission. Sophomore netminder Drew Simpson gets the nod as opponents will have to score often to keep up with BGSU’s vaulted offense. With Simpson and Miller directing the defense, expect senior midfielders Peter Grant and Matt Beckstead to get the green light in unsettled situations. BGSU should be in good hands as sophomore attackmen Cody Scott and Spencer Lonsworth will lead the offense as the offense also adds several freshmen that can contribute to go along with transfer Jordan Yobaggi. At 16-5 over the past two seasons, don’t expect the Falcons to rest on their laurels as the blueprint isn’t finished yet but they’re more than willing to put in the time and work to make it happen.
 
CASE WESTERN- Entering their second season, Case Western will rely on several returners that saw significant action as upperclassmen to improve upon their initial .500 campaign. Senior Captain Geargin Wilson leads the way as classmates Nick Kirsch and John Todia form a balanced offense and freshman Drew Weninger gets a chance compete immediately. Fortunately for the Spartans, sophomore goalie Ryan Chaban comes back healthier than ever as the team looks to secure its’ footing early in the competitive Midwest North.  To make that happen, look for the efforts of Luke Service, Ben Shultes and Eric VanDiepenbos to be the guiding light as Case Western’s top priority will be to value possession after the defense makes the stops needed early in games to keep the Spartans in control late in games. With the Battle of Euclid front and center, Case Western would like nothing more than to secure another trophy as well as add on to their inaugural crusade.

 

CLEVELAND STATE- Cleveland State returns to the Midwest North with every man accounted for and then some as the Vikings did not graduate a single player but also added five potential starters. As expected, Cleveland State has natural rivalries in Case Western, Akron and Kent State, but will also compete against MCLA Division I Pittsburgh in anticipation of a full 14 game schedule. Returning key contributors and projected as starters are junior attackmen Nick Yormick (Benedictine HS) and Joe Rich (Benedictine HS) as well as leading midfield scorer in Anthony Estremera, who combined for 48 points in’14. Transfer Pat Milkovich and incoming freshmen Matthew Yormick (Benedictine High School), Adam Sandor (Westlake High School), Anthony Spencer (Shaker Heights High School), and Josh Han (Rocky River High School) will all be given a chance to prove their mettle as the season progresses.

 

EASTERN MICHIGAN- Eastern Michigan learned the hard way in their inaugural season as teams did not hold back from their opponents in the North.  Surrendering 13 GAA was like drinking from a fire hose as Midwest North members kept EMU on the ropes. To the Eagles credit, they made it standing to the final rounds by competing from whistle to whistle and end line to end line, including two program wins by an average of ten goals. With a roster that has nearly doubled with experienced players, expect EMU to be much improved and look to return the favor. Not wanting to shy away from the best competition, EMU took their lumps and in the sincerest form of flattery, have patterned their future success around that experience. On defense, look for Ryan Biddlecombe to turn off the valve as his defensive presence will be on display in the net while junior defensemen Scott Mitchell and Brian Miner return with a year of college lacrosse under their belt. The hope is to utilize transfer LSM Chris Feaganis and freshman Wes Meyer to build cohesiveness from one side of the field to the other. Offensively, expect EMU to sprinkle in freshmen with the more experienced players as finishing high percentage shots in the Eagles 6 v 6 settled offense sets will not only add to the scoreboard, but also limit opponents’ opportunities to do the same. Junior Tyler Foote will team with freshman James Becker as more production will be expected from the entire midfield corps, while attackmen Alec Pennington and Michael Huebner will need either freshman Patrick De Leon or Andrew Miller to step up

offensively.

 

FINDLAY- The Oilers continue to make strides in conference play as 2015 brings much to the table with a returning defensive unit that remains virtually intact. Save for lone freshman in net, Findlay’s core at defense will be the backbone that looks to stand tall against tough Midwest Conference competition. Expecting to see plenty of action and be able to bend but not break, senior Josh Pitters will front the defensive unit in front of newcomer Jason Wietecki (G/St. Johns Jesuit HS, OH) as the Oilers mix of youth and veteran talent will have to mold quickly. Senior midfielder Ben Barth returns for his last campaign wearing the orange and black and is a true two-way athlete, capable of playing both offense and defense at a high level. Another multi-talented athlete in freshman Nat Zab (Lake Catholic HS, OH) makes the switch from attack to midfield and will see time at the faceoff X as well. The attack consists of steady junior Nick Valerio and freshman Dan Alexiviczh (McDowell HS, NC), both of whom have the capabilities of running the offense with equal ease. As was the case last year, Findlay found itself on the wrong end of many close contests, but with the veterans leading the way with a host of talented underclassmen, that could easily change.

