Season Preview: No. 12 Men's Lacrosse Looks for Breakout Season in 2010
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After posting an 8-5 overall record and 3-3 mark in Ivy League play last spring, the Crimson looks to continue to improve under John Tillman, The Frisbie Family Head Coach for Harvard Men’s Lacrosse, who is entering his third season on the program’s sideline. The Crimson returns its top five scorers from 2009 and is ranked 12th in the LaxNews and Inside Lacrosse preseason national polls.
Defender Billy Geist and attackman Travis Burr will serve as team captains and are joined by 27 players from last year’s squad. In addition, Harvard welcomes 16 freshmen, an incoming class rated third in the nation by Inside Lacrosse. Jack Doyle a midfielder was the No. 2 ranked newcomer in the country, while midfielder Alex White appeared No. 32 on the list.
Tillman, who is joined on the coaching staff by Kevin Warner, who is also in his third season with the Crimson, and new assistant coach Rob Cross, expects the Crimson to continue to climb the Ivy League standings in 2010.
“The strengths of our team are chemistry, dedication and work ethic,” Tillman said. “Our players have worked as hard as any and have made a real commitment to our program by stepping up efforts in the offseason. Our players are getting more comfortable with our systems after the adjustment period of our first few seasons. If we keep working hard and getting better, our team has the potential to have a lot of success in the conference. “
Junior Dean Gibbons, who ranked second on the Crimson in scoring last season has the potential to be one of the Crimson’s main standouts at attack once again in 2010. Gibbons, an All-Ivy League honorable mention choice, scored 21 times last spring, and with two seasons under his belt at Harvard, is one of the veterans of this unit. Sophomore Kevin Vaughan provides a lot of energy and had an outstanding fall season after amassing five goals and seven assists as a rookie in 2009. Classmate Jeff Cohen, Harvard’s scoring leader with 34 goals, including five on man-up opportunities, and 41 points a year ago, is coming off an Ivy League honorable mention season. Cohen, who stood seventh in the nation with 2.62 goals per game, was also tabbed as the NEILA New England Rookie of the Year.
Freshman Peter Schwartz also had a strong fall season and will be competing for minutes at the attack position.
Travis Burr, a senior co-captain, leads the midfield. Burr is a dangerous dodger, has a great feel for the game and never gets flustered. Burr’s 16 goals in 2009 ranked third on the team and he was honored as a NEILA All-New England second-team selection. Senior Jason Duboe, a two-time Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-America honorable mention pick and two-time All-Ivy League honoree, continues to improve and round out his game and netted 12 goals last season. Last year, Duboe was second on the squad with eight assists and grabbed 12 ground balls. His play on defense and ground ball work were important last year down the stretch.
Sophomore Terry White had a strong freshman year, collecting eight ground balls and notching seven goals. Senior Jesse Fehr (six goals and a team-high 11 assists) and junior Dave Dobrosky (two assists) provide leadership and skill at the position. Sophomore Mark Scalise demonstrated great improvement during the offseason and will compete for time at midfield.
Newcomers Jack Doyle and Alex White showed promise during the fall workouts. Fellow freshmen Jeff Molinari, Ryan Stevens and sophomore Andrew Pataki, who has continued to improve his offensive skill, provide the Crimson with depth and ability at the offensive midfield position and could provide an immediate impact.
Harvard features the tandem of juniors Christian Oberbeck and Andrew Parchman, who gained valuable experience with faceoffs in 2009. Oberbeck won 60 of 114 (.526) and had 15 ground balls, while Parchman grabbed possession of 69 of 121 faceoffs (.570). picking up 26 ground balls.. Parchman’s winning percentage ranked ninth in the nation. Alex White and Jack Doyle also faced off in high school and could see action there.
Freshmen Peter Berg, Rick Molé and Pat Fiorvanti have all improved during the fall season and have been practicing at a high pace. Sophomore Daniel DiMaria, who grabbed 15 ground balls as a rookie, and senior Ben Smith (14 ground balls) provide leadership and experience. Freshman Brad Cappellini, an intelligent defender, sophomore Evan Roth, who is skilled a getting the ball off the ground will compete for playing time.
Billy Geist, a co-captain and Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-America honorable mention pick, will lead the defense. Geist was named to the All-Ivy League honorable mention team last year after grabbing 20 ground balls and helping the Crimson rank third in the nation in scoring defense (6.69 goals allowed per game). Harvard was also successful on 81 percent of its man-down chances, good for third in the country.
DiMaria, who played a number of positions for the Crimson last year, will also see action at close defense. Sophomore Paul Pate and freshman Jason Gonos are tough defenders, who have steadily improved since the fall.
With the departure of three-year starter Joe Pike ’09 to graduation, senior Sam Michel, sophomore Christian Coates and freshman Harry Krieger will compete for the starting job. Each of the three goalies impressed during fall workouts and all are expected to compete for playing time between the pipes for the Crimson this upcoming season.