D3 Top 20: Part IV D3 Top 20: Part IV D3 Top 20: Part IV D3 Top 20: Part IV

Any discussions of the best DIII men’s lacrosse team year-in and year-out better include Salisbury. Any discussion of the best college lacrosse programs, regardless of division, need to include Salisbury. Over the last five years, the Sea Gulls have only lost two games while winning four national championships. Their overall record since 2002 is an astounding 102-2. In that run, they’ve averaged more than 17 goals per game every year except for 2006 when they averaged 15.4 and lost in the championship.

Clearly, a large part of Salisbury’s success has hinged on their ability to put the ball in the back of the net. Don’t expect that to change in 2008. With all that offense, it’s easy to sometimes overlook some of the great defensive players they’ve had. The Sea Gull defense, which tied for the nation’s best in 2007, allowing just five goals per game, might not have too many familiar faces this year.

“This is the biggest loss that I can ever remember at the defensive end,” said long-time head coach Jim Berkman. “We were virtually wiped out at defense. We lost our goalie, four of the top five close defensemen, our two D-middies, we lost our long pole.”

They lost overall Player of the Year, LSM Chase Caruso, and DIII Defenseman of the Year, Chris Heier. Add first-team All-American shorty Luis Gonzales, third-teamer Kyle Hartzell and HM AA goalie Max Zarchin, and you have a pretty tall order. Of course, Salisbury can say, arguably more than any other team in the collegiate lacrosse world, that they don’t rebuild, they reload.

“We’re still feeling out some guys, we got some new guys coming in,” said Berkman. “It’s a big challenge to replace that many kids at that one end. We definitely have a huge hole to fill, but there’s some guys that have been waiting in the wings and a couple new guys. Hopefully they’re going to adapt to our style of play, and we’re going to be able to get it done. I think we can still play a similar style of defense that we’ve always played, wear our opponents down and allow us to score some goals. The biggest part is getting a little bit better every individual defensively and team defensively.”

So far those new faces held DI St. Joe’s to an 8-1 halftime score in a scrimmage. They also held tough in a 14-13 (unofficial score) scrimmage against DI runner-up Duke.

One of the few guys back with a lot of experience is senior Ben Sandlin. The 6’2”, 215-lb senior captain will be called to lead a relatively green unit. The 6’5” senior Ryan Phillips was starting in the preseason, but recently broke his thumb. When he comes back he’ll certainly fit the mold of the tall, physical Salisbury defenseman. Junior Kevin Maynard and sophomore Jeff Breeding, a former high school AA, will both be in the mix at close defense. Throw freshman Collin Tokosch into the mix and Salisbury’s defense will continue to be a tall, physical group that you can expect will guard teams all over the field.

“We have about five or six guys down there that are pretty good. We just gotta see who’s going to rise to the top with a little more experience,” said Berkman.

The last couple of years Salisbury has had the benefit of playing with short-stick defensive midfielders that were as good as many teams’ long poles. This year former offensive player Kevin Kustron (23 points in ’07) makes the switch to D-middie. Berkman is hoping to emulate what they did last year with midfielder Mike Edwards. Edwards scored 26 points as a junior offensive middie, yet was switched to D-middie as a senior. While his points total dropped to just 10, the Gulls were able to capitalize on his ability to play solid defense and provide a threat in transition with his speed. Senior Anthony Collica was the third man on the D-middie group last year and looks to step up his impact this year. Sophomore Will Poletis will look to use his speed to impact the D-middie unit as well. As for the LSM position, senior Ryan Browning and sophomore Connor Burgasser will assume the duties.

“We have two really good long poles. I don’t think we’re going to miss a beat at long pole,” said Berkman. “I think we’re still going to be able to play the pressure kind of defense especially up at the midfield with our long pole. I think we have two real athletic, athletic long-sticks that can run with people all over the field and pressure them.”

Junior Riley Clark holds the early advantage in replacing Zarchin in goal. He’s pushed by JUCO defensive player of the year from Anne Arundel CC, Zach Krissoff. The Sea Gulls lost one of the best faceoff men last year, but return another good one, senior Ryan Brown.

“He’s better than ever. He’s just a good all-around lacrosse player,” said Berkman.

He’ll be pushed by Ryan Finch, a sophomore who transferred in from Messiah where he was the Middle Atlantic Conference Rookie of the Year with a 63.9 win percentage.

Salisbury’s offense isn’t without question marks as well, but they return some of the biggest threats in the country. Matt Hickman and Greg Titus return for their senior years and their second years starting at Salisbury. JUCO All-American Patrick Bonanno and New York Tech transfer Jake DeLillo are experienced juniors that will round out the attack.

