The Susquehanna University men's lacrosse team is looking forward to continuing its efforts to establish itself as a national contender. The 2015 squad enters the spring with much optimism as the program welcomes a strong group of newcomers along with an experienced group of upperclassmen.
Head coach Stewart Moan believes the program is poised and ready to propel itself forward to contend at the conference and then national levels. Many young players with college minutes under their belts are ready to become major contributors along with talented new faces who are eager to contribute and help the team achieve its goals.
The attack will be led by junior Nick Reardon (27 points in 2014) and senior Phil Lapone, who returns after missing last season due to injury. Sophomores Chet McLaughlin and James Harabedian will also have a significant impact this season.
The midfield will be deep with a host of talented players, led by senior co-captain Carmen Raroha (24 points in 2014), juniors J.A. Howland, Jake Calder, Greg Rabiecki and Adam Fox. Senior Nick Kifolo also returns and looks to contribute, as well.
Moan is excited about the returning defenders. Overall, the defense has a solid mix of youth and experience, led by junior co-captains Corrie Van Haasteren – a First-Team All-Landmark selection in 2014 – and Kade MacGregor. They will be supported by juniors Christian Graff and Joe Howard. Stand-out freshmen James Tsilionis (Seton Hall Prep, NJ) and Alex Weightman (Seneca, NJ), will have opportunities to get quality minutes this year.
Long pole midfield will be led by senior Ryan Downey. Sophomore Stephen Fickett is also developing quickly and looking to contribute. Two freshmen, Trevor Smith (West York, PA) and Eli Downs (Brunswick, ME) have had solid fall campaigns and are looking to contribute.
The goalkeeping duties will be led by returner senior Jared Knowlton, who had strong finish to the 2014 season, reflected in his Most Valuable Player performance in the Landmark Conference championship game. Knowlton played in seventeen games and started fourteen of them last season, with a .604 save percentage. Along with Knowlton is talented freshman Sampson Ash (Delmar, DE), who played well in the fall practices.
Susquehanna will rely on a combination of experience and depth along with new, young talent to challenge for a top spot in the Landmark Conference Tournament. They have to be more consistent against the top teams in the region if they are to make this a reality. The competitive schedule should help to prepare the Crusaders for any postseason competition.