Returning 37 letterwinners from the 9-6 squad of 2012, representing Wesleyan's 15th consecutive non-losing season with 13 of them winners, the 2013 Cardinals will be looking to continue their success when the season opener comes up Sat., March 9 at home against NESCAC and Little Three nemesis Williams. Last year, the teams met on opening day in Williamstown and Wesleyan returned with a satisfying 9-4 victory.
Coach John Raba feels the team's strength in the early going will be on defense with the return of three All-Americans. Team quad-captain and defender Lex Johnson '13 (#10, photo lower left), team quad-captain and long-pole middie Brendan Hanley '13 (#5, photo lower right) and defensive midfielder Sam Stanton '14 all garnered USILA honorable-mention All-America laurels in 2012 and are back to anchor the defense. Hanley paced the team in caused turnovers with 19 and had 28 ground balls while Stanton led the field players in ground balls with 42. Johnson had 14 caused turnovers and 30 grounders. Also back on defense are seasoned starters quad-captain Mike Robinson '13 (#1, photo upper right) and Elliott Albert '14. Thus, the Cardinals have their starting defense, long-pole middie and top short-stick middle back to form the core of the backfield. Gabe Nardi-Huffman '15 and Jon Guzman '13 also look strong at defensive middie along with long-pole Kevin Campbell '15 and defender Mikhiel Tareen '15.
In net, Wesleyan is looking for Mark Simmons '14, a former high-school All-American who has played in 21 games for Wesleyan, to lead the way with veterans JD Dieterich '13 and Justin Schick '15 also back.
While the Cardinals graduated four of their top five scorers from 2012, Coach Raba expects the team to generate lots of offense in 2013. Team quad-captain Aidan Daniell '14 is the highest returning scorer with 18 goals and 10 assists for 28 points, finishing second on the team in 2012. Graham Macnab '14 and Joey Porcelli '14 have proven to be offensive threats along with Max Rosenman '13, Matt Prezioso '15, Nate Ryan '15, Remy Lieberman '14, David Murphy '15, Ian Vasquez '14, Quentin DellaFera '15 and Christian Kennedy '14. Much is expected from some newcomers as the season unfolds including transfers Stephen Dodd '15 and Mike Giambanco '14. Coach Raba has every confidence his attack will develop into a formidable unit this season.
Jeff Giocondi '13 was the team's top faceoff man a year ago percentage-wise, winning 52.2 percent, and is the front-runner for the all-important role in 2013. Jasper Kubasek '14 also returns with faceoff experience as does Chris Pao '13.
Wesleyan has a 15-game schedule ahead, 10 of which involve NESCAC rivals. Last year, Tufts defeated Bowdoin in overtime in the NESCAC title game, then went on reach the NCAA semifinals. Trinity and Conn. College were the other two squads in the NESCAC semifinals. Wesleyan fell in the first round to Bowdoin, 6-4. Bowdoin made the NCAAs, losing in the second round.