New England Team Previews
By:  Staff
Updated:  03/01/2012 at 10:21 AM

Annapolis, MD - 

DIVISION II TEAM PREVIEW

 

CONNECTICUT COLLEGE- First year program well above the curve with experienced athletes across the board. With fall scoring leaders in Jack Wilson and Zach Gaucher, look for the offense to surprise teams in the newly formed conference with the likes of Hunter Bolling, Ben Schactel and PJ Mara.   Added into the mix a strong faceoff presence in explosive Jack Williamson, expect Connecticut College to make waves in New London. With a plethora of players to pick from, don’t be surprised if Jake Bundra, Ben Saliterman, Drew Gosnell, Mike Boyland, Denis Maloy, or Neddy Beckwith find their names in the stat book with multiple points. While Mark Finnegan has the makings of an All-America campaign in goal, it will be up to the heads up play of its defense of Nick Carluccio, Miles Petricone, Tom Olson, Graham Miller, and Phil Haynes to keep offenses off the board while the offense finds its way.

 

TRINITY –The Bantams are coming off a successful inaugural season in the NCLL, having compiled a 4-4 record. The top four performers from a dynamic attack unit all return in Michael Jordan, Quade Hansen, Andrew Kelly and Matt Nestor. Adding depth will be Alex Gaynor, who has converted from close defense to crease attack. There is plenty of talent in midfield as well with David Correll, Marcus Bullen, Jack Owens, Jake Gallagher, Will Korengold and Mike Belli all returning from 2011. Faceoff specialist Nick Stanley was superb last season, winning almost 70 percent of draws. Nik Shultz, Jon Bryant, Josh Smith, Brooks George, Ross Matthews and Amir Sharif-Emami anchor a deep, talented defense. There will be stiff competition in the crease throughout the season between goalies John Leddy, Jack McCarthy and Geraldo Parilla. "With a strong group of returning players determined to take the next step and a large crop of freshman looking to make an impact, Trinity is ready to make some noise this season in the newly formed New England Conference,” team captain Mike Belli said.

 

YALE –The Bulldogs have jumped into the New England Conference with a core of veteran players and new sights on their season. While averaging a win a season over the past four years, look for Yale to compete for every groundball, faceoff, and goal and challenge for top dog in the newly formed conference. With all teams beginning on new footing, Yale could be the dark horse and play the underdog role to a conference championship. Veteran attackman Andy Brown will need to have a supporting cast to help repeat as leading scorer and junior midfielder Cole Weston will definitely help. With longstick Reid Spiller, Yale’s defense should be in goodhands.

 

DIVISION I TEAM PREVIEW

FAIRFIELD –Fairfield compiled an 8-0 record that included a playoff victory over Albany last season before bowing out to Penn State in the National Tournament. The Stags return plenty of talent and all sights are on making a deep playoff run. On attack, senior Brennan Swan (Ridgewood High, NJ) is an outstanding feeder while junior Tucker Preiss (Morristown-Beard, NJ) is a strong dodger and shooter. Junior Alex Yee (West Babylon, NY) is the offensive midfielder most likely to draw the long pole while senior Devin O’Rourke is also a scoring threat. Long stick defensive midfielder Mike Sheridan (Mendham, NJ) is one of the top players on the team, a ground ball vacuum who possesses great speed, range and coverage ability. Senior Patrick McCahill (Seton Hall Prep, NJ) and junior Matt Hull (Chaminade, NY) will anchor the close defense in front of junior goalies Vinnie Mazzacone (Sleepy Hollow, NY) and Ryan Wilson (Grand Rapids Central Catholic, MI). "We want to repeat as New England champs and feel we have the talent to do so,” said Club President Hull. Dan Kane, who played varsity lacrosse at Division III powerhouse Gettysburg, is serving as head coach for Fairfield, which owns a 15-3 overall record in two seasons of existence.

 

MASSACHUSETTS –The Minutemen are set to play their first season in the NCLL after competing for many years as an independent. Team president Jeff Hale believes UMass can be a factor in the New England Conference right away as there is plenty of returning talent on hand. "We lost our main goal scorers and our entire starting defense, but we have plenty of people who can put the ball in the back of the net and the new defenders may be better than those from last season as they are bigger and faster,” Hale said. Goalkeeping may be the team’s strength as senior Julian Miller is a proven stopper and freshman Parker Burr looked fantastic in the fall. Those two will be fronted by a pair of veterans in close defenseman Jeff Hale and long stick midfielder Pat Cronin. That unit picked up a pair of talented transfers in Andrew Keefer from Roanoke and Michael Spellman from Anna Maria, both of whom will start on close defense. Junior Ryan Augustine and sophomore Kurt Boyde are the top guns on attack while senior Jay French and sophomore Tyler Hunt are the main scoring threats in midfield. Hale believes two other freshmen – attackman Eric Hammershalg and midfielder Sean Frackelton – will also contribute right away. Massachusetts showed its ability by placing second at the McGill Invitational Tournament in Montreal during the Fall campaign.

 

SACRED HEART –The Pioneers posted a 5-3 record in 2011, which was not up to the expectations of the players or team leadership. "While most teams would take that as a good season, not getting back to the playoffs was a disappointment for us,” Sacred Heart president Chris Brumber said. Sacred Heart lost to Fordham, Hofstra and cross-town rival Fairfield a year after capturing the NY Metro Championship and reaching the Elite Eight. The Pioneers lost a ton of senior leadership from the 2011 club with the attack and midfield positions particularly hardest hit. On the bright side, every starter returns on defense and that should be the strength of the squad. Zach Doyle (Masconomet, Middleton, MA), Colin Tiedmann (Iona Prep, Westchester, NY), Matt Tarducci (Branford, CT) and Dan Constantino (Bedford, NH) will anchor the defense. Brumber (Hicksville, NY) and fellow seniors Kyle Porter (St. Francis Prep, Flushing, NY) and Mike Macnamee (Bergen Catholic, NJ) must step up. Those three are all key figures in the midfield along with Eddie Burbes (Calhoun, Merrick, NY). "It will be a dogfight to win the league this year, but I think we can be right in the thick of things if we develop,” Brumber said. Alan Fiano (East Catholic, Manchester, MA) will be asked to shoulder some of the scoring load on attack.