February 11, 2011

CAC Men's Lacrosse Preview

from press release

Combine a pair of Top Five ranked teams (Salisbury and Stevenson) and another in the Top 20 in the Faceoff Yearbook preseason poll (St. Mary's), along with one new team (Frostburg State) and two new coaches (FSU's Tommy Pearce and Hood's Jeremy Mattoon), create another exciting Capital Athletic Conference men's lacrosse season in 2011.

Stevenson is the defending CAC champion and ranked No. 2 nationally. The Mustangs advanced to the NCAA Tournament semifinals in each of the past two seasons and return a number of All-Americans for a conference and national title run in 2011.

Salisbury, the defending CAC regular-season champ, is right behind the Stevenson at No. 3 in the preseason rankings. Junior midfielder Sam Bradford, the returning national Midfielder of the Year, led the Gulls to the 2010 national championship game and hopes to win conference and national playoff titles this season.

St. Mary's, which upended Salisbury for the first time in team history in 2009, earned the No. 18 position in the national preseason poll for the second time in the last five seasons (also in 2007). Under third-year head coach Chris Hasbrouck, the Seahawks have notched an 18-13 (10-4 CAC) two-year record and advanced to the CAC semifinals in each season.

Frostburg State, which joined the CAC as a full member prior to the 2010-11 season, returns its men's lacrosse program for the first time in more than three decades under former Gettysburg College assistant coach Tommy Pearce. Hood's Jeremy Mattoon is also new to the conference after serving two seasons as the first coach in team history at Husson College.

Marymount, Wesley and York, under the veteran leadership of Jon Reynolds, Bill Gorrow and Jim Griffin, respectively, are dangerous every time they step on the field and are working to knock off the leaders.

The season opens this weekend when Mary Washington hosts Virginia Wesleyan (Feb. 12) and Salisbury hosts Greensboro (Feb. 13). York, Stevenson, Marymount and St. Mary's join the action with non-conference games on Feb. 19-20.

The first conference clash of the season, as the eight teams battle for six CAC playoff berths, is Feb. 23 when Mary Washington visits Stevenson.

Here is a quick look at each team entering the 2011 campaign.

FROSTBURG STATE will begin its second chapter this spring as the Bobcats begin varsity action for the first time since the 1970's. FSU, which announced the reinstatement of the program in March of 2009, will be led by head coach Tommy Pearce. The Bobcats boast a roster size of 33 as they open play on Feb. 19 at Shenandoah.

HOOD, now in its seventh year as a varsity program, is coming off a breakout year in 2010 and looks to set the bar even higher this season with a new coach at the helm. Jeremy Mattoon enters his first season with the Blazers, who boast both skill and depth at every position. Hood won six games last spring and set program records in virtually every statistical category. The senior scoring tandem of Dominique Shorter and Kris Miner enjoyed two of the most productive campaigns in the program's history while junior Corey Roberts set a single-season school record for goals. Sophomore Will Lane shouldered the bulk of the goalkeeping duties last season while John Martin and Nick O'Brien also return as capable backups.

MARYMOUNT returns 18 letterwinners from last year's squad including 11 seniors, its top-three scorers and top goalkeeper. Back for the Saints are seniors Jeff Cook and Chris Wascak, along with junior Drew Phillips, who combined for 62 goals and 19 assists in 2010. Phillips finished his sophomore season as the 10th-leading scorer in the CAC. Defensively, senior Marc Scanlon and junior Ross Fernandez are back between the pipes to build on a 2010 season in which the Saints led the league in saves per game. Scanlon finished last season third in the CAC in save percentage while Fernandez was third in saves per game. Senior defensemen Christian Carpenter and Robby Woycik also return to anchor a backline that finished second in the conference in penalty killing percentage last season. The Saints also welcome 12 freshmen to add depth to the attack unit and midfield positions. Marymount's main concern will be the replacement for departed south team All-Star LSM Eric Fernandez. Three Saints will compete to fill the vacancy with freshmen Willard Humphries and Chris Madison battling sophomore Ryan Doremus for the starting job.

MARY WASHINGTON will look to build upon last year's eight wins with the rutrn of three of its top four scorers, led by seniors Mark Bowler (29 G, 13 A), Kohl Meyer (21 G, 9 A), and junior Harry Snyder (28 G, 11 A). Senior goalie Ryan Kleman returns for 2011, as do returning starters Matt Vazquez, Will Devlin, and Evan Weiss.

SALISBURY returns 24 former letterwinners for the 2011 season that posted a 21-2 overall record and advanced to the 12th national championship game in program history. SU also welcomes a number of talented transfers and freshmen that have meshed well with the returning players. The Sea Gulls are set to be led by reigning Division NCAA III National Midfielder of the Year Sam Bradman along with preseason All-Americans in seniors Johnny Rodriguez and Collin Tokosch, and junior Matt Cannone.

STEVENSON is once again among the favorites to win the CAC championship after capturing the school's first conference title in 2010. The Mustangs are slated to return five senior All-Americans, including Jimmy Dailey, Evan Douglass, Kyle Moffitt and Ray Witte. Another 2010 All-American, Richie Ford, may also return to the Mustangs' lineup, pending the results of an NCAA waiver request. The Mustangs have advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Championship and finished as the No. 1-ranked team in the final USILA Division III Poll each of the last two seasons while posting a 36-4 record. Seniors Neal Barthelme and Sean Calabrese round out the team's top five returning scorers from last season. The Mustangs also welcome Under Armour High School All-American Tony Rossi.

ST. MARY'S third-year head coach Chris Hasbrouck fully expects to have his Seahawks in contention for the 2011 CAC title after laying down a strong foundation the previous two seasons. St. Mary's is back in the national limelight as the Seahawks enter the campaign ranked 18th in the Inside Lacrosse/Face-Off Yearbook preseason poll after recording their first 10-win season since 2007 a year ago. Preseason honorable mention All-American Dennis Rosson (42g, 18a), a three-time All-CAC selection, has led the team in scoring for three straight seasons and will once again run the attack. Preseason All-CAC selection Peter Windsor returns as the team's top long-stick middie with a no holds barred style of defense, finishing second with 47 ground balls and 23 caused turnovers in 2009, while second team All-CAC Sean Hatley will anchor a solid defensive unit.

WESLEY welcomes 12 newcomers as the Wolverines reload from 2010. The Wolverines must replace their top four scorers from last year. Justin D'Alonzo (19g, 3 a) and Eric Crumbock (14 g, 8 a) are the leading returning scorers. Sophomores Ryan Morris and Dan Tryon and seniors Keven Lion and Ken McDonald played prominent roles in the midfield and on defense and should do so again. Michael McQuarrie is back after serving as the team's primary face off specialist as a freshman. A trio of goalies who split action last year return in seniors Sean Mathews and Michael McGuigan and sophomore Matt Ryan. Mathews saw the most action, McGuigan led the team in save percentage and Ryan had a team-best goals against average.

The YORK men's lacrosse team enters the 2011 campaign looking to bounce back from a tough 7-9 campaign last season, as they competed against one of the toughest schedules in Division III. Despite the departure of several key seniors, the Green and White have good reason to look for that turnaround. First and foremost, the Spartans welcome back four of their top five scorers from a season ago including 2010 All-Capital Athletic Conference selection B.J. Blaker. Josh Gamble, York's leading scorer a season ago, along with Jamie Lowe and Adam Cooper are three key components to York's success this year. Head coach Jim Griffin has also brought in a solid group of newcomers that should be able to compete for time on field right away. With the return of offensive talent as well as the introduction of outstanding fresh faces, the Spartans could become a dangerous squad.

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