“I think Titus and Hickman are two of the best attackmen in the country,” said Berkman. “We lost two guys from the first line, and we lost a first team All-American on attack. I don’t think scoring goals is going to be our problem. I think we have some pretty good sticks on O. We definitely can score goals; we move the ball extremely well. I think we’re going to have a great man-up unit this year.”

The offensive midfield was hurt by the graduation of first-team AA Matt Dasinger, and then further damaged when senior Brett Yoder was deemed ineligible for this season. Despite those losses, they return the reigning Midfielder of the Year, Kylor Berkman. Berkman’s 35 goals and 44 assists built on a successful freshman year and not only put him in the elite of DIII’s midfielders, but put him with the best all-around players in DIII. Joining Berkman on the first line will be a sophomore from Florida, Mike von Kamecke and a junior transfer from Springfield College, Stephen Krasco, who ran man-up and first line at SC before sitting out at Salisbury last year.

“Did you see the championship game last year?” asks Coach Berkman. “Remember the kid that came around the goal, #4, and he inverted and took their defenseman and then he bounced the ball real close to his feet and it bounced up into the corner. Then he was the kid that also made the huge hit in the middle of the field. That’s Mike von Kamenke. He’s a sophomore. He’s a pretty talented player.”

The second line will be as good as many other school’s first lines. Seniors Kyle Burto, Mike Lennon, and Bruce Richardson all have a lot of experience and will look to make their marks in their final year. Burto is the most decorated of the group with 27 points in ’07. They’ll be pushed by a host of young, talented players. Freshman Shawn Zordani can break down the defense, Junior Matt Berry is the fifth attackman, and lefty sophomore midfielder Brian Schuster all might get the call if someone gets hurt or doesn’t produce.

The critics want to point out that Salisbury has a weak conference schedule, but they also have one of the strongest out-of-conference schedules possible.

“It’s something like six consecutive weeks to start the season we play a team that was in the playoffs,” said Berkman.

Don’t expect the group to be phased despite the questions. Until further notice, Salisbury is the team to beat in DIII.

“Until someone beats them, we can talk all we want,” said one Southern Region coach. “People have gotta put up and someone’s gotta beat them, and beat them a couple of times, not just a fluke. They need to be 10-4 before anyone thinks any differently.”

Roanoke’s youth showed last year in the program’s worst ever loss, to Salisbury (28-4) on March 4, 2007. At one point in the Salisbury game, they found themselves down 18-0. Luckily, they matured quickly and helped the Maroons make a run to the NCAA quarterfinals. After the success of the 2006 senior-laden group that pushed Salisbury to the brink in overtime in the semifinals and who had beaten eventual champs Cortland earlier in the year, 2007 was going to be a rebuilding year. They took the momentum from the Salisbury loss, followed by three-straight one-goal losses to ranked, or near-ranked teams, and pulled together to win 10 straight and their second straight ODAC championship.

This year’s team has high hopes and expectations after minimal graduation losses and a lot of experience gained in 2007. The biggest loss is three-time All-American attackman Jon Mason. The Roanoke career goals (247) and points (282) leader will be missed after a season that saw him garner DIII Attackman of the Year. The lefty Canadian finisher is leaving some great players to fill his absence. Third-team All-American Zach Thomas has amassed more than 175 career points. The lax rat gets around, as you’d be hard-pressed to find a summer tournament lacking a Roanoke helmet with a #17 sticker on the side.

“He’s pound-for-pound one of the toughest players in Division III,” said head coach Bill Pilat.

Thomas will be joined by 2007 ODAC Rookie of the Year, Pat March. March racked up 34 goals and 15 assists in his first year for the Maroons. They’ll be joined by sophomore Ashton Hotchkiss. Hotchkiss came on as a freshman with 17 goals and five assists.

While the attack has the potential to be scary, the midfield might be scarier and deeper. The unit is led by junior Chaz Carslon. During his sophomore season he racked up 44 assists and 23 goals while earning second-team All-American honors. Carslon is one of the most dynamic middies in Division III and provides arguably the biggest challenge to Salisbury’s Kylor Berkman’s bid for a second-straight Midfielder of the Year award.

Senior Billy Cameron has proven himself as one of the best faceoff midfielders around. Fortunately for Roanoke, he also has the unique ability to stay on the field and play either offense or defense. Last year he saw more time on offense and racked up 27 points, while taking more than 300 faceoffs for a 58 percent success rate. With the new faceoff rules in place this year, watch for Cameron to be deadly if he has the energy to take the draws and the opposing FOGO jumps early. Those fast break opportunities might be easy goals for this talented group. If Cameron can’t faceoff, watch out for junior Josh Rea. Rea was even better than Cameron last year winning 66.5 percent of his 221 draws. Getting the ball won’t likely be a problem for the Maroons.