 

KENT STATE- Kent State joins the Midwest North Conference with plenty of experience and lacrosse IQ to boot. As the Golden Flashes prepare for their inaugural season, they will have the benefit of an entire roster returning in their endeavor to make a splash in conference play as well as the largest freshmen class in program history. With a vast and wide experience in front of them, Kent State has shown the ability to compete at the highest levels, but maintaining that consistency for an entire season will remain a priority. Fortunately, the Flashes have enough depth to correct any shortcomings should they appear. Having the ability to blend freshmen into a veteran roster with offensive standouts Michael Argyros (Soph./Attack /Seneca Valley), Cody Carson (Soph./Attack/Medina) and Ron Narolewski (Jr./Mid/Holy Name HS) will enable freshmen Julian Pursell (Attack/Fairview HS), Adam Rackley(Midfield) and Adam Bresette (Mid./Atholton HS) to get valuable playing time without throwing them to the wolves. Returning in goal, sophomore stopper Jack Falconer (Central Catholic) will be tested by incoming freshman Ryan Kevern (Stow-Munroe HS) and Connor Danish, (Walsh Jesuit) for playing time as junior Jake Plocica (Westlake HS) is tasked with coordinating the young defense that likely will include freshman Ramzi Akel (Walsh Jesuit).

 

LOUISVILLE- Inheriting a program that was winless their freshmen year, the Class of 2015 at Louisville has been making steady headway ever since. Claiming their first win in over two years, the Cardinals surrendered 10.5 GAA while posting 5.3 GPG during their sophomore campaign in finishing 1-7. Louisville again finished ’14 with an identical 1-7 overall mark but in a testament to Coach Greg Harris’ steady hand, the Cardinals surrendered less goals and added a healthy 2+ GPG to increase their overall production to 7.5 GPG as the program showed significant progress and was dangerous late every time out. With that foundation in place, plus the hard work and tenacity to keep moving forward inch by inch, Louisville enters ‘15 knowing there is another step to take, but no matter what happens, the seniors have left the program better than they found it. Returning to spearhead a defense looking to continue that trend, expect to see junior Eric Hoffman (St. Xavier HS, KY) between the pipes: Hoffman for his part was an inaugural member of the Louisville area All-Catholic Team and with sophomore Cameron Book (Trinity HS, KY) and incoming freshman George Kushner (St. Xavier HS, KY) look to form a formidable front. Once rivals in high school vying for their respective championships, this young defense brings a winning culture and will carry the torch to keep raising the bar. Wearing the Cardinal Red, black and white for the final season as well as ending their scholastic (duPont Manual HS, KY) and collegiate careers together, expect co-Captains Jordan Jenne and Nolan

Collegiate, KY) creating the spark to make it all go.

 

MARSHALL- The Thundering Herd return for the 2015 season with a 12 game slate and look to a promising season underneath experienced returning seniors and talented newcomers.  Marshall welcomes back impact seniors Mitch Casto (Frederick, MD) and Harry Van Trees (Washington, DC) to help jumpstart an offense that will be highlighted by many new faces throughout the offense.  Freshman attackman Kyle Bassin (Flint, MI) brings size and strength to his shifty and deceptive counterparts on offense.  The defense also adds several new faces as freshmen defenders Austin Budd (Huntington, WV) and Caleb Varney (Roanoke, VA) look to make an immediate impact under the experience of senior Cody Holliday (Hurricane, WV).  Junior Jonathan Bassin (Flint, MI) switches to midfield to make an immediate impact with underclassmen Josh Ellis (Hurricane, WV) and Derek Moore (Hurricane, WV).  Debuting between the pipes, the Herd will rely on untested freshman Patrick Vance (Charleston, WV) to stay the course as he is more than ready to prove than he is the complete package.

    

UM-FLINT- UM-Flint has been steadily closing the gap as 2014 was indicative of just how far this young program has progressed. Beginning with a ten goal loss to Saginaw Valley in 2012, the Dark Knights have inched closer to victory in eight and seven goal defeats in ’13 before succumbing by two in the 2014 Midwest Conference Championships. Averaging 14 GPG, Flint completed another winning spring in only its’ third season since inception while claiming its’ biggest program win in history, a 14-13 OT thriller versus Ferris State. Coming back with a chip on their shoulder, the Dark Knights have high hopes in stellar starting attackmen Kellen Riker (Sr.), Leighton Goeble (Sr.) and Tyler Atkinson (Fr.) Playing within a high octane offense, midfielders Kirk McQuillan (Jr.) and Steven Learst (So.) will lead the outpouring of offense as the Knights look to improve upon their lethal output from a year ago. For their part, the defense holds a stellar 7-0 record when holding opponents to single digits over the last three years. Senior defenseman Jarrod Stebbins will be a key cog to keep that streak alive. With the help of defensive newcomers Jon Fuhrman and Cole Walls, watch out when the switch comes on as 2015 will be another season to remember for the Flint faithful.

