Feb. 12, 2009
Fairfield, CT - The Sacred Heart men's lacrosse team enters the 2009 season with the potential to be one of the most explosive squads in recent SHU lacrosse history. The Pioneers welcome back nine of their top ten scorers from last season as they continue their quest for a Colonial Athletic Association Championship.
Leading the Pioneers onto the field this year is senior captain Bobby Rushton (West Islip, NY). One of the top offensive midfielders for the red and white throughout his career, Rushton scored 14 goals last year and was fourth on the team in scoring. He will lead an offensive attack that also includes senior Dan Casciano (Syracuse, NY) and juniors Evan Morgan (Ashburn, VA) and Timmy Katz (Freeport, NY). Casciano and Katz each scored 22 goals last year, tops on the squad. Katz finished the season with a team-leading 37 points as he added 15 assists to go along with his goal scoring output. Morgan has an all-around game as he distributes and scores, having rung up 11 goals and 12 assists last season.
In addition to their big snipers up front, SHU returns three other key players who came off the bench last season. Senior Bobby Karl (Clifton, NY) (6 goals, 5 assists) and Stephen Gerhard (Centennial, CO) (6 goals 4 assists) were both in double digits in goal scoring while Nicholas Russo finished the year with 9 points.
Senior midfielder Zach Smith (Chittenden, VT) returns to the face-off circle after leading SHU last season winning more than 57 % of his face-offs taken. Smith won 106 of 185 face-offs and led the Pioneers with 52 ground balls in 2007. Smith was named to the Turfer/New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Preseason All-New England Team.
While the firepower returns up front for Sacred Heart, the backfield will be relatively new as the Pioneers lost their two best defenders and their starting goaltender to graduation. Senior Shawn McDonough (Carmel, NY) will be the key cog in the Pioneers defensive alignment. McDonough, who started all but one game for SHU in 2008 was second on the team with 35 groundballs. Senior Anthony Mortali (Branford, CT) and junior Brendan Foley (Hicksville, NY), both reserves last year, figure to be the other featured defenders for the Pioneers.
With the graduation of Ricardo Vargas, the Pioneers have a hole to fill in net. Sophomore Zack Frank (Islip Terrace, NY) and junior Tom Trgo (North Merrick, NY) will compete for the number one slot, with both players seeing time in the cage. Last season, Frank played in four games, making two starts, turning in a 7.63 goals against average. Murtha appeared in six games last season.
The Pioneers will welcome 19 new faces to their squad this season. The group includes three attackers, eight midfielders, seven defensemen and one goaltender.
Sacred Heart starts off its season February 14th at UMass. The following week the Pioneers return to Campus Field to host Bryant in their home-opener. SHU will travel west for a trip to Colorado to visit Denver and Air Force. After a visit to Hartford and a home game against Wagner, the Pioneers open up CAA play on March 21st against Hofstra and will host Villanova the following week.
April opens with a visit to Manhattan and two league trips to Towson and Delaware. After a visit to rival Quinnipiac, the Pioneers will celebrate Senior Day on April 18th against Drexel. The regular season comes to a close on April 25th at Robert Morris. The CAA playoffs are set for April 29th and May 2nd.