2003 Season Preview
The Catholic University lacrosse team enters its sixth season at the varsity level after making great strides the past five seasons. The squad improved from five wins in its first two seasons, to 17 wins in the past three seasons. Head coach Brooks Singer believes the team's 25 returning players will provide the necessary core foundation for success.
"I think we are continuing to improve at every position," Singer said. "We are looking forward to this season very much and to our future development because of all the positive moves that we've made. From recruiting, to skill level, to competitiveness, to support for the program, we continue to upgraded the program in its entirety."
The team had 28 players on its 2002 roster, including 10 freshmen, nine sophomores and only three seniors. Singer's goal is to establish a lacrosse program that has a promising future in both NCAA Division III and the CAC. He looks forward to his team's continuing participation in the competitive CAC tournament at the conclusion of the regular season, with the winner advancing to the Division III championship tournament. Other men's lacrosse-playing members of the CAC are national power Salisbury, St. Mary's (Md.), Mary Washington, Marymount, Goucher and York (Pa.). The team looks to improve its record and establish itself in the conference this upcoming season.
The attack will be led be a strong junior class including Ryan Welsh (Salesianum, Del.), Jamie Lynch (LaSalle HS, Pa.), and Eric Slagle (Poolesville, Md.). Welsh, who was selected team MVP last season, is also one of CUA's starting linebackers on the football team. He uses his strength and agility to score evidenced by his 80 career points in his first two seasons. Lynch, who is tall, with great shooting ability has posted 52 career points, however missed most of last season due to injury. Slagle solidifies the attack with his athleticism and hard-working attitude, posting 30 points last season. Sophomores Tom Alexander (St. Mary's, N.Y.), Tad Mielnicki (LaSalle, R.I.), and David Kriston (Sycamore, Ohio) who joined the attack last season, were an assets on offense. Alexander tallied 22 points and added 59 ground balls in his first season.
Newcomers include Brian Gambescia (St. Joseph's, Pa.), Conor Kelly (Boston College HS, Mass.), Terence Kempf (LaSalle HS, Pa.), Ryan McGoldrick (Longmeadow, Mass.), Peter Muse (St. Thomas More, Conn.), and Robert Sonnhalter (St. Ignatius, Ohio).
Jimmy Nalls (Gonzaga, D.C.) will return as a graduate student to lead the Cardinals' midfield after sitting out last season. Nalls, selected as MVP as a defensive back for the football team, tallied 37 points in the 2001 season and had a .615 face-off winning percentage. Seniors John Bracken (Cardinal O'hara, Pa.) and Kevin Coyle (St. Joseph's, Pa.) will return after contributing vastly on the offensive end of the field. Bracken and Coyle each possess speed and athleticism, and combined for 23 points and 93 ground balls last season. Bracken also finished the season with a .656 face-off winning percentage. Senior Dan Lavoie (Hargrave, Va.), who redshirted his freshman year, will return this season after tallying a .586 face-off winning percentage and 35 ground balls. Senior John Tripplaar will return after a solid season at defensive midfield. Juniors Ryan Bradley (Xaverian, Mass.), Andrew Donnelly (St. John Baptist, N.Y.), Mike Gradowski (Walton Johnson, Md.), and Justin Kelly (Boston College HS, Mass.) are coming off a strong year at midfield. Kelly posted 24 points last season and added 65 ground balls. Bradley is a strong defensive midfielder and Donnelly has a solid stick and can feed the ball well.
The midfield is strengthened by sophomores Chris Appel (Good Counsel, Md.), Tim Checchia (Sewanaka, N.Y.), Tom Capalbo (Prout, R.I.), Ryan Murphy (Milton, Mass.), Mike Brant (Gonzaga, D.C.) and James Schulenburg (Basking Ridge, N.Y.). Checchia was selected team Rookie of the Year last season for his hustle as defensive midfielder. Brant, who will return to the Cardinals this season, has speed and is a talented playmaker. Murphy will join the squad this season as a transfer. Newcomers include Steven Bennis (St. Joseph's, Pa.), Timothy Farrell (St. Joseph's, Pa.), David Morin (Deering HS, Maine), Benjamin Mullen (New Milford, Conn.), and Dennis Whalen (Boston College HS, Mass.).
Juniors Ted Moralle (Fairhaven, N.J.), Graham Simm (St. Mary's, Md.), and Morgan Tremper (Calvert Hall, Md.) will lead the defense this upcoming season. Simm is an asset on defense because of his competitiveness, stick-handling abilities and a knowledge of the game. Moralle uses his strength and Tremper uses smarts to guide the defense. Sophomores Chris Hartel (Sewanaka, N.Y.) and Alex Peto (Sewanaka, N.Y.) will add depth and skill to the defensive unit. Peto will return after a strong season at long-stick midfield, while Hartel adds depth to the young defensive unit. Newcomers include Justin Boyer (Central Bucks West, Pa.), Jerry Clifford (Milton, Mass.), Christopher Lentini (Fairfield College HS, Conn.), and Ross Varndell (Yorktown, Va.).
Junior Matt Monfet (Seton Hall, N.J.) returns after taking on the starting role last season. Monfet recorded a .592 save percentage tallying 208 saves on the season. Sophomore Andrew Couden (Oneonta, N.Y.) who adds depth to the goaltender position, recorded a .514 save percentage. Kyle Blodgett (Brunswick, Md.) will join the Cardinals after a strong high school career.