February 21, 2007

SHU Men's Lacrosse Focused for 2007 Season

Feb. 21, 2007

Chemistry...Attitude...Focus

The 2007 Pioneers will take the field this spring led by a solid core of seasoned veterans that have been focused on building this year's team on the principles of hard work, positive attitudes and team chemistry since the first day of preseason. SHU's five team captains, Peter Greco, Pat Healy, Casey Kirch, Rory Morse and Tony Tanzi have made that message their own and head coach Tom Mariano has seen the effects reaching every member of this year's roster.

"Our goal since day one has been focused on chemistry, attitude and effort and that not only comes from our coaching staff but more important, it has come from our upper classman and captains as well," stated Mariano. "If we work hard every day, come to play and focus, we will compete in every game this season."

The Pioneer attack will serve as one of SHU's greatest strengths this season with some talented scorers returning to the mix. Seniors Peter Greco, Rory Morse, Michael Collins, Brendan McAuley along with sophomore Bobby Karl lead a deep, skilled group. Greco is the Pioneers top returning scorer after posting 12 goals and 12 assists (24 pts.) in 2006. Karl was named to the Colonial Athletic Association All-Rookie team after scoring eight goals and passing out 11 assists last season.

"On attack we are veteran oriented. Seniors Peter Greco, Rory Morse, Michael Collins, Brendan McAuley, junior Bobby Karl and freshman Evan Morgan have all had good pre-seasons. They have worked hard and the results show on the field," commented the head coach.

"Tony Tanzi, Joe Cavagnaro, Joe Camillo and Casey Kirch will lead our midfield and we are looking to a lot of young guys to step up and play quality minutes. Sophomore Bobby Rushton and freshmen Dan Mesler, Timmy Katz, Terrence Clancy, Steve Gerhard and Joe Caridi will need to step in and contribute." Tanzi had a solid sophomore campaign posting eight goals and seven assists. He was second on the team with 41 ground balls and also saw some time taking face-offs.

"Defensively in the midfield Nick Russo, Peter Ridge, Scott Alexander and Nick Brink have all stepped up. They're all athletic, hard workers that can help lead our transition game," said Mariano, now entering his 11th season at the helm of the SHU lacrosse program.

On the defensive side of the field, senior Pat Healy and junior Brett McGlensey will anchor the unit in front of junior goalkeeper Ricardo Vargas. Healy had 30 ground balls in 14 games last season while McGlensey brings 27 games of experience in his first two seasons into this year.

"We have three leaders on the defensive end in senior Pat Healy, junior Brett McGlensey and Ricardo Vargas in the cage," stated Mariano. "Pat has worked his tail off and done everything you can expect from a player and is going to make an impact in the conference this year. In the past, I think he's been underappreciated and maybe didn't get the kind of recognition he deserves but he is ready for a break out season."

"Vargas has put in the time and has worked as hard as any goalie we have had here and it's paying off on the field. We have a great group of freshman that will back him up."

The Pioneers will look to junior Chris Wolpert and sophomore Zach Smith to take control of the face-off circle heading into the season. Smith took 78 face-offs last season and won 38, a team-best .487 percentage. He added 17 ground balls as well.

"Wolpert and Smith will start the season as our top-two face-off guys. Wolpert has done a tremendous job and is one of the hardest workers in our program. He has successfully made the transition from playing in goal to the midfield two years ago."