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Central Mass College Lacrosse Preview

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

 

Brent Ferraro, Holy Cross

Lacrosse season is quickly approaching and Central Mass has teams competing at all three levels of NCAA competition. The lone Division I squad, Holy Cross College, finished near the bottom of their conference in 2011, and the rest of the Patriot League does not seem to think things will be any better in 2012. In Division II, Assumption College is hoping to build off its first winning season since the mid 1990’s, and the Greyhounds think they have the offense to take another step forward. In Division III, Clark University appears to be on the cusp of its first winning season ever, and Nichols is in major rebuilding mode with a new coaching staff and offensive philosophy.

Holy Cross College picked at bottom of Patriot League

Apparently the opposing coaches and Sports Information Directors of the Patriot League do not think very highly of the Crusaders, because they picked them to finish last in the conference’s preseason poll. Though Holy Cross does return leading scorer James Kennedy (Summit, NJ), the Crusaders will need dramatic improvement on offense after scoring the fewest goals in league play last year. Scoring goals, however, is not the only problem.

The Crusaders also finished last in the league in goals against average, giving up over 11 goals a game. After last season’s 2-13 overall finish, including a 1-7 record in the league, it would be easy to be pessimistic. Undaunted, coach James Morrissey is maintaining high expectations.

“I expect the team to compete for four quarters every single game,” Morrissey said. “I expect to make the Patriot League tournament, and I expect to have a winning record at season’s end.”

Morrissey believes that both Kennedy and junior John Hannan (Manhasset, MA) are primed for big years on offense. On defense, Dave Henry (Davidsonville, MD) returns for his senior season. Also, do not be surprised to see freshman attacker Clay Harmaan (Menham, NJ) vie for immediate playing time.

2011 Overview: 2-13, 1-7 Patriot League
Returning Point Leaders-
James Kennedy, Jr. Attacker, Summit, NJ.
20 goals, 13 assists.
Colin McGeehin, Sr. Attacker, Newton Square, PA.
10 goals, 7 assists.
Andrew Morici, Sr. Midfielder, Manhasset, NY.
14 goals, 1 assist.
Biggest Win: 14-5 over Mercer.
Worst Loss: 15-5 to Vermont.

Scott Vogel, Assumption

Assumption College looking to build off last season

The Greyhounds are coming off their first winning season since 1995, and are hoping to keep that momentum going. Connor MacNeil (Wayland, MA) led the Greyhounds in scoring last year as a freshman, and the talented attacker is again set to lead the charge for Assumption in 2012. With pre-season All American junior, Chris Noyes (Tewksbury, MA), handling face-offs and senior attacker, Will Langevin(Concord, MA), back in the fold, the Greyhounds certainly should not lack scoring, but coach Mel McKee is concerned about his team’s progress on defense.

“Defensively, we should be good,” McKee said. “But goaltending is a little suspect right now, to be honest. We’re looking for competition at that spot, and freshman Matt Palubicki (Scituate, MA) is going to fight for playing time.”

Still, McKee expects a collection of veteran defensemen to make whoever is in net’s job easier as the Greyhounds pursue their goal of winning a conference playoff game.

2011 Overview: 9-7, 5-5 Northeast 10
Returning Point Leaders-
Connor MacNeil, So. Attacker, Wayland, MA.
20 goals, 34 assists.
Will Langevin, Sr. Attacker, Concord, MA.
33 goals, 18 assists.
John Murphy, Sr. Attacker, Walpole, MA.
22 points, 11 assists.
Biggest Win: 13-1 over Pace
Worst Loss: 13-0 to Le Moyne

Clark University needs to put it all together

Though the Clark University lacrosse program has steadily been on the rise in recent years, it has never finished a season with a winning record. It is a distinction that head coach Jeff Cohen has said is a bit embarrassing after last season’s 6-8 finish, but he believes the Cougars can achieve all of their goals this season, including a winning record.

“Everything is in place from a personnel standpoint,” Cohen said. “It’s going to be about us growing as a team. Mentally, we have to be tougher than we’ve ever been before, and everyone needs to take a team first attitude.”

The Cougars return senior leading scorers Chris Johnson (Amherst, MA) and Phil Winslow (Providence, RI) on the attack with 35 points each, and primary goaltender, senior Andrew Devito (Glastonbury, CT), returns in net. Cohen also expects big things from senior defensemen Travis Durkin (Woonsocket, RI) and Sam McAdam (Portland, ME). A winning record and capturing the Worcester City Cup are primary goals, and Cohen thinks beating a Division II team like Assumption College in the process could build his team’s confidence for the rest of the season.

2011 Overview: 6-8, 2-3 Pilgrim League
Returning Point Leaders-
Chris Johnson, Sr. Attacker, Amherst, MA.
24 goals, 11 assists.
Phil Winslow, Sr. Attacker, Providence, RI.
16 goals, 19 assists.
Nick Figliola, Jr. Midfielder, Weston, CT.
5 goals, 2 assists.
Biggest Win: 13-7 over Plymouth State
Worst Loss: 14-2 to Skidmore


Nichols College moving in a new direction

It has not been smooth sailing for Nichols College lately: the Bison have posted a record of 16-56 since 2007. There does appear to be hope on the horizon, however, with the hiring of decorated prep coach Eric Gobiel. After five years at the helm of the Wakefield High School boys’ team, Gobiel hopes to bring a winning attitude to Nichols.

“When you haven’t been extremely successful throughout your college experience, the first thing you have to learn is to not be satisfied,” Gobiel said. “I think the guys are really hungry right now, so I don’t think they’re going to settle for losing. We just need to get better playing the team game of lacrosse. Individuals can stand out, but it’s the teams that win.”
To win as a team, Gobiel stresses that Nichols will need to play to its defensive strengths. Senior goaltender Scott Gray (Annapolis, MD) is in his fourth year starting, and the Bison will look to him and a largely familiar cast of defensemen to keep them competitive in games. Gobiel is also hoping an entirely new offense he is installing will pay dividends, and believes attacking junior midfielders Macaulay Gillis (Northborough, MA) and Marc Miller (Trumbull, CT) will help carry the scoring load.
 

2011 Overview: 4-9, 2-8 Commonwealth

Returning Point Leaders-

Macaulay Gillis, Jr. Midfielder, Northborough, MA.
8 goals, 18 assists.
Matthew Caulfield, Jr. Attacker, Fairfield, CT
6 goals, 2 assists
Brian Girard, So. Midfielder, Norwood, MA
6 goals, 1 assist
Biggest Win: 16-8 over Becker
Worst Loss: 28-2 to Endicott
 

 

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