Jan. 29, 2004
2004 SEASON PREVIEW
The 2004 Sacred Heart Men's Lacrosse team will have some new faces as head coach Tom Mariano looks to replace six starters and 16 letterwinners from last year's 7-7 team. Where some might be expecting a rebuilding year, coach Mariano has the Pioneers reloaded and ready to make their presence felt in the Colonial Athletic Conference.
"Our strength lies in our athleticism, our work ethic and our strong desire to be successful," stated Mariano. "To be so young is a strength and a weakness. Our guys are eager to learn, their hungry and excited about the season."
Despite losing such top players as Erick Perez and TJ Hutmacher on attack, Daniel DeVoe and Stephan Grabow in the midfield and Paul Lyons and Jason Walsh on defense, the Pioneers welcome back a solid nucleus while bringing in a highly touted freshman class. Seniors Ben Giamichael (Cortland, NY), Jorge Bravo (Long Beach, NY) and Mark Lewis (Milton, MA) will captain this year's squad and be counted on to help mold a young, athletic, hard working group.
"Our captains can show our young guys the level of hardwork and dedication that is needed to be successful," commented Mariano. "Ben, Jorge and Mark may not come off the field this year. We need Mark to help anchor us in the back while Jorge is a very versatile player who can take face-offs and play both in the midfield and on attack."
The Pioneers will be strongest in the midfield this season with five seniors in the mix. Giamicahel and Bravo head a crew that also includes seniors James Delmonico (West Islip, NY), Brandon Godbout (Ballston Lake, NY) and Ryan Bodrug (Sidney, British Columbia). Giamichael was third on the team in scoring last season finishing with 18 goals, second only to Perez, and four assists for 22 points. He also recorded 19 ground balls on the year. Bravo had a goal , four assists and 28 ground balls in 2003 and was SHU's most efficient face-off man winning 38-of-74 (.514). Delmonico scored five goals with six assists while Godbout and Bodrug each had a goal apiece on the year.
Big years are also expected from returnees junior Ryan Pettit (Shamong, NJ), sophomore Matthew Robideau (Massena, NY) and junior Dana White (Gorham, ME). Pettit had three goals and two assists with 39 ground balls. He also took 189 face-offs, winning 77. Robideau had an impressive freshman campaign, scoring nine goals with five assists. Newcomers Jonathan Corto (Orchard Park, NY), Blake Reardon (St. Michael, MN) and Joe Cavagnaro (Kinnelon, NJ) bring added depth and skill to an already deep position on the Pioneer roster. Defensively, Lewis and fellow senior Chirs Page (Westfield, MA) will give the Pioneers leadership early while the younger players develop as the season unfolds. Lewis played in 13 games last season, picking up 28 ground balls. Also returning is sophomore Chad Clark (Camillus, NY) who had 35 ground balls and 25 caused turnovers in 14 games last year. Freshmen Phil Gardner (Syracuse, NY), Will Clugston (Birmingham, MI) and Chase Caruso (Huntington, NY) will be thrust into the line up early on.
In goal, sophomore Thomas Hind (Farmingdale, NY) played and started all 14 games last season. Hind posted a 9.40 goals against average with 159 saves in 772:16 minutes played. Fellow sophomore Jim Millhausen (Arnold, MD) also returns off a 9.72 goals against in six games played a year ago. The two will again man the Pioneer cage battling for minutes this year.
The biggest gap to fill will be on the attack with the loss of the team's top two scorers in Perez and Hutmacher. The two combined to score 83 points on 51 goals and 32 assists with Perez garnering second team All-CAA honors last year. The trio of junior Christian Lynch (Northport, NY) and sophomores Adam Dzedzy (Glenmoore, PA) and Derek Platt (Annapolis, MD) are going to be counted on heavily to pick up the lost scoring.
"We need the team to step up and make plays," stated Mariano. "Platt, Lynch and Dzedzy on attack are going to have to step in and make contributions for us to be successful."
Dzedzy came on strong toward the end of last year, putting up 10 points on four goals and six assists. Platt finished the year with three goals and four assists while Lynch put up five goals and six assists. The Pioneers will also rely on newcomers Kevin Kimble (Framingham, MA) and Peter Greco (Hamburg, NY) to provide some scoring punch during the season.
The Pioneers will once again compete in the ultra competitive CAA, kicking-off the 2004 season on February 28th when Brown University pays a visit to Campus Field. The Bears are the first of nine teams Sacred Heart will face at home this season, with conference power Towson paying a visit in April. Villanova and Delaware also make the trip to Fairfield, while SHU will visit Hofstra and Drexel to round out the Colonial Athletic Conference slate.
"Our conference is always one of the top in the country," said Mariano. "The year is no different with each team improved from top to bottom. Every game will be a battle as we look to reach our goal of continuing to improve in the standings, competing for a tournament spot and challenging for the conference championship."