New Conference Tops List of ChangesHannan: Switch to Landmark Benefits Goucher Lacrosse
Feb. 20, 2008
TOWSON, Md. - Things rarely stay the same from one season to the next when it comes to Goucher's men's lacrosse program.
The roster changes annually - some years more than others. Players graduate and are replaced by incoming freshmen and transfers.
Some of the returning players decide to switch uniform numbers. Or maybe even change positions.
Assistant coaches occasionally come and go.
Over the years, in fact, the program has even welcomed a new head coach or two.
At the top of the list of changes that head coach Kyle Hannan's program is dealing with in 2008 is conference affiliation. Goucher has left the Capital Athletic Conference - its home for the past 16 years - to join the Landmark Conference.
"I've had some time to reflect on the switch to the Landmark Conference and I think it will be beneficial to Goucher's men's lacrosse program," stated Hannan as he was preparing his 2008 squad to open its season on Saturday against Greensboro. "It certainly seems to me that there's more competitive balance in the Landmark Conference than there was in the CAC."
In its final season in the CAC, Hannan's Gophers faced three of the six teams that they will battle for the inaugural Landmark Conference title. They won all three games, beating Catholic, 11-2, Drew, 13-10, and Moravian, 8-2.
Seventeen letterwinners return from last season's edition of the Gophers, including nearly the entire starting defense and defensive midfield and starting goalkeeper.
"Austin Main (Berlin, MD/Stephen Decatur) has developed into a solid Division III goalie," according to Hannan. "He's a very good stopper and his teammates have a trenendous amount of confidence in him.
"With Austin in goal, close defensemen like (Andy) Nielsen (Wallingford, PA/Strath Haven), (Max) Walters (Rocky River, OH/St. Ignatius), (William) Beaver (Gaithersburg, MD/Urbana) and (Ben) Veldman (Western Springs, IL/Lyons Twp.), and defensive midfielders like (David) Jadin (Chanhassen, MN/The Blake School), (Daniel) Abrams (Dover, DE/Dover) and (Nick) LaBricciosa (Downingtown, PA/Downingtown West) returning, I feel that the defense will be the rock of the team. We're going to be able to do more defensively, tactically, than we have in the past."
Also back from last year's team are five of the top six midfielders.
"We have a lot of athleticism and speed in a group that includes Dave Duff (Westwood, MA/Suffield Academy), Alan Tiet (Aurora, CO/Smoky Hill), Brian Hoge (Crofton, MD/Arundel), Jake Fratella (Wilmington, DE/Brandywine) and Alex Boucher (North Wales, PA/Germantown Academy)," Hannan said. "If they play together and understand each others' strengths, the midfield could be very dangerous in 2008."
Hannan sees an attack led by Sam Fitzpatrick (Littleton, CO/Arapahoe) and Casey Hughes (Woodstock, MD/Mt. Hebron) being "more dynamic" than in the past.
"Our attackmen can move well with the ball and also without the ball," he said. "That's going to make our offense more balanced than it was in recent years."
Several freshmen and transfers will make their presence felt. Among those who could do so right away are attackmen Justin Dunn (Denver, CO/Mullen) and Adam Pietrocarlo (Hamburg, NY/Frontier Central), midfielders Cooper Mazon (Littleton, CO/Mullen), Jamie Houghton (Ridgewood, NJ/Ridgewood) and Justin Brown (Aurora, CO/Smoky Hill), and defenseman Roger Yohn (Windfield, MD/South Carroll).
"Our upside is going to be speed and strength," said Hannan.
"This team has worked awfully hard to get ready for our first
season in a new conference. We're going to take our best shot at
winning that very first Landmark Conference championship."