Chesapeake Team Previews
By:  Staff
Updated:  03/06/2012 at 1:20 PM

Annapolis - 

DIVISION II TEAM PREVIEW

AMERICAN- American will count on its’ untested unit of underclassmen defenders to keep games close. With Tyler Brennan in goal, a bevy of sophomores will vie for playing time to replace their graduated corps. With Nick Barber, Glenn Damiano-Szafran, Doyle Irvin, Brandon Petillo, and Nick Samonas all competing to fill that void, look for an ever improving unit as the season progresses. With both senior Captain Max Torney and sophomore Matt Eldridge leading the way between the restraining lines, American will count on Zach Miller and Matt Winans to increase their production and take the pressure off their defense until it’s a proven commodity. With the progression of the defensive unit almost guaranteed, don’t be surprised if they start to get after their veteran offensive counterparts in practice and during games to replicate their hard fought success.

GEORGE MASON- While outside the Warrior Preseason Top Twenty Poll, George Mason is the team most likely to end up moving up the most spots from the beginning of the season to the end. Returning a core of their impact players, Mason only graduated attackman John Hart, who also happened to be their leading point getter. With Corey Clark and John Grady heading the offense, look for attackmen Drew Rutherford, Jake Flewellyn, and Andrew Felt to blend in well as starters.  With CJ Ward in goal and Justin Fink in front, look for the Patriots to battle their way back into the Top Twenty and possibly the Top Ten.

GEORGETOWN- The Hoyas are one of the most intriguing teams coming into the 2012 season. After capturing the George Mason Tournament this past fall, optimism is high in Georgetown for them to repeat that success this spring. With athletic senior Nick Dugan, junior Kevin Hubschmann, and sophomore Danny Lorhfink at the helm, look out for talented freshmen Kevin Grimm and Joe Rosenberg to provide a steady stream of offensive power throughout conference games. If junior defensemen Nick Freeman and Brian Crnkovich can allow freshman goaltender Brandon Silva to adjust to the collegiate level, Georgetown will be a force to be reckoned with in DC.

GEORGE WASHINGTON- Beginning their season with 3 Division I games will prepare the Colonials for the rigors of a tough in-conference schedule. Over the past two years, GW has steadily improved their level of play with an increase of lacrosse talent and skill on campus. 2011 was a breakout year in which the squad lost to #5 ranked Slippery Rock in the Elite Eight by one goal. If the fall was any indication, look for the Colonials to improve upon that finish from a year ago and set a new course in its lacrosse history. Look for midfielders David Gosinak and Nick Bryan to step up on the offensive end and prove that they are finishers and hustlers between the lines. Add in sophomore Ross Tetaiuti and freshman Max Levine, the Colonials should find a good offensive rhythm. On attack, expect seniors Joe Gumaer and Middlebury transfer Zach Harwood as well as junior Matthew Pereira to wreak havoc on opponent defenses. With highly touted newcomers in Charlie Frattini (Harmon HS, NY) and Josh Strupp (University School of Nashville, TN), the Colonials might surprise a few teams early. With a strong defensive contingent of Conor Gaffney, Ian Donovan, David Thompson, and goaltender Zach Quinn, GW is well stocked for another deep playoff push. Look for a throng of freshmen to challenge for playing time in Chris Yousseff (St. Stephens/Agnes, VA), Chris Kalloo (Indian Creek, MD), Conor Murphy (McMahon HS, CT), and Sam Clements (St. Andrew School, FL).


ST. MARY’S COLLEGE OF MD- After exploding onto the scene with an Elite Eight finish in their 2010 inaugural campaign, St.Mary’s lost some footing in 2011 as other Chesapeake Conference opponents ramped up their game. While senior goalie Daniel Krane (Capt.) leads the way with junior defenseman Thomas Rados, look for the experienced midfield play of Pat O’Malley, Collin McNamara, and Dan Incontrera to help out fellow attackman Easton Gallant, as the Seahawks look to fill out their starting positions with key additional personnel. With some early conference games, March could well find the Seahawks back on top on a familiar perch.

 

UMBC- While Retrievers are notorious in the Chesapeake Bay Region and usually give up a ball when commanded, look for UMBC to play hard to get with a talented crew that is bent on coming out of close games as the top dog. With both Danny Phelan and Brian Saba returning on attack, the black and yellow are living up to expectations whenever the ball flows through the offensive end of the field. Joining the dynamic duo on attack will be freshmen Peter Graham (South River HS, MD) and Nathan Baccus (DeMatha HS, DC). Whether practicing on the Dog Pound’s 20 x 25 field, or running the loop around campus, this year’s version of the Retrievers have a new found vision and want to run loose on their opponents. With Will Sasser and Scott Klear on the same midfield unit, UMBC will have a solid corp to build upon with freshmen John Neal (Harford Tech, MD) and Yves Nazon (Guilderland HS, NY). Defensively, look for veteran Will Murphy to lead freshmen Shane Ryznar (DeMatha HS, DC) and Tyler Sousa (Chesapeake HS, MD) in front of consistent stopper Danny Weissman. If all goes well, UMBC will trade a win for a ball anytime of the week.  

