By Phil Bergman
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/25/12
There is excitement surrounding the Swarthmore College men’s lacrosse program heading into the 2012 season, as the Garnet appear poised for a big step forward after losing only four seniors and returning its 10 leading scorers from a year ago.
Under the guidance of head coach Pat Gress (17th season, Towson ’91), and assistants Eric Hoffman (Pennridge) and John Matthew Dunn, Swarthmore is coming off a 2011season in which it finished with a 4-11 (2-6) record – a record that is a bit deceiving. Last season, Swarthmore lost five games by less than two goals, including close losses to NCAA Playoff teams Widener, Colorado College, Gettysburg and Dickinson.
If Swat has any thoughts of moving up in the tough Centennial Conference — perhaps the best conference in Division III men’s lacrosse — they will rest on the performance of a deep and talented midfield. The offense, led by senior co-captain midfielder Max Hubbard, junior Wes Marcik, and sophomore attackman Jonathan Molloy may just be one the best in the entire Conference. Molloy was the Garnet’s points leader last year with 27, and was tied with Hubbard for goals (21) and Marcik in assists (six) . Also returning for the Garnet on offense this year are senior co-captain John Bukawyn (two goals, eight assists), senior Zach Belden (eight goals, four assists), junior Steve Selverian (eight goals, two assists), and sophomores Brendan Conway and Daniel Kowalyshyn (10 goals each).
The Garnet defense will be led by co-captain Matt Bowers. Bowers, the sole returning captain for the Garnet, will assume the leadership role of the unit. He is the team’s top returner in ground balls (35) and caused turnovers (9) from last season. Several other players are fighting for playing time on a defense that last season caused 150 turnovers, let in only 14 man-up goals, and cleared the balls 77.9% of the time last season.
Perhaps the biggest question heading into the season for the Garnet is who come out on top in the ever-ensuing battle for the starting goalkeeping position between senior Michael Brockway and sophomore Jonathan Cohen. Last season, Cohen started 60% of the games, leading the Garnet in wins (three) and saves (93). Brockway, however, in limited action played very well for the Garnet, leading the team in goals against (7.98) and save percentage (57.1%).
Once again in 2012, the Garnet will play a grueling schedule facing some of the top teams in the nation, including four ranked in the pre-season Top 20 by Lacrosse Magazine. The Garnet will open the 2012 slate at home against Eastern on February 25 (1:00). The team will then play a three-game Spring Break series against 320-rival Widener (March 3), Washington & Lee (March 7), and No. 16 Cabrini (March 10). Centennial play opens on March 17 at Ursinus.