Depth is going to be important for Roanoke because of the exciting style they like to play. Look for Oregon-native, sophomore Dan Cochran to build on the experience he gained last year. Sophomore Michigan-native Steve Furdock had 21 goals and 11 assists his first year on the East Coast. Watch for the skilled and motivated middie to make an even bigger impact this year. Freshmen Drew Manley and Trey Keeley, junior Butler-transfer Ben Sultze, along with a bunch of surprise transfers are going to fight for time and create competition during practice at the midfield.

Defensively, junior Sam Love is poised for a breakout year. The defenseman transferred from Salisbury a year ago and picked up 64 groundballs in his first year at Roanoke. He’s now set to follow in the footsteps of his brother, Ben Love, the former four-time All-American defenseman at Roanoke. Joining Love is four-year contributor Mike Brennan (49 gbs). Brennan is versatile enough that he can play LSM or close defense. Junior Chase Phelps is a two-year starter at close defense and sophomore Stephen Simmons returns at the LSM slot after a three-goal, three-assist, 39-gb 2007.

Ever the goalie guru and still holder of Roanoke’s all-time saves record, Pilat expects another battle in goal this year. Last year, Jake Dorsey started the second half of the season and played great, according to Pilat, as the team rattled off ten-straight wins. He expects Junior Nick Peck to continue to push Dorsey.

“Both are athletic and battle-tested,” said Pilat. “There is only one Matt Madalon [two-time second-team All-American that graduated in 2006], but if I have my way, these guys will be very good in their own way.”

Success at Roanoke isn’t exactly a surprise. Pilat’s career .660 winning percentage over the last twenty years is tops at Roanoke. This year, with a few of the best players in the country and a core of talented, younger players, albeit unproven, the sky is the limit for the Maroons. Their run-and-gun style of play and the stable of athletes might be DIII’s best shot to dethrone Salisbury.

“We are, and have been since 1992, a run-and-gun team,” said Pilat. “We finished up the past three seasons as one of the top-five scoring offenses in Division III against one of the toughest schedules. We push out and pressure on defense and go to the goal at all times, even when we are man-down. We always pride ourselves on playing hard and going hard for groundballs every game.”

Arguably the youngest team to make the NCAAs last year, this year they’ll have to rely on the leadership, speed, and depth up-and-down the roster as they play one of the South’s most brutal schedules. Despite no longer having the regular season match-up with Salisbury, their season starts quickly when Cabrini takes a trip down south. They follow that up with contests against RIT, St. Mary’s, Kenyon, Dickinson and Tufts, all that before hitting the ODAC schedule, which if you’ve been following, will be just as good as ever.

When people think of Wesleyan and the success they’ve had on the lacrosse field the past few years, one of the first, and often only, things people talk about is their zone defense. This year Wesleyan might be the fastest team to ever play Division III lacrosse.

“I think the potential is our speed and athleticism,” said head coach John Raba. “We had 27 kids this year run the 40-yard dash in the 4.6 or better range. So that’s a lot of kids who can really run. We really emphasized that, to become a better athlete. We emphasize that more here than catching and throwing and everything else, the athleticism we really try to emphasize.”

The added speed and athleticism may be the difference for the Cardinals this year as they look to reach the next level after two straight one-goal losses to Cortland in the NCAA semi-finals.

The biggest question mark for Wesleyan this season is how to replace one of the best goalies in school history, Charlie Congleton. Without fall ball, and with spring practice not beginning until Friday, February 15, as per NESCAC rules, the scenario was still uncertain. Junior Mike Borrero was the back-up last year and has big game experience from his high school days at St. Anthony’s. He’s pushed by two other goalies that Wesleyan also feels good about.

“It’s going to be new for him,” said Raba. “We think he has the tools to help us, but obviously he’s not the only key. How quickly we can gel and come together. Athletically, we feel we’re as big, strong and physical as we’ve ever been with some of the kids we have in our program. But it doesn’t mean it’s going to translate to only giving up five goals a game.”

Whoever earns the starting nod will have some experience in front of him. Junior Spike Malangone was a second-team All-American in 2007 after scooping 90 groundballs and adding three assists in transition.

“He’s a really intelligent player,” said Raba. “He’s got the size, he’s big and athletic, a lot of game sense, doesn’t get himself into bad positions, has a really good stick, all the things you kind of want in a defenseman. He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. He’s a real leader. He’s the only junior captain I’ve ever had in my 12 years here.”

Zach Librizzi is another captain on the defensive side for the Cardinals. The 6’2”, 210-lb defenseman was a second-team All-NESCAC quarterback in the fall. He brings the same leadership and athletic ability to the lacrosse field. Behind those two are a bunch of athletic kids fighting for playing time, with some freshmen in the mix as well.

