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Men’s college preview: St. Joseph’s is optimistic, to open Saturday at Lehigh

Wednesday, 9th February 2011

Categories Uncategorized, Posted 2/9/11
From Press Releases

The Saint Joseph’s men’s lacrosse team is excited for the 2011 season as it enters a new era in its first season in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Returning 31 letterwinners, including seven starters, to go with a talented group of 18 newcomers, head coach Pat Cullinan is confident his team is ready for the challenge the new conference brings.

“The team is excited about this opportunity and the attitude and work ethic has been fantastic,” said Cullinan. “Collectively, the fall and preseason practices, lifting and conditioning sessions, and the classroom efforts have been excellent and will positively impact the 2011 season.”

The Hawks open their season on Saturday at Lehigh at 1:00 p.m. and will seek out revenge after falling to the Mountain Hawks last season in a hard-fought 7-6 battle.

Leading the pack will be tri-captains senior Rob Saraceni (La Salle) and juniors Trevor Dougherty and Griffin Ferrigan. Saraceni will lead the defense with Ferrigan backing him up in net while Dougherty will manage the midfield.

“Trevor has a solid work ethic and a great knowledge of the game,” said Cullinan. “His lacrosse IQ allows him to lead by example and we will look to him to shore up the midfield this season.”

Saraceni, a two-year captain, returns after suffering his second season-ending injury last year. In 2009, he received the team’s Most Improved Award after picking up 20 ground balls, tallying 28 caused turnovers, and scoring a goal on defense.

“Rob is working hard to return from his injury,” said Cullinan. “He is a great communicator and we will look for him to anchor our teams defense.”

Ferrigan will look to lock things down between the pipes again this season and be more of a vocal leader behind the defense. The returning starter led the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in saves per game last year averaging 12.5 and totaling 150 saves on the season.

Although the Hawks graduated last year’s leading scorer, Sean Evans, the squad returns two attackmen who accounted for 23 percent of the team’s offense in senior Scott Cullinan (West Chester East) and sophomore Kyle Williams.

Cullinan, who scored 12 goals last season, was a 2009 Inside Lacrosse Magazine All-MAAC Pre-Season selection and as a freshman was named to the 2008 All-MAAC Second Team, scoring 21 goals and dishing five assists.

Williams, the team’s 2010 Rookie of the Year, was third on the team in goals (13) and assists (9) last season and, along with Cullinan, will lead a talented group of returning veterans on offense.

Junior attack Matt Dougherty (Conestoga) and sophomore midfielder Steve Dunn (Malvern Prep), who combined for 13 goals and six assists last season, will look to make a bigger impact on the Hawks scoring this year.

“We have a strong, veteran attack unit, with Kyle, Matt, Scott, and Kyle Mahoney all being key contributors returning this season,” said Cullinan.

Behind the leadership of Dougherty (Trevor) and Dunn in the midfield, will be a group of athletic veterans in senior Kevin Wadach, juniors Augustus Quinzani and Bobby Hurley (St. Joseph’s Prep), and sophomore Mark Anton.

At the faceoff, junior Chris Jenkins is joined by sophomore Keith Preston and freshmen Will Abbott and Anthony Cognetti (La Salle).

Newcomers looking to make an impact in the midfield will be freshmen Patrick Townsend and Johnny Simanski, while junior transfer from Ian Correia (St. Joseph’s Prep) and freshman Billy Annesley (Haverford School) will compete for time in the midfield.

Defensively, Saraceni and senior Pat Harner will lead a close defensive unit featuring Matt Germain, Bill Bonner (St. Joseph’s Prep) , Shawn Mowry, and Noah Weaver.

At the defensive midfield, short sticks Daniel Lieb and Pat Sinnott (La Salle) return to join Dougherty (Trevor) while returning long stick midfielders are Justin Rogers, Keith Belson (Strath Haven) and Colin Roemer.

Freshman Jack Moran (Malvern Prep) and Army transfer Ted Hospodar (St. Joseph’s Prep) will compete for minutes on the Hawks’ defense.

Backing up Ferrigan in goal will be sophomore Chris Moffa, who saw action in six games last season and tallied 17 saves, while transfers Pat Kurowski and Chris Stoken will provide depth behind the veterans.

Saint Joseph’s faces a challenging schedule as it enters the CAA, but Cullinan and the Hawks are excited about the opportunity.

“We will face the toughest schedule in school history,” said Cullinan. “We are preparing physically and mentally to meet this challenge.”

The Hawks’ tough slate consists of six teams ranked in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association coaches’ preseason poll, including fourth-ranked Maryland and Brown (20) in non-conference play and four conference opponents – Hofstra (9), Massachusetts (16), Delaware (17), and Drexel (18).

“We are looking forward to continuing our rivalries with Delaware, Drexel and Penn State, as well as establishing new competitive relationships with Hofstra, Towson and Massachusetts,” Cullinan said.

After the Hawks’ season opener at Lehigh, they return home to host Bryant (Feb. 19), one of five teams SJU will face for the first time this season.

In March, Saint Joseph’s will play Rutgers at home before a series of road games at Drexel (March 9), Brown (March 12), Maryland (March 20), and Penn State (March 26).

The Hawks return home in April to host Massachusetts (April 2), Hofstra (April 9), Delaware (April 16), and Penn (April 20) before closing out the season at Towson on April 30.

With a tough schedule ahead of them, the Hawks have one goal in mind.

“We will compete each day to the best of our abilities, strive to make daily improvements, both individually and as a team and battle through adversity as one,” said Cullinan.



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