DIVISION I TEAM PREVIEW

DELAWARE-Like a light switch, Delaware can run and gun with the best of them when they’re on. However, the Fightin’ Blue Hens would like to avenge their playoff loss to Salisbury when they could only finish off six goals, well under their goal of double-digit scores. With senior Arie Dinkeloo at the face-off  X and attackmen Will Horrocks and Tom Coughlan as well as midfielders Matt Leone and Brett Greer, Delaware should not experience that feeling again. With fall ball wins over Rutgers, JMU, and Loyola, Delaware’s freshmen class, with Tyler Dimes, Cam White, and Austin Beer have blended well into the veteran’s style of offense. Brian Levine and Brett Trask return on defense while juniors Matt Biagoli and Mike Cobb will co-man the pipes. When their defense comes together, look for other teams to try to replicate their style of play.

LOYOLA- Competing in the ultra-competitive Chesapeake DI Conference, the Greyhounds were ousted by JMU in the 1st Round of the playoffs. With 4 of their 6 losses by 2 or less goals, Loyola is counting on their seasoned seniors to get them further in the National Tournament. Led by tri-captains Mike Papa, Harry Bodozian, and Ryan McManus, the ‘Hounds will look to pay back those close losses this spring. Add in sophomore midfielders Kyle Brennan, Kyle Marra, and Pat Kelly as well as attackmen Chris Miller and freshman Pat Finnerty, look for the offense to expand on their 7.6 GPG. With senior defenders McManus, Phil Greenwood, John Ehrhardt, and transfer Vin Cassella holding opponents at bay in front of pre-season Team MVP goaltender Nick Montelene, there could be a power shift in the Chesapeake Conference.

MARYLAND- Losing 18 seniors would be devastating to any playoff discussions. Fortunately, Maryland loses only two starters to a team that is loaded throughout for a march to May. With a National Championship run in 2010, the Terps slipped in 2011 but look to right themselves in a difficult conference. With a stellar 13-2 fall ball season behind them, all focus is concentrated on getting back to the Final Game. If juniors Taylor Giordano, Zach Swerdloff, and Matthew Wagner have their way, the Terps will be explosive offensively. With Thomas Guarino battling for a starting position on the varsity, look for junior netminder Adam Davis to prove he is more than capable of manning the pipes. With FOGO Dave Balinsky gobbling up groundballs after goals, expect senior defender Michael Greenburg to help hold down the fort.

NAVY- Navy will have it hands full as it defends its’ Division I Title and Warrior #1 Preseason Ranking. While losing eleven players to graduation, including standout goaltender Ben Read and Final Four MVP midfielder Will Comiskey, the Midshipmen have added more depth and experience to their arsenal as well.  With seven expected newcomers with either NAPS or varsity experience, the blue and gold have penciled in their May Mission to repeat as National Champions. Add in a returning solid nucleus, and it’s understandable why this year’s senior class wants to expand on their 13-1 record from a year ago. The strength of this year’ s team will lie in its returning starting defense of All-Tournament netminder Mike Washington, close defensemen Taylor Pierce (Capt.), Raf Ortega (Capt.), Will Brundage (Capt.), and senior LSM’s Ryan Kim and Stephen Thorn. On the other side of the field, it will be up to the senior midfield quartet of Mike Coppola, Nick Thompson, Travis Proulx, and Ty Alfriend to manage the otherwise youthful midfield corps. At attack, recent additions of Ryan Warner, Pat Dougherty, and Nick Thompson will help out returners A.J. Cybulski and Sean Crain to create a lethal combination.

SALISBURY-For the past three years, the Seagulls have been a model of consistency winning 14, 14, and 9 games while only losing three each year (80% win average). Competing in two National Championships and last year’s Elite Eight, Salisbury recorded eight playoffs wins against two losses to record a consistent average (80% win average). With an upgrade in talent, experience, and leadership, look for the Maroon and Yellow to push for a playoff position at Penn State in May. With All-Everything Goalie Scott Bracken back in the net, look for defenders Tim McLaughlin and Zak Klunk to get the transition started. Between the lines, Mike Higgins (Sr) and Rob Ruzin (Jr) will rely on their veteran experience as Salisbury looks to fill out the midfield corps. On attack, both Luke Raab and Bryan Drobisch will be counted on to get the ‘Gulls out of the gate and shoot for a higher than average win percentage.

TOWSON- No team enters the 2012 campaign with higher sights then the Tigers. Led by new coach Alex Hendricks, the Black and Yellow will play anyone anywhere with their new attitude and can do spirit. While playing in all three championships of the Fall Ball Tournaments they entered, Towson captured both the West Virginia and East Carolina Tournaments with an undefeated record. Having one of the best face-off corps in specialist Austin Lyons and wingman LSM Ryan Scranton should allow the Tigers to keep possession of the ball. With midfield scorers in Chris Lowe and Francis Stringer, they can either finish in the back of the net or dish off to talented attackmen John-Michael Davis or Matt Early. With junior transfers Zach Sharman (Providence) and Ben Wilson (Harford CC) as well as newcomer Joey Vogel, look for Towson to expand on their 11 win campaign from a year ago. If the defense can stop opponents from scoring double digit goals, in which the Tigers lost all three, it will be due to the defense of Chris Rubin, Stephen Schuler, and Ryan Riddell in front of either sophomore netminder Jeff Joyce or senior Andrew Pipitone.  Add to the mix, freshman defender Tyler Jurvelin, and the Tigers might need a bigger trophy case come May.