While the defense takes a little time to gel, the offense shouldn’t miss a beat. The three starting attackmen return for their third year as a unit. Junior Jason Ben-Eliyahu made it on the stat sheet more than the others with 57 points; junior Russ Follansbee earned HM All-American, and senior Grayson Connors has more than 100 career points.

“To them, they know how to play at a high level, they understand what it takes,” said Raba. “The pressure doesn’t really bother them even when they were freshmen, which was pretty impressive. The good thing is they haven’t really rested on what they’ve done in the past. I think they’re really working hard to become more athletic and to do the things necessary to try to keep advancing and try to win a national championship”

If the starters don’t get it done, or even just to create match-up problems, sophomore Jon Killeen and junior Jeff Strittmatter will see plenty of playing time, possibly at midfield. Killeen was the NESCAC rookie of the year with 38 points. After Follansbee got hurt in the NESCAC semifinals, Strittmatter stepped up for the Cardinals.

Senior Chris Jasinski returns for his final year to lead the midfield looking to build on his 24-point 2007. Senior Alex Kaufman is another four-year starter that moved from D-middie to be an offensive threat. He had six goals and 14 assists in ’07. Sophomore Lonny Blumenthal is the fastest kid on a speedy team with a 40-yard time in the 4.4 range. He exploded onto the scene as a freshman after arriving from Missouri and racked up 17 points. Juniors Dan Latzman and Adam Kirk are also viable threats at the midfield. Both scored two goals against Middlebury in their 13-9 NCAA tournament win.

“Then there’s a ton of other guys fighting,” said Raba. “We’re not sure if we’re going to go with some of those attackmen in the midfield; we have some other middies and other threats that we feel good about. I think speed wise we’re very fast at midfield. A lot of the preseason is kind of figuring that out pretty quickly with some of our scrimmages and those types of things.”

The speed and athleticism at the small school in Middletown, CT will be important as they look to get over the next hump. The Cardinals, despite their success, have still yet to win a NESCAC title, with four-straight losses to Middlebury in the conference championship game.

“We’ve had some opportunities; we just haven’t quite done that yet as a group,” said Raba. “We really want to focus on our conference first, get into the season playing our best lacrosse towards the end of the year, progressing as the year goes on. Where we are as an early March team is very different from where we’re going to be as a late April team. Our progression is really key. When we come to practice, it’s got to be to get better each day. Day-by-day and week-by-week having certain goals and just getting better. Development is the big thing too. As that happens you’re hoping that your younger guys that can help you are developing enough and getting the experience they need, so that when you make that push towards the end, there’s always going to be the point where guys are banged up, some pulled hamstrings, something happens.”

They have less than three weeks to get ready for a season with lofty expectations.

“It’s going to be interesting the first few weeks,” said Raba. “If you look at the schedule, three of the first four games are top 20 teams. We don’t have a lot of time to see how it goes. We’re going to have to figure things out early, and if we can do that, we’ll see pretty quickly where we’re at because we’re playing some pretty good teams.”

Playing in the NESCAC won’t give Wesleyan much time to rest mid-season. That’s also the reason they’re one of the favorites in the North to be in Boston in May.

“I think we have an advantage that we play in a good conference,” said Raba. “I think our guys are used to playing good teams all the time and are battle-tested. Anything can happen, and I think our guys have a good understanding of that and respect everybody and can kind of lay it on the line every time we hit the field.

“We don’t feel like that we should beat every team hands-down by just showing up,” he said. “We really have to work each game and focus on that next team. It’s proven, you look at the records in the NESCAC, and there’s always a shocker during the week. Don’t overlook anyone. Because once you start doing that, that’s when the problems start to happen.”

Middlebury put the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) on the national stage in the 90’s. Long-playing competitive lacrosse, the NESCAC now has three legitimate NCAA championship contenders. While the Centennial, ODAC, and Empire 8 conferences are all competitive, no other conference is quite like the NESCAC. We have Wesleyan ranked #3 in the country, Tufts at #4 and Middlebury at #11. Not only will we not be surprised when they lose to each other in the season, but we expect Middlebury to beat one of them. We also expect all three to give fits to teams outside the conference.

That being said, Tufts is in a unique position to continue to build and become the next NESCAC power. They’re in the middle of the program’s most successful period ever. In 2007, the Jumbos earned the program’s first ever NCAA tournament berth. They lost one of the best defenseman in the program’s history in second-team All-American Wiley Dornseif and HM AA attackman Mark Warner, but nearly everyone else returns from a team that went 13-4 and finished ninth in the country.

Head coach Mike Daly has reason to be excited about the offense that returns for his tenth season at the helm.

“I like our group; there are a lot of guys who are role players and everyone wants to win,” said Daly. “We have three first-line midfielders returning from injury and an exciting mix of younger and older players. I continue to be humbled to be associated with the work ethic of our guys. They are impressive and a joy to be around on and off the field.”

