Top-15 Ranked Men's Lacrosse Looking to Make a Run at NESCAC Title as 2014 Season Unfolds
Returning the bulk of the team's offense from a strong 13-5 squad in 2013, hopes are high for the Cardinals to make another run at a NESCAC title, something the squad achieved during the 2009 campaign.
A year ago, Wesleyan scored 182 goals in 18 games, better than 10 a contest on average, and all but 15 of the tallies were scored by returnees for the 2014 season. With an extensive group of veterans and a number of solid newcomers, head coach John Raba is optimistic all facets of the game will fall into place as the season unfolds. Wesleyan goes into the 2014 season ranked 12th nationally in the preseason Inside Lacrosse Division III poll after finishing 14th in the final 2013 poll.
Using as much as a five-man rotation on attack, the Cardinals are deep behind the talents of Matt Prezioso '15 (17-5-22), Quentin DellaFera '15 (18-8-26), David Murphy '15 (18-17-35) and Remy Lieberman '14 (22-8-30). Lyle Mitchell '16 is expected to see additional time this year.
Wesleyan's offensive midfield will be anchored by Graham MacNab '14 (24-7-31) and Aidan Daniell '14 (21-6-27, #9, photo insert upper right) as each was an honorable-mention All-American a year ago. Mike Giambanco '14 (19-11-30) had an outstanding first year as a Cardinal after transferring to Wesleyan. Much is expected from Nate Ryan '15, Niall Devaney '16, Ian Vasquez '14, Greg Pietroforte '16, Jackson Arnold '16, and Chris Walsh '14, who also could see action on attack.
Sam Stanton '14 (#16, left side photo), a two-time All-American and short-stick defensive middie of the year in 2013, is back to lead the defensive midfield corps with help from Zach Gaitz '14 and Joe Porcelli '14. Jasper Kubasek '14 is the top returning faceoff man while incoming transfer Jared Jacobs '16 also had a bead on the job.
Top returnees on defense include three-year starter Elliot Albert '14 (#4, photo insert lower right), Bennett Sluis '14 and Mikhiel Tareen '15 while LPM Kevin Campbell '15 also will be a key ingredient on defense. Wesleyan will have to make up for the loss of three former All-America defenders in Lex Johnson '13, Mike Robinson '13 and Brendan Hanley '13, but the Cardinals are expected to continue to rely on the zone format as their defensive structure.
Back in goal for a third year as a starter is Mark Simmons '14 (6.14 GAA) with support from Justin Schick '15.
Wesleyan has a 15-game schedule slated for 2014, beginning with a NESCAC matchup at Hamilton March 1. After five games up north, including contests vs. Bates and Middlebury during the first two weeks, Wesleyan heads south for a pair of games in Florida against Clarkson (3/18) and Keene St. (3.21) before resuming its northern schedule that concludes with seven straight NESCAC games.
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