1998 Men's Lacrosse Season Outlook

 

 

VILLANOVA, Pa: After beginning the 1997 season 0-2, the Villanova University lacrosse team came on strong winning six of their next eight games and ended the season at 7-7. Despite losing several key seniors to graduation after last season, the Wildcats return offensive sensation senior Jeff Huber and will look to make a run on the national scene in 1998.

On offense, Huber will anchor the attack once again, after leading the team in goals (32), assists (18) and points (50) last season. Teaming up with Huber at the attack position will be sophomore Justin Loonie who tallied 10 goals and five assists for 15 points in 1997, sophomore Tom Hourican who scored 11 goals and dished out five assists and freshman Andrew Bogle, a Connecticut All-State team member from Wilton High School. These four will combine to form the Wildcats main scoring rotation in 1998.

Sophomore Eric Dauer comes back as the Wildcats' top returning midfielder in 1998, after finishing third on the team with 16 goals in addition to his three assists last season. Joining him in the midfield is fellow sophomore Jack McTigue and junior David D'Amico. Both players will be intricate parts of the Wildcats' offense in 1998. McTigue scored five goals and dished out five assists for 10 points in 1997, while D'Amico tallied 13 points on 11 goals and two assists.

Adding depth to the Wildcats' already solid midfield will be junior Chris Corr who transferred to the Main line from Goucher College, sophomores Tom Lasky and Clayton Greene and freshman Jesse Ford, who like Bogle received Connecticut All-State honors coming out of Wilton High School.

On defense, only one starter returns from last year's squad, so head coach Randy Marks and the Wildcats will have to count on a great deal of youth. Senior Andy Dupuis, one of only four seniors, is the lone returning defensive starter for Villanova in 1997. Junior Evan Clancy and freshman Brian O'Hagan both find themselves in starting roles, and will be looked upon to help lead an inexperienced Wildcat defense in 1998. Freshman Blaine Mitten will also see substantial playing time at both the close defense and pole positions. Junior Richard Carter, who is recovering from a knee injury that he suffered this fall, will add depth to the defensive lines.

Losing senior goalie Andrew Fabrizio to graduation, the Wildcats will have a new face in net in 1998. Marks has three outstanding goalies competing for the job this season. Junior

Brendan Keneally, who saw action in eight games last season and had a .690 save percentage, is the only returning goalie from last year's roster. Keneally will compete with freshmen Michael Mullette and Matthew Wilk for playing time right away. Mullette and Wilk each had outstanding fall seasons, making the goalie competition a three man battle. These three goalies will provide Marks with outstanding depth in net in 1998. Together, they will give the Wildcats a strong goaltending unit, to keep the goalie position a strength for Villanova, despite losing their starter from one season ago.

"We have three outstanding goalies on the roster, giving us outstanding depth at that position," said head coach Randy Marks. "All three goalies will be fighting for playing time."

Senior Tim Waters, an invaluable defender in the Wildcat midfield last season, returns once again to the pole position. Waters played in all 14 games in 1997, totaling one goal and 66 groundballs. Backing up Waters this season, will be the freshmen tandem of Mitten and Marcus Webb.

At the faceoff position, senior Brian Rhodes returns after an outstanding junior campaign in 1997. Last season, Rhodes finished with over a 66 faceoff percentage, ranking him second in the country, one year after finishing fourth in the country in that category. He also led the Wildcats with 115 groundballs, placing him third in the nation at 8.21 per game. Sophomore Chris Larson, who tallied a 55 percent faceoff average as only a freshman last season, will again backup Rhodes in 1998. Together, Rhodes and Larson led Villanova to a 63.9 face-off percentage which was first in the nation.

Coming into the 1998 season, it seems that the Wildcats' lone weakness may be that of inexperience, a weakness that can only change and improve with time. With Huber and Rhodes returning for their senior seasons, Villanova has the leaders a team needs to take them to success. The Wildcats return 14 sophomores including five who started immediately as freshmen in 1997. With these super sophs and another outstanding freshmen class, Villanova now has outstanding depth throughout the entire team.

Brendan Keneally, who saw action in eight games last season and had a .690 save percentage, is the only returning goalie from last year's roster. Keneally will compete with freshmen Michael Mullette and Matthew Wilk for playing time right away. Mullette and Wilk each had outstanding fall seasons, making the goalie competition a three man battle. These three goalies will provide Marks with outstanding depth in net in 1998. Together, they will give the Wildcats a strong goaltending unit, to keep the goalie position a strength for Villanova, despite losing their starter from one season ago.

"We have three outstanding goalies on the roster, giving us outstanding depth at that position," said head coach Randy Marks. "All three goalies will be fighting for playing time."

Senior Tim Waters, an invaluable defender in the Wildcat midfield last season, returns once again to the pole position. Waters played in all 14 games in 1997, totaling one goal and 66 groundballs. Backing up Waters this season, will be the freshmen tandem of Mitten and Marcus Webb.

At the faceoff position, senior Brian Rhodes returns after an outstanding junior campaign in 1997. Last season, Rhodes finished with over a 66 faceoff percentage, ranking him second in the country, one year after finishing fourth in the country in that category. He also led the Wildcats with 115 groundballs, placing him third in the nation at 8.21 per game. Sophomore Chris Larson, who tallied a 55 percent faceoff average as only a freshman last season, will again backup Rhodes in 1998. Together, Rhodes and Larson led Villanova to a 63.9 face-off percentage which was first in the nation.

Coming into the 1998 season, it seems that the Wildcats' lone weakness may be that of inexperience, a weakness that can only change and improve with time. With Huber and Rhodes returning for their senior seasons, Villanova has the leaders a team needs to take them to success. The Wildcats return 14 sophomores including five who started immediately as freshmen in 1997. With these super sophs and another outstanding freshmen class, Villanova now has outstanding depth throughout the entire team.

"Our goal is to compete and play hard every game, playing at a higher level than we did last season when we went 7-7," said Marks. "We want to have a winning season, but we would also like to return to the national top 20 rankings for the first time since 1991-92 and to make a trip to the NCAA Tournament."

With a combination of youth and experience to add to the depth they have at each position, it would seem that the only element the Wildcats need is the confidence to know that as a team they can play with anybody in the nation. After an outstanding pre-season against top nationally ranked teams, the 1998 Villanova men's lacrosse team is well on its way to showing the nation what they are made of.


 

 

Follow us!

Instagram

Photo Galleries