WASHINGTON - The Catholic University men's lacrosse team opens up the season tonight at 6:00 p.m. as they host Southern Virginia in a non-conference game under the lights at Cardinal Stadium.
In the Landmark preseason poll released today, the Cardinals were predicted to finish 6th in the conference. The ranking mirrors CUA's finish last season, when the Cardinals went 1-4 in Landmark action and missed out on postseason play.
The Cardinals are looking to bounce back from a challenging 2013 season, when the loss of teammate Brendan Englert ended the year on a tragic note. The Cards have renewed focus and energy for 2014, with 24 new additions to the team.
In his 16th year at the helm, CUA head coach Brooks Singer welcomes a talented group of newcomers, including Tony Fisher and Tim Keith on the attack. Ethan Rodriguez and James Clarke are expected to make an impact in the midfield. The freshmen will be expected to contribute immediately to replace the firepower lost to graduation, and have the opportunity to steer the team for years to come.
Leading this young group with be returning captains Sean Cummins and Jack Drexel. Catholic returns six starters from last season including Walter Hickey, a Second Team All-Landmark selection from 2013, and the team's top returning scorer with 28 goals and one assist. Brian Keith (12 goals, 3 assists), Sean Cummins (10g, 5a), Cam Feldman (9g, 15a), and Will Cowan (4g, 2a) round out the top returning scorers and will help distribute the scoring load.
Defensively, the Cardinals will rely on Harrison Holak's experience in goal to shutdown opponents' attack. The sophomore made 129 saves last year and boasted a .594 save percentage between the pipes during his rookie campaign. Helping relieve the pressure on Holak will be returning defenders Drexel and Pat Michalski, and longstick midfielder Dan McCallen.
Tonight the Cardinals take on Southern Virginia, a team that went 0-9 last season in their first year as a provisional member of the NCAA Division III. The team's top non-conference opponents include a rivalry game with Marymount (7-7), along with ODAC foes Hampden-Sydney (11-6) and Randolph-Macon (10-9).
The Cardinals will host the first "Face Off For A Cause" of 2014 on Saturday, Feb. 22. The event will feature a youth lacrosse clinic at 10:00 am, followed by a collegiate double-header with the U.S. Military Academy taking on Furman University, followed by Catholic versus Randolph-Macon. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.
After the Cardinals host Immaculata on Saturday, Mar. 8, the team will travel down to Florida for a few days of training in warmer weather to prepare for a challenging conference schedule. CUA will open up their conference slate at Scranton on Friday, Mar. 14. It will be the first meeting between the teams in two years, as last year's season finale was cancelled.
In Landmark action, CUA will play host to Merchant Marine, Washington & Jefferson, and finish the year against defending champions, Susquehanna. The Cardinals will hit the road to take on Scranton, Drew, and Goucher.