By Derek Stiles
The men’s lacrosse team has proven time and time again that they can recover from the loss of vital players and this year is no different. Despite losing first team All-Americans Hunter Nowicki and Casey McKnight (2014 Centennial Conference Offensive and Defensive Players, respectively), All-Americans Kodie Engelhart and Jim Cusick, and All-Centennial Conference goalie Ted DiSalvo to graduation, the Shoremen begin their season ranked No. 4 in the country by the USILA Coaches poll on the NCAA website.
Last year was a renewal of the team’s success in past seasons as the Shoremen coasted to their first conference title in 11 years, defeating Gettysburg 20-7 in convincing fashion. Their playoff push would go deep into May as they took down the previous NCAA Division III champion Stevenson 12-11 in overtime to reach the Final Four, where they would fall to War on the Shore rival Salisbury, 8-13.
The Shoremen’s schedule is top-heavy as they start out facing two top 25 teams in York (No.10) and Washington & Lee (No.15). The only other team ranked in the Centennial Conference is Franklin & Marshall (No.20), who the Shoremen play on Mar. 28.
Senior captain Grant Hughes look to lead the team this season as he scored 26 goals and assisted on six others before suffering a season-ending injury. Senior Stephen Luck and junior Sid Looney will be providing the rest of the offensive firepower for the Shoremen, who scored 32 goals and 28 goals, respectively.
Senior Michael Trapp will provide a pivotal role for the Shoremen after being voted second team All-American last season. Trapp won a school record 257 faceoffs with a 67.3 percent success rate while picking up a school and conference record 171 groundballs. Trapp also provided 12 goals and six assists on the year.
Sophomore Jackson Szurley and senior Andrew Bolland will be competing for the start in the net after DiSalvo’s graduation.
The team’s home opener begins this Saturday against a ranked Washington & Lee side at noon. In their first two matches of the season, Washington & Lee lost to Christopher Newport 9-13, then defeated Denison 11-5.