FOREST, VA – The 2014 Hampden-Sydney Lacrosse team will be one of the most experienced teams fielded in recent memory, featuring 15 juniors and seven seniors. Head Coach Ray Rostan will lean heavily on these upperclassmen to improve upon the #4 ranking they received in the ODAC Preseason poll. The Tigers get their season underway on February 15 with a 1 pm contest at Mary Washington.
The senior class is midfielder heavy, featuring captain Bobby Fulton, Matt Kusel, and Arley Morelock. Fulton will continue to be a regular in the midfielder rotation where he excels on the defensive end but is also an asset on the offensive side of the field. Defensively, the class is led by returning All-ODAC student-athlete Ned Bowden along with Steve Louro and goalkeeper Luke Driscoll. Bowden was second on the team in caused turnovers last year with 25 and was first on the team in groundballs with 53, face-off specialists excluded. The only attackman in the group is Eric Gorsline, who has battled with injury for much of the past two years but is healthy and in outstanding shape.
The massive 15-man junior class is loaded with talent. At attack is Mike Funk, James Hughes, and Sam Rapoport. Hughes emerged as one of the top attackman in the ODAC a season ago as he tied for the team lead in points with 49 and had 34 goals en route to being named Second-Team All-ODAC. Funk similarly had a breakout season and was not too far behind with 42 points behind a team-leading 25 assists.
Junior midfielders include Thomas Armstrong, Evan Boden, Fleet Jernigan, Corey Mavromatis, and CJ White. Armstrong improved upon a strong freshman season and led or tied for the team lead in points (49), goals (36), and man-up goals (10) while being named an All-American. Not just purely a go-to offensive player, midway through the season he picked up a long pole and played some at long stick midfielder, causing eight turnovers. Jernigan saw a much increased role as a sophomore as he played in 14 games and will be counted on to be a more aggressive shooter as a junior. Mavromatis continued to excel as a distributor on offense as he tallied 24 assists and 29 points.
The defenders in the junior class include Casey Bendall, Mitch Cavallarin, Thomas Passenant, Sean Powley, Ali Salih, and Jim Woodward. Bendall improved tremendously in his sophomore season as he played in all 17 games and was a regular on the Tigers stout backline. Thomas Passenant is a Division I transfer from Hofstra and played on the dominant Charlotte Country Day High School team, he is expected to be an immediate major contributor. Ali Salih played his first year at H-SC in 2013 and proved to be a valuable asset for the Tiger defense. This year he will contend for a starting defense role with the graduation of Austin Black and Cameron Sheppard.
Rounding out the junior class is goalkeeper David Noftsinger. Noftsinger took over the starting role last year en route to being named Third-Team All-ODAC. He posted a goals against average of 7.62 with a 55.3% save percentage.
A 13-man sophomore class features several players that will look to make an impact this year. Kyle Fraser and Aaron Hales are battling it out for the starting LSM role, but Hales is also in contention for a starting defender spot. Hunter Guttendorf is expected to get some run on the second midfield line, while Jake Koferl will play on the first midfield line and also be the primary face-off man. Angus Musser is also competing for a spot as a starting defenseman. Abbot Wallenborn will return to his spot on the first midfield line, and Kevin Wilhelm is in strong contention to be the starting short stick defensive midfielder.
The Tigers have another strong freshman class this year. Playing opportunities will not be aplenty with a such a large contingent of returners, but a few have emerged as instant impact players. Sam Craighill, a transfer from Jacksonville University, and Robbie Bugbee will likely get time on the second and third midfield lines. Duncan Morris has had a tremendous start thus far in practice and will be a starter on the attack, and Reid White will be a factor on the second group of attackman.