The two midfielders returning from injuries are seniors Brett Holm and Matt Caple. Holm is a senior captain that missed the entirety of the 2007 season. Healthy in 2006, the fifth-year senior was one of their leading midfield options with 18 points. He’ll be counted on for his toughness and competitiveness this year. Caple was only able to play in nine games a year ago. The Jumbos still managed to reach a new level of success last year without most of their first-line midfield. Junior midfielder Chase Bibby is a three-year starter for the Jumbos. The “fearless” middie racked up 15 goals and six assists a year ago. Mike Cortese, another senior captain midfielder, is a do-it-all midfielder for the Jumbos.

“[Cortese] has just simply done everything the team has ever asked of him and contributes in every phase of the game,” said Daly. “Literally, offense, defense, face-offs, man-down, clearing, and riding game. Just a throwback lacrosse player.”

The Jumbos will rely on the experience of three-year starter senior Connor Ginsberg and junior Clem McNally to cushion the loss of the All-American Warner. Daly thinks it could be a breakout year for Ginsberg. He had a balanced 13 goals and 10 assists in ’07. McNally proved to be a threat inside last year as he found the back of the net 40 times overall to go with his four assists. The second-team All-NESCAC finisher might miss Warner the most out of the offense, but Daly feels it’s just a matter of time before the next guys step up.

“This year's team has a ton of experience and a great foundation of leadership from our previous teams,” said Daly. “Each year's team is different and this year's team has embraced the burden of raising the bar, but understand what has gotten us here- hard work, discipline, fundamentals, and being humble.”

As the offense looks to build on its 9.05 goals per game average from a year ago, the defense looks to lower its 8.12 goals allowed average. Daly is quick to point out the work that defensive coordinator Mike Higgins does in getting the group ready. A former captain at Hobart on their last team to win the DIII Championship in 1993, Higgins is no stranger to success at the DIII level. Expect this group to continue to get better.

In his second year starting, Matt Harrigan stepped up his play in goal en route to first-team All-NESCAC honors. He was a leader on the defensive side as a sophomore and will be looked upon even more as some new faces get their feet wet. Jordan Yarboro is a junior captain and one of the best LSMs up north, if not the country. The first-team All-NESCAC Yarboro had 52 groundballs, six goals and an assist in ’07. The dynamic defender will look to make things happen at both ends of the field. Tucker Merrigan is the returning starter at close defense. The senior captain is a “leader on and off the field” for the Jumbos.

“Certainly Merrigan, Yarboro, and Harrigan get a lot of attention,” said Daly. “But Mike Cortese, Al Burnes, and Joe Cavallo [ssdm’s] are the heart and soul of our defense. The other spots at close D are wide open.”

One area that Tufts will need to improve on if they want to take the next step is controlling the faceoffs. Last year as a team they only won 49 percent of their draws, and in three of their four losses, they were well under 50 percent. The NESCAC normally boasts great players at every position, while FOGO is no different, the Jumbos are going to need junior Zach Sadoff to improve their numbers there. Sadoff only took 39 faceoffs a year ago with a 41 percent success rate.

Expect Tufts to make a push to improve this year. While they’re not a lock for staying at home to play in the NCAA Championship Game, just a short ride away in Foxboro, MA, the boys in Boston might be one of the most intriguing teams to watch this year.

“We like our athleticism and hope to fashion our philosophy to put these athletes in as many situations to make plays as possible,” said Daly. “Our expectations are high each year and this year is no different. We have focused on getting better and doing things even better this year. We have a great group of guys who work hard and are humble. It is an honor to be associated with them.”

Not one to worry about polls or accolades, the Jumbos are looking for small, daily goals.

“We care about the nuts and bolts that go into winning lacrosse games,” Daly said. “Playing our schedule and in our league, it takes a great deal of mental toughness. Every game matters. We have great respect for Skidmore, and they are really the only thing/team that matters right now. That game is all we are focused on right now. Looking beyond that game could break our season and competing with them could make our season.”

The Cortland Red Dragons surprised all but themselves in 2006 when they knocked off Salisbury in dramatic fashion for the championship. People were just as surprised when they sat at 3-4 heading into April 2007. A team with five or more losses hadn’t advanced to the NCAA DIII championship game since Hobart won it all with six losses in 1991. The Red Dragons kept people on their toes as they made a dominating run through the SUNYAC regular season, then lost a dramatic conference final to Geneseo. Thanks to two of those losses being out-of-region games, they still made it to the tournament and quickly proved how important experience was, making yet another improbable run to the final. They didn’t pull off the same heroics in last year’s final, but they certainly showed what they were made of in getting back.

