The Susquehanna University men's lacrosse team is looking forward to continuing its efforts to establish itself as a national contender. The 2016 squad enters the season with much optimism as the program welcomes a strong group of newcomers along with an experienced group of upperclassmen. Head coach Stewart Moan feels that the program is poised and ready to propel itself forward to contend at the conference and then national level. Many young players with college minutes under their belts are ready to become major contributors along with some new talented faces, also eager to contribute and help the team achieve its goals.
The attack will be led by returning seniors Nick Reardon and (35 points in 2015) and JA Howland (16 pts), along with junior Chet McLaughlin (32 pts) and sophomore Alec Tzaneteas, who will make an impact this season. Freshman Jack Donnelly (Webster Schroeder, N.Y.) is also hoping to contribute.
The midfield will be deep with a host of talented and experienced players, led by seniors Jake Calder (21 pts), Adam Fox, Greg Rabiecki and Clayton Buescher. Junior James Harabedian also returns and looks to contribute, as well. Defensively, the midfield will be led by senior co-captain Greg Budd. He will be joined by fellow senior Prosper Odilatu and junior Andrew Keller.
Susquehanna returns two top face-off men from last season. Fellow sophomores Jake Purnell (.531 percent) and Pierce Mead (.550 percent) both had outstanding seasons and are continuing to improve.
Overall, the defense has a good mixture of youth and experience, led by returning All-American and co-captain Kade MacGregor and supported by senior Christian Graff. Sophomores James Tsilionis, Alex Weightman and John Vitti will have opportunities to get quality minutes this year.
At long pole, midfield will be led by another All-American candidate and senior co-captain Corrie Van Haasteren (All-conference 2014 and 2015). Junior Stephen Fickett and sophomore Kevin Flatley are also developing quickly and looking to contribute. Two freshmen, James Abramo (Allentown, N.J.) and Doug Adams (Severn School, Maryland), have had solid fall campaigns and are looking to contribute.
The goalkeeping duties will be handled by freshman Dylan Abplanalp (Kent Island, Maryland), who had a strong fall season, and is looking to lead Susquehanna this spring. Along with Abplanalp is talented freshman Coleman Dieffenbach (Downingtown West, Pa.) and Ryan Cataldo (Central Bucks East, Pa.) who also played well in the fall.
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. The team must be more consistent against the top teams in the region if SU is able to make this a reality. The competitive schedule should help to prepare SU for any postseason competition and that schedule gets underway on Feb. 20 with the team's season opener at Lycoming College.