Men's Lacrosse Set to Open Season with Drexel on Saturday
Feb. 24, 2006
EASTON, Pa. (www.lafayette.edu) - Now in his fourth season as the head coach of the Lafayette men's lacrosse program, Terry Mangan will guide his charges, which include 13 freshmen and seven sophomores, in one of the top leagues in the country.
"We always tell our players to look for opportunities and challenges, and playing in the Patriot League offers a unique challenge," Mangan said. "We're fortunate that we don't have to look far to play some of the best teams in the country since they're right here in our league, and I think right now we have a league that's strong from top to bottom and every team has a chance to be successful every day."
One of the keys to competing against a schedule that will feature a number of nationally-ranked opponents is consistent output from the attack, and Andrew Horton will be the quarterback. Horton had six goals and three assists a year ago as a sophomore and starting all 13 games. He also exhibited his toughness, collecting 20 ground balls.
Leo Stinson scored in each of the final four games last season in the midfield, and has a good feel for the game which will enable him to make the move to attack for his senior year. Stinson scored five goals last season and had four assists, and will provide a big target for Horton and others in front of the goal.
The Leopards will look for big things from freshman John Galassi, a two-time All-Nassau County selection at Floral Park (N.Y.) who scored 138 career goals in high school. Galassi has a quality shot and will play in the crease.
Fellow freshmen Porter Curran and Brian Cronise will also be in the mix up front. Curran scored 38 goals and had 30 assists for the McDonough School, the top high school team in the country last spring as rated by LaxPower.com. Cronise had 27 goals and 26 assists at Liverpool (N.Y.).
"This attack is smart and will continue to get better the more they play with each other," Mangan explained. "We have to get production from this group."
Mangan has a stable of three face-off men that will allow him to go with the hot hand through the course of a game. Senior Brett Chalanick brings strength to the center circle and won 43 percent (63-of-146) of his chances in 2005. Junior Jamison Caldwell, who played in four games last season before suffering a broken collarbone, is smart and crafty. Freshmen Matt Magrini and Steve Nastro are likely to see action as well.
Five returning letterwinners make the offensive midfield the deepest spot for the Leopards.
"I am excited about our middies, and we need the returners to step up and play to their experience level," Mangan said.
Junior Sean Burek found the net seven times and contributing an assist last season. Burek scored in each of the first two games, then closed the year with two goals at Lehigh.
Senior Mike Scolaro has scored 14 goals while appearing in 40 games in his career at Lafayette. He had four goals and two assists while collecting 20 ground balls in 2005. Sophomore Ryan Spitz also gathered 20 ground balls and opened his career with four goals while playing in all 13 contests.
Trevor Ortolano missed his sophomore season due to injury after recording three points (two goals, one assist) in his first season with the Leopards. Mike Meirowitz enters his sophomore campaign coming off a freshman year in which he earned playing time as the season progressed and assisted on three goals.
Four freshmen will provide depth in the offensive midfield for Lafayette - Magrini, David Vollmer, Ray Shalley and Richard Selfridge. Vollmer is Mangan's first lacrosse signee from Texas where he was an all-state player.
Sophomores Mat Burke and Ryan Caso have a year of experience under their belts at the long pole position in the defensive midfield. Both players saw action in all 13 games last season. Nastro was All-Nassau County as a defender and will play close and with the long pole in his first year at Lafayette.
The Leopards have one of the best short stick defenders in the league in senior Keon West, who recorded team-highs with 34 ground balls and 13 caused turnovers during his junior season.
"Keon is athletic, smart and fast, and is terrific at clearing the ball," Mangan said.
Junior Andrew Arkema returns to College Hill from a semester abroad and will team up with West. Freshman Joe Howard, a do-everything middie at Garden City (N.Y.), had a great fall and is penciled in as a key contributor with the short stick as well. Chance Cobb, another junior, will also push for playing time at the position.
Junior Greg Pierce is Lafayette's most experienced defender and sophomore Peter VanderDrift is the most athletic to form a nice tandem in the back. Pierce collected 21 ground balls while starting 12 of the 13 games last season, and VanderDrift was second on the team with 30 ground balls. He started 10 games and played in all 13.
Freshman Alex Heller will start in the third spot and classmate Sean Halloran will also be counted on for playing time. Heller was another All-Nassau County selection who hails from Rockville Center, N.Y., while Halloran was an All-State defenseman at the Haverford School (Pa.) and led his team to the state championship game. Freshman Matt Mozer is returning from an injury he suffered as a senior at Kinnelon (N.J.) and also has the potential to contribute.
"This group will have to grow up and play at a high level right away, and then continue to get better," Mangan commented. "From top to bottom, they have been working hard and it is starting to show."
The Leopards' final freshman will likely have the largest impact on their season. Jeff Canfield, a teammate of Mozer at Kinnelon, will be the starting goalkeeper for Mangan's squad. A high school All-American, Canfield as recognized closer to home as an All-New Jersey "A" Division and All-Gibbs Division goalkeeper.
"Jeff is a competitor who really wants to lead. He likes having weight on his shoulders," Mangan said. "He's a good ball stopper and clears the ball well."
Sophomore Dan Wernau played midfield last season for the Leopards and has moved into the backup goalkeeper's role. He started working in the cage in the fall and has improved more than anybody on the team, according to Mangan.
"Dan is the epitome of a team player," the head coach said. "I wouldn't hesitate to throw him in there, and I know he will do well."
Lafayette's 2006 schedule includes three teams ranked in the preseason top 25 by Faceoff Lacrosse Yearbook and six others that are receiving votes. The Leopards will open the campaign at home against Drexel on Feb. 25. A two-game road swing ensues, with trips to Quinnipiac on March 4 and Villanova on March 7.
The Wagner Seahawks will visit Easton on March 11 before the Leopards embark on a stretch of three games in 10 days against nationally-ranked opponents. Navy, the two-time defending Patriot League champions and preseason No. 7 selection nationally, will host Lafayette on March 15. No. 15 Army will travel to Rappolt Field on March 21 before Bucknell, which checked into the final spot in the poll, welcomes the Leopards to Lewisburg on March 25.
Three contests away from home loom after Lafayette plays host to St. John's on April 1. A mid-week trip to Marist is scheduled between Saturday league match-ups at Holy Cross (April 8) and Colgate (April 15).
The Leopards will close the regular season when the Lafayette-Lehigh series is resumed on the Rappolt Field turf on Friday, April 21. The Patriot League tournament, which will pair the top four squads in the seven-team league, is scheduled for April 28-30.
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