“Sorry if you keep hearing the same old clichés, but they are usually true,” said second-year head coach Steve Beville. “Team cohesiveness and chemistry are huge factors in May, and the deeper teams are usually stronger at the end of the year. You have to be peaking at the right time.”

That was certainly true for Cortland last year. This year’s version, however, has to contend with the loss of eleven seniors. The applicable cliché is that they aren’t rebuilding, but instead reloading. The loss of their senior class might not be evident until May. It’s hard to replace a group that was as successful as they had been. They had only lost seven games in the first three years of their career, nearly equaling that with six in their senior season. They beat Wesleyan twice in the NCAA semifinals by a goal, have been on the winning side and losing side of quite a few one- or two-goal contests with some of the country’s best teams. Their loss might extend beyond numbers on a stat sheet.

That being said, Cortland still returns a few key pieces from both teams that made the run to the final. Senior Ryan Heath returns with a lot of experience and a lot of points to his name. Heath was a second-team All-American last year while notching 82 points. He also added SUNYAC Player of the Year honors. Heath will have more of a bull’s-eye on him with the graduation of Mike Felice. Senior Billy Fuchs is no slouch either. The former Sacred Heart attackman racked up 74 points in his first season at Cortland. They’ll be joined by senior Kyle Simensky, whose ability to distribute the ball will be relied on.

Any talk of the top midfielders in the country has to include Adam Hyde. In the DIII championship last year, Hyde put Cortland on the board first, then later scored two in a row to knot the game at seven. The third-team All-American finished with four goals and one assist in the valiant losing effort.

After Hyde, there are a lot of middies that have played often and well. Seniors Chris Hannon and Josh Cittadino, Juniors Joe Morgan, Conor Duffy, and Kevin Klisczewicz, and sophomore Chris Dutkowsky, along with a couple of freshmen will be called on to step up their play at the midfield.

The defense will have to cope with the loss of one of the best LSMs in the country, Cheney Raymond. Luckily for Red Dragons fans, their entire starting defense returns. Senior Nick Bueti (62 gbs), and juniors Kevin Mitchell (12 gbs) and Luke Lemon (38 gbs) all return. There will be three or four other guys that have improved their game and will be pushing for playing time while adding depth and creating competition at practice. Junior Cody Hoyt (31 gbs) and sophomore Chris Baiocco give depth and speed to help cushion Raymond’s loss.

“What can make this unit great is our short-stick defensive middies,” said Beville. “Keith Greene and Greg Steward are four-year starters and exceptional athletes. We could be pretty tough to score on this season.”

In goal, junior Mike Robinson returns after a year that saw him go 13-3 as a starter. He will be pushed by Mountain Lakes’ product Matt Hipenbecker. The two battled last year. With Robinson holding the starting nod, the Red Dragons will need some consistency if they want to continue the success they’ve had.

In his second year, Beville has some big shoes to live up to. It helps to have some of the experience coming back. Expect Cortland to continue to play their brand of upstate lacrosse.

“I think we definitely lean to the pressure and up and down game. It’s fun for the players, and it suits our personnel as well,” said Beville. “I really enjoy coaching these guys. They have proven to be a very dedicated group and really play for each other. We have a great group of athletes and lacrosse players.”

The senior class has only lost two SUNYAC games in their career, both to Geneseo, one in the regular season in 2006, and one in the conference championship in 2007. Expect that success this year. With as tough an out-of-conference schedule as you’ll find in the North, Cortland might need it to insure a NCAA tournament bid.

“Our non-league schedule is as tough or tougher than anyone in Division III,” said Beville. “We go against Stevens, St. Lawrence, WNEC, Clarkson, RIT, Ithaca, Cabrini, and Nazareth. I think the SUNYAC will be better this year as well. Guys like Hyde, Heath, Fuchs, Lemon, Mitchell, Cittadino, Greene, Steward and Hannon have all played and excelled against the best in Division III for the past two seasons. They bring great effort and leadership every day, and I couldn’t have asked for more from them.”

Post A Comment To This Story >

(no subject)
    by (#98710) on 2/20/08 @8:20PM
Weselyn #3? Tufts #4? That seems a little generous to me...
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(no subject)
    by (#3572) on 2/21/08 @10:14AM
Tufts shouldnt be ranked that high
Reply to this

(no subject)
    by (#128943) on 2/21/08 @10:29PM
You guys have a problem with Tufts at #4 but not with Roanoke at #2?

Didn't Tufts get on a bus last year and drive 700 miles and beat Roanoke on their homefield?
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(no subject)
    by (#3572) on 2/22/08 @1:11PM
cortland should be #2, lynchburg 3, tufts 4, gettysburg 5, roanoke 6, wesleyan 7
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    by (#128943) on 2/22/08 @2:17PM
Lynchburg #3 you say? They aren't even a tournament team from '07, talk about "generous".

