Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/5/09
From Press Releases
The St. Joseph’s men’s team returns 13 of its top 17 points-leaders from 2008 and has much optimism as it gears for Saturday’s local college opener (1 p.m.) at rival Delaware.
The 2008 squad (4-11 overall, 4-4 in MAAC) graduates mainstays like Steve Varga (Strath Haven) and Pat Maxey, but the wealth of talent that will be featured on Hawk Hill for head coach Pat Cullinan this spring is one of the best in years.
Led by All-MAAC First Team honoree and senior tri-captain Erik Hotaling, the SJU defense should be one of the stingiest around. Hotaling is second all-time in saves at St. Joseph’s and is the career leader in goals against average (9.02), the only thee-year goalkeeper in school history to be below 10.
Joining Hotaling in the back is fellow senior tri-captains Tom Wengenosky (46 groundballs) and Pat Williams. Wengenosky, an All-MAAC Second Team selection was tied for the team-lead in ground balls last season with Maxey.
Williams was fourth in ground balls (35). The defense and midfield is shored up with veterans Matt Ryan, R.J. Bopf, and Ryan Tessler. Ryan has started 18 games of his 36 appearances for the Crimson and Gray, while Bopf and Tessler are midfield regulars.
Tessler was SJU’s starting faceoff man, winning 73 for the season and leading the team with a .462 win percentage. Up front, SJU’s offense is a serious strength in 2009. The five-headed monster of Scott Cullinan (West Chester East), Chris O’Neill, Alex Lopes, Sean Evans (Henderson), and Drew Mandela will pace the Hawks.
Combined, the quartet amassed 93 of SJU’s 165 points in 2008 and account for over 82 percent of the returning offense. Cullinan – the coach’s son – earned All-MAAC Second Team honors as a freshman, leading or tying for the lead in seven statistical categories: goals (28), points (31), shots (85), shot percentage (.329), man-up goals (9), penalties (10) and penalty minutes (7:30).
Joining Cullinan in the attack will be O’Neill who was third on the team in points with 21, scoring 15 goals, while Lopes was the team-leader in assists (17). Last year’s newcomers are this year’s veterans as Mandela and Evans, transfers last year, will bolster SJU’s offense once again.
Mandela has a breakout game at Marist last year scoring the final four goals to win a four-overtime thriller, while Evans was clutch leading the team in game-winners (2) and second on the team in face-off wins (43). A slew of reserves look to crack the starting lineup and provide St. Joseph’s with sufficient depth and flexibility for the coaching staff.
Role players like Joey D’Avanzo, Dean Bellos (Garnet Valley), Peter Slowik, Chad Dudley, Keith Belson (Strath Haven), Chris Cole (Downingtown East) and Paul Crisafulli are some of the more veteran and seasoned players at coach Cullinan’s disposal. Additional reserves include Kevin Wadach, Geoff DeSoye, Devin Daly, Pat Harner, Dan Marroccoli, and Rob Saraceni (La Salle).
The freshman class includes high-scoring transfer Charlie Gorman and defensive stalwart Shawn Mowry. The Hawks face a challenging schedule as they start the season at Delaware and Lehigh before their home-opener against Hobart. That game marks the beginning of a four-game set at Finnesey, which includes matches against Rutgers, Bellarmine and Drexel.
The MAAC Lacrosse League slate begins with two of the top teams in the league as SJU will travel to Siena and Canisius in back-to-back weekends before returning home against VMI. A nother tough road trip to Providence is next before rounding out conference play at Mount St. Mary’s then at home against Marist and Wagner.
The regular season wraps up at Penn State while the MAAC Championship is set for May 1-3. The difficult schedule will fit appropriately with a talented team that has its eyes set on the ultimate prize, a MAAC Championship Title and its first berth to the NCAA Championship.
St. Joseph’s Men’s Schedule Date Opponent Location Time
02/07/09 at Delaware Newark, Del. 1:00 p.m. 02/14/09 at Lehigh Bethlehem, Pa. 1:00 p.m. 02/21/09 vs. Hobart Philadelphia, Pa. 12:00 p.m. 02/28/09 vs. Rutgers Philadelphia, Pa. 1:00 p.m. 03/04/09 vs. Bellarmine Philadelphia, Pa. 2:00 p.m. 03/10/09 vs. Drexel Philadelphia, Pa. 7:00 p.m. 03/14/09 at Siena * Loudonville, N.Y. 1:00 p.m. 03/21/09 at Canisius * Buffalo, N.Y. 1:00 p.m. 03/28/09 vs. VMI * Philadelphia, Pa. 1:00 p.m. 04/04/09 at Providence * Providence, R.I. 2:00 p.m. 04/11/09 vs. Manhattan * Philadelphia, Pa. 1:00 p.m. 04/15/09 at Mount St. Mary’s * Emmitsburg, Md. 4:00 p.m. 04/18/09 vs. Marist * Philadelphia, Pa. 1:00 p.m. 04/22/09 vs. Wagner * Philadelphia, Pa. 4:00 p.m. 04/25/09 at Penn State University Park, Pa. 7:30 p.m. *Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference games MAAC Lacrosse Tournament 05/01/09 MAAC Semifinals Buffalo, N.Y. TBA 05/03/09 MAAC Champoinship Buffalo, N.Y. TBA