MLAX vs Marist 20140419 JR 157

Men’s Lacrosse Enters Year Two in West Long Branch

MLAX vs Marist 20140419 JR 157Preseason for the Monmouth University men’s lacrosse program is in full swing with the first whistle less than a week away. The boys in blue are coming off their inaugural season where they finished with a humbling record of 0-13. But don’t let their record from last year write the story, MU holds an attribute few can bolster. The MU lacrosse program returns a staggering 27 letter-winners from last year’s squad; senior defender and co-captain Ryan Horsch couldn’t be more thrilled. 

“I don’t have to worry about the small things as much anymore, the younger guys know what to do on their own, they’ve stepped up to be leaders in their own right and they’ve lightened my load,” said Horsch, a 21-year-old Rahway resident. “We’re hungry, we want wins, we want to show everybody what we got, we want to bounce back from last year and show people what we have.”  

Last spring the Hawks opened up the campaign away in heart-breaking fashion falling to UMBC, 10-8. 

Following their trip to Maryland, MU headed to Staten Island where they would take the Wagner Seahawks to four overtime periods only to fall, 7-6. A year removed and the tables have turned. Both Wagner and UMBC will make the trek to West Long Branch to face a motivated group of experienced Hawks. 

“It’s pretty clear to us there’s just a determination and a sense of excitement within this group,” said Head Coach Brian Fisher, a former Assistant Coach at the University of Notre Dame. “The difference is we’re all sophomores, even though we have a couple juniors and five seniors; the core of the group is sophomores. We’re hungry to get that first win but more than anything to compete and that’s why this group has been a pleasure to coach. We’re really just excited to get this season going and looking forward to turning that corner.” 

The Hawks attack is led by current sophomore Chris Daly. A MAAC All-Rookie Team selection as a freshman, Daly was the team’s leading scorer a season ago collecting 26 points off of 17 goals and nine assists. Daly will be joined by a slew of attackmen up top. 

lax graphicJohn Castellano, a senior transfer from Curry College, sat out last spring due to transfer regulations. Alongside Daly and Castellano will be senior Ryan Schwartz, who managed eight goals and one assist in his first year on Kessler Field. Rounding out the Hawks attack from Grapevine, Texas is freshman Bryce Wasserman, a 2014 First Team All-American will look to add quality depth for the Hawks offense. 

MU returns 16 midfielders from last year’s team spear-headed by senior co-captain Zach Johannes. After transferring from Franklin & Marshall, Johannes made his mark on 13 games and finished fourth in scoring for the Hawks.

 Working with Johannes in the midfield will be highly regarded sophomore Eric Berger who added 11 goals and six assists for the Hawks this past year. 

Adding to the depth in midfield will be yet another 2014 High School All-American; freshman Keegan Teluk out of Fallston, MD may very well find himself playing valuable minutes after an impressive high school career. 

Concluding this year’s midfield for the Hawks will be former Bridgton Academy stand out Dylan Schulte. Schulte was ineligible last spring and will look to make an immediate impact for MU in his first appearance at Monmouth Stadium.

“I want to just stay calm and do what I can, play both ways as a two way midfielder, play offense and defense and do big things,” said Schulte, a former First Team All-South Jersey selection.

Protecting the crease this spring will be five returners and four freshmen with Horsch running the show. After transferring from Brookdale Community College, Horsch became one of four Hawks to start all 13 games. Assisting Horsch most notably will be sophomores Ryan Atkinson and Andrew Grajewski, both of which started every single game last spring. 

Sophomore goalkeeper Nick Hreshko and freshman Grant Gillan will be battling it out in net for the Hawks. Hreshko started in 11 games and logged over 300 minutes for MU in their inaugural season. Gillan, a high school All-American selection out of Lewes, DE will provide stiff competition for Hreshko. 

The Hawks met Sacred Heart and Holy Cross in Connecticut this past Saturday for two competitive scrimmages against established division one programs. The Outlook caught up with Coach Fisher to get his take on the games. 

“I felt like we were able to get a lot out of the day [by] playing two scrimmages at Sacred Heart despite some difficult conditions,” said Coach Fisher. “From an evaluation standpoint we played a lot of guys and a number of combinations on the day. Also, both Sacred Heart and Holy Cross exposed us to some actions and things that we haven’t had a lot of work on just yet so it was a good test to see different styles of play.”

MU kicks off their season on Tuesday, Feb. 17 at 3 pm in West Long Branch followed by a mid-day match up at Monmouth Stadium with the Retrievers of UMBC on Saturday, Feb. 21 at 1 pm.