As for Wesleyan, they have been to two straight Final Fours, losing each by one goal.
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    by (#167859) on 2/21/08 @7:46AM
salisbury losing to duke by one goal are you serious if you ask me this team should be D1 if they are playing nation championship D1 teams and only losing by one goal their athletic dept needs to stop being scared and get a bid to go division 1
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    by (#1248) on 2/21/08 @8:10AM
Keep in mind this wasn't a real game. I'm sure Salisbury played like it was the National Championship with the bragging rights they would have if they could beat or hang with Duke. For Duke I'm sure it was more of a chance to see what ALL of their players could do. Salisbury would be a good D1 team, no doubt possibly top 10, but they would suffer if they went D1. As Berkman what one of the major sells to get kids to come to Salisbury is. Do you want to go to Towson, UMBC, Loyola, etc... and hope to make the tournament and lose in the first round or do you want to come to Salisbury and have a chance of winning every game and getting 3 or 4 rings. The prospect of playing for the National Championship every year is very enticing and a huge sell for Berkman, if they lose that and go D1 they would be around the same level as UMBC and Towson. The D3 Hobart teams were much better than the D1 teams are now. They are an average D1 team but back when they were D3 they got better players because kids wanted to play for the National Championship every year. They also had Urick as coach, no disrespect to Kerwick but Urick is a hall of famer. No doubt about it though, in the last five years they have been unreal only losing twp games in that stretch (Cortland in the Championship and Lynchburg in the regular season in 03) Their last regular season loss was 2003.
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Are you a Tufts alum?
    by (#128125) on 2/21/08 @8:36AM
1. Salisbury
2. Gettysburg
3. Cortland
4. Wesleyan
5. Lynchburg
6. Roanoke
7. Ithaca
9. Tufts
10. Middlebury
11. Washington
12. St. Lawrence
13. RIT
14. Nazareth
15. Geneseo
16. Haverford
17. H-SC
18. W&L
19. Cabrini
20. Stevens
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Salisbury will go undefeated again...
    by (#57798) on 2/21/08 @9:29AM
When it comes down to it Salisbury is number one and should have another undefeated season with no one taking a shot at the Gulls.

I agree there are some shockers on this list no Stevens Tech in 16-20, Haverford and Villa Julie seem a little high, and Tufts also seems high; but its good to see other polls and opinions rather then the same old usual suspects.
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Does it suck playing for Salisbury?
    by (#3709) on 2/21/08 @12:34PM
I think it is great what they have done, and I am extremely impressed.

However, I have coached for many years now, and have been on both sides of the fence. Nobody wants to be on team that gets crushed every game, but at the same time when I have had teams that rolled through everybody the season seems very empty as well.

The goal is not just to win, but it is also to compete, even the best D-1 and D-2 have to fight there way to the top, and amungst those great records there were a some tough games to get there.

With salisbury every game is like watching a high school team play a middle school team. The games are boring to watch and I can not imagine they are that much more fun to play in.

That is assuming you are somebody who loves good competition.

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    by (#90651) on 2/26/08 @5:41PM
Why isn't he on their roster anymore? If he is off the team, Stevens is off the board..
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(no subject)
    by (#140937) on 2/21/08 @12:38PM
Sorry to tell you buddy but im sure duke did not take it as a game to play everyone. what d1 team wants to loose to a d3 team?... and to give you some info in 05 duke scrimage salisbury and duke played their starters most of that and still lost. Salisbury proved then that they had much better athletes then duke did. If salisbury went d1 right now they would easily be a top 5 team just beucase of their athletes and their style of exream run and gun... get your facts straight
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(no subject)
    by (#1248) on 2/21/08 @3:16PM
The purpose of a "Scrimmage" is to play everyone and see what they can do. I am sure this is what Duke did. Of course they don't want to lose to Salisbury, but pre-season scrimmages are just that, they are not real games. Until they play regular season games against one another, there is just no way to tell what would happen. And because of the NCAA rules which basically penalize a D1 team for playing a DIII team, we're not going to see it. Salisbury is awesome, they're establishing an amazing dynasty. I think they'd be top 10-15, you could be right though they might be top 5 but I don't think I had any facts wrong as you claim, simply stating my opinion as you are. I'd love to see as a part of the North/South game the D1 National Champs play the D3, again never going to happen but it would be very cool. You are also missing the premise of my statement, they are better as a DIII team than they would be as a DI team. The lure of possibly going undefeated your entire career and winning four national championships is very strong, put them in DI and that is gone.
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Duke vs. Salisbury
    by (#22725) on 2/21/08 @3:45PM
I was at the game (or scrimmage rather) and BOTH teams used only their starters until the end of the third. For the fourth and fifth (yes they played 5) both teams cleared their benches and the final score ended up being 19-18 Duke after 5. Get your facts straight before making statements... assumptions get you no where.

