CHESTERTOWN, Md. — With 11 seniors on this spring's roster, the Washington College men's lacrosse team is aiming for a return to the four-team Centennial Conference Tournament, a feat that eluded the Shoremen last season after a strong start.
The Shoremen won five of their first six games last season before dropping an overtime game at arch-rival Salisbury. Still, at the end of March, the Shoremen's overall record stood at 7-3 and they were off to a 2-1 start in conference play. The tide turned in April, however, as the Shoremen lost four of their final five games - all in conference - despite giving then third-ranked Gettysburg all the Bullets could handle in a 15-13 loss to close out the season.
This year's Shoremen return quite a bit of offensive firepower, but will have several returning players stepping into larger roles. That's especially true on defense as two-thirds of the Shoremen's starters on close defense graduated last spring as did goalie Ben Flood '19, who started in goal for the Shoremen for three straight years.
On attack, senior Casey Grieves (Easton, Md./Sts. Peter & Paul) returns after a break-out junior campaign that saw him lead the Shoremen in goals (43), points (63), extra-man goals (5), and shots (96) en route to picking up All-Centennial Conference second team honors. Junior Cooper Sloan (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla./West Morris Central [N.J.]) led the Shoremen in assists last season (24) and is the team's second-leading returning point-getter (35). He also led all offensive players on the team in ground balls (29) and caused turnovers (6) last season.
Other returning attackmen poised for bigger contributions this spring include junior Cody Pascale (West Chester, Pa./Reed Henderson) (7 goals, 4 assists in 2018), senior JP Crowley (Parkland, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) (1 goal), sophomore Quinn Willis (Moorestown, N.J./Moorestown) (2 goals), and sophomore Joe Maimone (Allendale, N.J./Don Bosco Prep). Freshmen Mikey Welsh (Brookeville, Md./Glenelg Country School) and Jeremy Wilson (Ellicott City, Md./Centennial) are also expected to be in the mix on attack.
Four of the Shoremen's five leading midfield scorers from last spring return. Senior Trey Ritter (Norfolk, Va./Cape Henry Collegiate School) scored 11 goals and assisted on 11 others last year, while senior Charlie Walker (Petaluma, Calif./Petaluma) scored seven goals and had 12 assists. Senior Nick Boyles (Annapolis, Md./St. Mary's) had four goals and 11 assists last spring and senior Kevin Trapp (White Plains, N.Y./White Plains) tallied eight goals and one assist.
Senior Zack Gorrasi (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) (4 goals, 3 assists), sophomore Sean Reilly (Fallston, Md./Calvert Hall) (3 goals, 2 assists), sophomore Will Oliver (Gaithersburg, Md./Landon School), and senior Brady O'Neill (Kennett Square, Pa./Kennett) are four other returners vying for time as offensive midfielders.
Junior Patrick Sullivan (Rocky Hill, Conn./Rocky Hill) and sophomores Dillon Pierpont (Annapolis, Md./Archbishop Spalding) and Joe Tobin (Virginia Beach, Va./Cape Henry Collegiate School) entered preseason as the Shoremen's top short-stick defensive midfielders. Sullivan played in all 15 games for the Shoremen a year ago, scoring one goal to go along with seven ground balls and three caused turnovers. Pierpont and Tobin look for increased playing time after appearing in six and four games, respectively, last season.
Three face-off specialists will all get chances to become the team's primary option at that spot. Senior Carson Metzker (Fort Washington, Pa./Germantown Academy) is the most experienced of the group and went 71-for-146 with 26 ground balls on face-offs last spring. Sophomore Joey Sivo (West Chester, Pa./West Chester East) went 17-for-40 with six ground balls, while freshman Garrett Frascati (Lexington, Va./Virginia Episcopal School) was a first-team all-state player in high school.
Sophomore Matt Schellenger (Malvern, Pa./Malvern Prep) and Nick Sowers (Dresher, Pa./Upper Dublin) may be the Shoremen's top long-stick defensive midfielders when the season begins but freshmen Kyle Gittelman (Davie, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) and Matt Haag (River Vale, N.J./Pascack Valley) should also vie for time. Schellenger had seven ground balls and two caused turnovers in nine games played a year ago.
The most veteran member of the Shoremen's young defense is unquestionably senior defenseman Kevin Wilson (Ellicott City, Md./Centennial). Wilson, an All-Centennial Conference honorable mention two years ago, scooped up 33 ground balls and caused 10 turnovers last spring and has started for the Shoremen since his freshman year. Sophomore Evan Gaines (Baltimore, Md./Boys' Latin), who made one start in 12 games played last year and tallied seven ground balls and five caused turnovers, looks to step into a regular starting role this spring. Junior Adam Mrowiec (Bel Air, Md./John Carroll), sophomores Burke McFillin (Exton, Pa./Downingtown East) and Jason Miller (Wallingford, Pa./Episcopal Academy), and freshman Conor O'Neill (Doylestown, Pa./Germantown Academy) are also in the mix for spots on close defense.
Sophomore Chris Del Rosario (Springfield, Va./Bullis School [Md.]) and Connor Cunningham (Port Jefferson, N.Y./Ward Melville) entered preseason in a battle to replace Flood as the Shoremen's starting goalie. Del Rosario made 15 saves against nine goals allowed in four reserve appearances last year; Cunningham made one save and allowed one goal in just under two minutes of action.
Head coach Jeff Shirk returns for his ninth season at the helm of the Shoremen and welcomes back senior assistant coach Bennett Cord '13 and assistant coaches Tim Kerr '06 and Nick Triano. Kyle Mariboe, a former assistant coach at Albright, joined the staff this fall as a volunteer assistant. Ritter, Trapp, and Kevin Wilson will help provide on-field leadership as the team's three captains.
The Shoremen will open their 2019 schedule - which features six teams ranked in the USILA Division III Preseason Top 20 - Saturday with a 1 p.m. home game against Berry. A full schedule breakdown appears below.
Total Games: 16 (9 home, 7 away)
Season and Home Opener: February 16 v. Berry (1 p.m.)
Centennial Opener: March 23 at #10 Dickinson (12 p.m.)
Centennial Home Opponents: Ursinus (3/27), McDaniel (3/30), Haverford (4/10), #17 Franklin & Marshall (4/20)
Centennial Away Opponents: #10 Dickinson (3/23), Muhlenberg (4/5), Swarthmore (4/24), #6 Gettysburg (4/27)
Non-Conference Home Opponents: Berry (2/16), #12 Washington and Lee (2/23), Stockton (3/9), Colorado College (4/7), #2 Salisbury (4/13)
Non-Conference Road Opponents: Frostburg State (3/2), #13 Christopher Newport (3/13), St. Mary's (Md.) (3/16)