Losing just two starters from last year's 14-12 squad that finished 20th in the final national rankings after starting the season ranked 27th, Wesleyan has high hopes for the 2011-12 campaign. Among the seven starters back, six are sophomores who rose to the occasion a year ago as freshmen to help the Cardinals advance seven places in the collegiate ranks and give Wesleyan a preseason position of 19th to inaugurate 2011-12.
While team tri-captains Lucas Wherry '13 (main photo), Zander Nassikas '14 (photo insert upper right) and Ethan Moritz '14 (photo insert lower right) will provide the leadership for the young squad, John Steele '14 was the top performer a year ago as he went 19-6 at #1 and earned first-team all-NESCAC recognition. Wherry went 14-11 playing mainly at #8 while Nassikas posted a 17-9 mark, mostly at #4 as the player with the most individual wins behind Steele. He closed out the 2010-11 season in the #6 slot. Moritz saw most of his action at #7 with an 8-18 slate. Also back are Jeff Berman '14 (#5, 15-8), Alex Nunez '14 (#4, 16-10) and Chase Hochman '14 (#9, 6-8).
Three other returnees - Niick Cavallo '13, Keitaro Sagawa '12 and Blake Rosenbaum '12 - will vie with newcomers Blair Corbin '15, Mike DeLalio '15, Cameron Rahbar '15 and Daniel Sneed '15 for a spot in the starting lineup.
Wesleyan began the year Sat. and Sun., Nov. 19 and 20 with a trip to the Boston area for four matches during the Boston Round Robin. Opponents on Saturday were Bates and Northeastern while matches on Sunday featured Conn. College and MIT. The Bates match to start the year loomed as a great test for the Cardinals as the Bobcats are ranked #16 in the preseason and have defeated Wesleyan seven times in a row, including an 8-1 decision last year. With the Cardinals setting their sights on a top-16 finish this season, a win over Bates would have been a welcome result toward achieving that goal.
Wesleyan fashioned a 2-2 mark with wins over Northeastern and MIT. The Cardinals played without a couple of regulars in the lineup but still came away with a tight victory over Northeastern, winning 5-4. Weseyan also downed MIT, 8-1, while losing to Bates by the same margin and dropping a 5-4 decision to Conn. The lone winner vs. Bates was Blair Corbin '15, playing #7. Three team members enjoyed a 3-1 effort - Steele, Nunez and Delalio. Delalio and Rahbar had tough 3-2 wins over Conn while Moritz pulled out a 3-2 victory over Northeastern.
Wesleyan will be off until Fri., Dec. 2 when the Cardinals host the Wesleyan Round Robin, a three-day affair that spans to Sun., Dec. 4. The first-day opponent is Colby, followed by Fordham and Brown on Saturday, with Hobart and Johns Hopkins on taps for Sunday. For a full schedule of the Wesleyan Round Robin, please clock < here >.