 

 

WESTERN KENTUCKY- Hilltoppers return their entire roster as the newest member of the Midwest South Conference. Founded in 2007, the Western Kentucky program enters 2015 with a full slate of competition which should provide a litmus test of program progression. Since that inaugural ‘07 season, the red and white has only eleven contests under their belt, so regardless of results, Western Kentucky is poised for an epic spring. Much will be expected from Samuel Miranda (Louisville Ballard HS) and newcomer Hunter Lyle (Henry Clay HS) on defense as conference play awaits. The play and leadership of dynamic sophomores Davis Church (Attack/Louisville Trinity) and Trent Erps (Midfield/Louisville Christian Academy) will be paramount as the offense has much capability but will need time to maximize potential.  

 

XAVIER- Xavier is in the enviable position of returning an explosive offense that catapulted the Musketeers to a number of significant victories in ’14. Entering the Midwest South, Xavier held every opponent to single digits while challenging teams in both divisions to lay claim as a team to watch come ’15. While their overall record might be deceiving, the Musketeers made their mark with a deliberate offense that chewed up the clock and a defense that was just as tough. Working that combination to completion, Xavier scored 8.0 GPG while finishing with a 7.1 GAA on the way to a solid 3-3 record (.500) in the dangerous Midwest South. Challenging their cross-town rivals from Division I, the X-men pushed playoff bound Cincinnati to the brink before falling 8-6. Scoring double digits in all of their victories showcased the groundwork needed to take the next step in conference play. On attack, expect sophomore Chris Zonghetti to draw attention as he possesses good size, soft hands and a finisher’s touch in close or outside: a danger to dodge from anywhere, Zonghetti has a high lacrosse IQ that spreads the ball around to get everyone involved. Senior Rease Baustien will handle the majority of the offense as quarterback and has phenomenal vision while owning a lethal shot to boot. Teams will have to decide quickly which attackmen will draw the #1 pole as depth will be a deciding factor. Another senior, JD Puckett, will lead the way on midfield with his speed and dodging abilities. Whether tasked with dodge and dump or dodge to score, Puckett will be given free reign to create havoc if left unnoticed. Sophomore Jon Jevahirian is a deceptive player who has an uncanny knack to finish off of back door cuts and is just as comfortable dodging from up top or from behind. For the Musketeers, it all begins at the X as senior Michael Milo is not just an ordinary FOGO as he is not only an accomplished face-off player but has a growing reputation as an outside finisher with time and room.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Pre-Season Top 20

Pre-Season Division I Top 20

 

1.     Penn State (14-2)

2.     Navy (10-2)

3.     James Madison (11-2)

4.     Salisbury (6-5) 

5.     Virginia (13-2)        

6.     Towson (13-6)              

7.     Cortland (6-3)  

8.     Cornell (3-4)                             

9.     Penn (12-4)      

10.   Rutgers (10-5)

11.   Syracuse (9-6)

12.   Hofstra (11-3)              

13.   Maryland (5-7) 

14.   Stony Brook (6-2)

15.   Vermont (9-4)

16.   UMass-Amherst (7-2)

17.  Cincinnati (9-4)

18.   Duke (6-8)

19.   Michigan (9-5)

20.  Connecticut College (2-2)

Others considered: Albany, Loyola, Lafayette, Ohio State, Delaware, Fairfield, Fordham, Sacred Heart, Princeton, Villanova, Bucknell

 

 

 

 

 

Pre-Season Division II Top 25

 

1.        Binghamton

2.        Ithaca

3.        RIT

4.        UMBC

5.        RPI

6.        St. Joseph’s

7.        Albany Pharmacy

8.        Slippery Rock

9.        Temple

10.   George Mason

11.   VMI

12.   West Chester

13.   PSU-Altoona

14.   Christopher Newport

15.   Bowling Green

16.   Tennessee-Chattanooga-UTC

17.   Richmond

18.   Bloomsburg

19.   Lock Haven

20.   Stevens Tech

21.   York

22.   Susquehanna

23.   Penn College

24.   Brockport

25.   Kutztown

Others considered: Rowan, Old Dominion, UMass-Lowell, Lynchburg, Indiana University of Pa., St. Mary’s, Millersville, Rowan, TCNJ, Eastern Kentucky, Akron, Bellarmine, Xavier, Ball State, Kent State, Mercer, Catholic, Holy Cross, Columbia, Quinnipiac, East Stroudsburg, St. Bonaventure, Virginia Commonwealth, Trinity, Georgetown, Edinboro, Johns Hopkins, Washington College

 

 

 

 


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