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Men’s lax looks forward to upcoming season
That is what men’s lacrosse head coach Eric Fekete said about this years team. With 21freshman on the squad he is right because it will be interesting to see how the team handles all the new faces.
“Last year we lost so many one goal games,” Fekete said. “This year I hope we return hungry to get those wins.”
Gone is Mike Baglio. Bye bye to Joe Baglio. So long to Jeff Speed, Jim Lollo, Justin Smith and Brandon Talbot. Those players accounted for 95 goals last season. That was about 71% of the offense.
“We graduated a lot of guys especially key guys,” Fekete said. “They will be missed but we have a new class of experienced, talented players with some upperclassmen who have great experience of their own.”
With the Baglio’s gone the two top returning goal scorers will be senior attacker John Giordano and junior attacker Andy Pelletier. Both had 19 goals last season.
“They will not only lead our offense but provide valuable leadership as well.” Fekete said.
One thing that will be certain is that the offense will be more spread out. With 21 new players and a few players returning who did not get much playing time last season, depth will be a strength for the Bobcats.
“We are definitely more deeper this year,” Fekete said. “Depth and athletic will be our two main strengths this year.”
In the midfield Dan Kerrigan will be the lone senior starting. Other upperclassmen will be junior Matt Lindberg and sophomore Colin Thompson. Those players combined for five goals and three assists last season.
One of the new faces for the Bobcats this year will be midfielder Josh Murray who is a hometown player, hailing from Hamden and who played at Cheshire High School. He was first team All-American, All-State and was also named Connecticut State Player of the Year.
Other new additions to the midfield will be freshman Chip Schmidt, Mike Stottler and another hometown product in John Delaney who played with Murray at Cheshire High School.
At defense Kevin Browne, John Donnellan, Walter Celenski and Anthony Albano are the newcomers. They will join seniors Chris Ort and sophomore Jeff McLean.
“We will have a lot of mixes and matches out there,” Fekete said. “We will start about five freshman and all these players will give us great depth to use.”
Goal keeping will be strength for the Bobcats as they bring back three-year senior starter T.J Barnett. He started all 13 games last season and had a .573 save percentage and an 8.48 goals against average which ranked him third in the America East Conference.
“He will be counted on to keep us in games as well as be a leader,” Fekete said. “All of our juniors and seniors were able to stay low behind the Baglio’s and Talbot but now just like all the other seniors, T.J. has to step up.”
The schedule for the Bobcats will be very competitive as they continue to build their program into elite status. It includes trips to Air Force and Denver as well as to nationally ranked Ohio State (20), Yale (16), and Princeton (2).
“To be the best you have to play the best,” Fekete said. “We want to build a big program here and to do that we have to make those trips as a young program.”
The Bobcats were picked to finish third in the America East behind Albany and Stony Brook. Vermont, Hartford and Binghamton round out the preseason standings.
“Our goal is to definitely win the conference and get in the NCAA,” Fekete said. “But with this team it is more of a long term investment but we do have talent and it is going to be interesting to see how these freshman react to everything thrown at them.”