Both teams came to play... it was actually quite a match-up IMO.
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(no subject)
    by (#177967) on 2/21/08 @3:46PM
all i want to know about you people who think that salisbury would be a top 5 d1 team is...what are you on? and can i get some of it?
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    by (#1248) on 2/21/08 @4:50PM
What FACT do I have wrong? A scrimmage is NOT and never will be a game and thus is approached different than a real game. You can say anything you want, but it's not a game. You said it yourself they played the starters for 3 quarters, not the entire game. How many real games have been competetive for 3 quarters only to have one team rattle off 7 or 8 unanswered goals in the fourth to make it a blowout, it happens. You simply can't draw any conclusions about where you would rank Salisbury in DI based on a scrimmage in early February. I don't care if you were there or not it's still an early Febuary scrimmage that meant absolutely nothing and served only one purpose, to get both teams ready for REAL games. You can say "Wow, Salisbury hung with Duke for 3 Quarters, they are sick and going to wreak havoc on DIII competition again this year" but you can't say "Hey they hung with Duke for 3 quarters in a February scrimmage, therefore they would be a top 5 DI team". By the way did Danowski play? I was under the impression he shocked everyone by playing against Bucknell last week.
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    by (#10532) on 2/22/08 @2:18PM
They went DI after winning 10(?) DIII national championships in a row, look what happened.
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Re: Hobart
    by (#128943) on 2/22/08 @2:58PM
Food for thought:

1. The last year Hobart was in DIII they didn't win the title. Guess who did? Salisbury.

2. It was 15 years ago, completely inapplicable to the current landscape of lacrosse.
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(no subject)
    by (#140937) on 2/22/08 @3:43PM
FE21 i do agree with you that salisbury would end up being a 10-15 team if they went d1. But they would end up being ranked that as they would have to compete with for recruits with the d1 teams. If they went d1 this very year they would easily be top 5 iplylax6. are you retarded? have you ever seen them play and know how good they are? No one in college lacrosse including d1, d2, and d3 plays the stlye of run and gun that they do. They have all the altheles and skilled players to be a top 5 d1 team and if you dont see that then you should be ashamed to watch or play lacrosse.
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    by (#125479) on 2/23/08 @5:25PM
i agree with pretty much everything you said until the Danowski part. If what I have read is correct, Duke did play all of their starters and best players for three quarters, Danowski, at the time, was out with an injury and he therefore no longer would have been a starter or their best option, I'm sure if he was healthy, he would have played.
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    by (#1248) on 2/24/08 @8:13AM
That was my point, Danowski didn't play, his first time out was against Bucknell last week.
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Re: FE21
    by (#128943) on 2/24/08 @2:44PM
You are wrong, he did play against Salisbury and scored a goal.
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salisbury vs. duke
    by (#125479) on 2/23/08 @5:19PM
does anybody know where I can watch that game online? really interested to see it
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    by (#24670) on 2/24/08 @1:30PM
hey, how about that new American Gladiators show??

anybody catch that?

My man Wolf is a beast, i bet he'd be a ground ball machine.

And that serien, she's something else, you guys know what i'm talking about.
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    by (#128125) on 2/24/08 @2:28PM
Gemini, Zap & Nitro would be the ultimate fantasy close D. They would kill Salisbury's attack in "The Eliminator"! I also think that Tufts & the rest of the NESCAC should move to D4 for being whiny brats with Ivy-league envy.
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Dream On!
    by (#188022) on 2/28/08 @8:58PM
Right now seagulls are able to recruit top DIII players because they are winning, same thing happened to Hobart 10 championship, able to recruit DIII"Blue chips". But remember if Salisbury goes DI they will have to attract top DI players they will have to compete against Maryland, Hopkins, UVA, Tar Heels, Towson, georgetown etc. so they won't be able to stock up on good players. As a result lower mid DI no NCAA's No championship will fade into the sunset like Hobart.
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DIII Inequity
    by (#188646) on 3/01/08 @12:55PM
With Salisbury having 7,000 undergrads and Cortland 6,000 (Tufts also has several thousand)...each with more than many DI schools....where is the fairness when they play in DIII with schools that average 1000-2000 kids?

Enough already about "perennial powerhouses" that have so many kids to choose from! How about a story that delineates the patent unfairness of these and other large schools playing in DIII?
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(no subject)
    by (#140937) on 3/01/08 @8:44PM
what are you talking about?... what college lacrosse team picks from their student body. the recruit then the student decides to go to the school. i guess it is more of a selling point that they have more students, but more then how many students go to a school decide what divison they play in
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