February 10, 2013

Lacrosse Picked 4th in ODAC Preseason Poll

HAMPDEN-SYDNEY, VA - Hampden-Sydney Lacrosse was picked fourth in the ODAC Preseason Poll released on Friday. H-SC opens the season on February 16 with a 1 pm home contest at Lewis C. Everett Stadium against Mary Washington University.

The 2013 rendition of the Tiger Lacrosse team looks to have another strong season behind a veteran returning class complemented by a highly regarded recruiting class. This year will also see the addition of home night games to the schedule with the recent installation of lights to the Hellmuth-Pritzlaff turf field. H-SC's first night game will be on Friday, March 22 at 7 pm vs. Randolph-Macon College. In total, four games will be played under the lights on the turf field.

This year's non-conference schedule will be a challenging slate yet again. H-SC opens the season at home on February 16 against Mary Washington and returns one week later to host preseason #1 Stevenson University. H-SC's next two contests are on the road at Catholic on February 26 and at perennial NCAA Tournament participant Ohio Wesleyan on March 2. The last three road games find the Tigers playing three USA South members in Christopher Newport (March 6), at Ferrum (March 9), and Greensboro (Mar. 27)

The ODAC schedule will see two new faces this year with Bridgewater College's first year of varsity lacrosse and Shenandoah's first year as an ODAC member. H-SC opens ODAC play on March 16 with a home game against Bridgewater. The Tigers will additionally host ODAC foes Randolph-Macon, Guilford, Randolph, and Washington & Lee and will be visiting Shenandoah, Virginia Wesleyan, Roanoke, and Lynchburg.

While Hampden-Sydney did lose some of the most productive offensive players in the school's history, by no means will the Tigers having to rely on a bunch of unknown quantities on offense. Returning to the fold on attack include Mike Funk, Eric Gorsline, James Hughes, and Ryan Martin.

Martin had a breakout year as a junior that saw him post 27 goals and 13 assists, both best for second on the team, along with 40 points to rank third on the squad. He proved to be an efficient scorer with a deadly shot, finishing the season with a .500 shooting percentage, doing a lot of his damage on man-up with eight extra man goals. Gorsline had another strong season as well, posting 13 goals and a career-best nine assists for 22 points. While Funk and Hughes didn't put up big numbers as freshman, they showed great future potential while taking a back seat to the seasoned veterans on the team and will now be put in prime position to produce potentially big numbers in their second year on the hill.

Also helping bolster the offense as well as the defense in the midfield will be returners Thomas Armstrong, Bobby Fulton, Jess Hawthorne, Corey Mavromatis, and Brad Mostowy, and Fleet Jernigan.

Armstrong proved to be one of the top freshmen in the ODAC a season ago and was a factor for the Tigers from day one. He finished fourth on the team in points with 22, courtesy of 17 goals and five assists. Fulton played in all 16 games and provided valuable contributions on both ends of the field but particularly excelled on the defensive end.

Hawthorne scored nine goals along with one assists in 11 games but was limited towards the end of the season after missing five games due to injury then returning back from the injury. Mavromatis had a solid freshman season in 2012, scoring four goals and dishing out six assists while providing a composed, veteran-like presence in the midfield. He succumbed to a torn ACL in the Christopher Newport near the end of the season game but is back to 100% now.

Brad Mostowy played through a foot injury for much of the first half of the season but rebounded in the second half to have a strong season on face-offs. He finished the year wining 50% of his attempts, but won 50% or more of his takes in six of the last eight games. While Jernigan played in just four contests a season ago, he has improved tremendously since his inaugural season. He was one of the hardest shots on the squad and will contend for time on the second and third midfield lines.

Abbott Wallenborn also returns to the team this year. He was projected to make a major impact on the squad in 2012 but was sidelined all season with a foot injury. He received a medical hardship waiver and will be a freshman this season with four years of eligibility.

While the defense graduated two All-ODAC players and several other contributors, the Tigers still boast a strong group of returners in Casey Bendall, Cameron Sheppard, Ned Bowden, and Austin Black.

Sheppard earned Second-Team All-ODAC a year ago and will undoubtedly be in the mix for First-Team All-ODAC honors and potentially All-American. Bendall showed strong potential in his first season in 2012 after playing in 11 games. This season, he has shown up to practice in tremendous shape and should be a difference maker on the Tiger defense.

Last year Bowden was a factor on the man down defense and with his size and strong stick work, look for him to be a regular contributor on defense. As a junior, Black switched from goalkeeper to defense and transitioned smoothly. He demonstrated good stickwork and toughness and will be slotted in as the starting LSM this year.

The goalkeeper position will once against be a battle between senior and incumbent start Cody Hornung and sophomore David Noftsinger. Both have been performing well in fall and spring practices and challenging each other to get better. Do not be surprised to see both splitting time and starts. CJ White will also contend for playing time in the goal but could also see time taking face-offs after having shown promise at the X thus far.

The 2013 recruiting class is one of the strongest in years with talent across the board. The attack will be bolstered by a strong group of first-year players in Hunter Guttendorf and Grant Swaney. The two will contend for time from the beginning and could each make a noticeable impact for H-SC.

The notable midfield recruits include Kevin Wilhelm and Jake Koferl. Wilhelm will make his biggest contributions on the defensive end but is no slouch on offense while Koferl will primarily see work on face-offs and offense.

However, the core of this year's recruiting class is on defense. Colson Castilla, Kyle Fraser, Ali Salih, Angus Musser, and Aaron Hales will all see a lot of time on the field for the Tigers. The group provides much needed depth, size, speed, and skill that will provide H-SC with a deep and talented defensive group.