Wednesday, February 14, 2018

2018 Wilkes Men's Lacrosse Preview: Learn to Win

WILKES-BARRE – The Wilkes University men's lacrosse team increased its win total by four games last season and is set to enter the 2018 season looking to accomplish a similar feat. The program is in its third year since being revived after experiencing success in the 1970's.

Head coach Curtis Jaques returns 22 players to the program including the starting three on attack and defense from a season ago. Jaques also welcomes in eight newcomers including five freshman as Wilkes looks to make a jump up the Middle Atlantic Conference Freedom (MAC Freedom) standings this season. "Year one we learned to compete and year two was all about expecting to compete," Jaques said. "We are that that point now where we are in those two to three goal games either way, this is the year that we learn to win."

The Colonels attack is led by junior John Wink. A season ago, Wink paced Wilkes and was seventh in the MAC Freedom with 31 goals. He also led the team with 40 points which was tied for 11th in the conference. Jeremy Kachel led the Colonels and was seventh in the MAC Freedom with 18 assists a year ago. Matthew Bush was third on the team with 18 goals and he will see time in the midfield this season too. John Luna (8 goals – 6 assists) and Max Brown (6 goals – 3 assists) also return on attack and will be joined by freshmen Nico Lorenzo who could also see time in the midfield and junior newcomer Kiernan Quinn. "I'm not really sure what position Lorenzo is going to play, he's just going to be on the offensive side of the field," Jaques commented. "He has a competitive edge that is certainly raising the standard on the offensive side of the field."

In the midfield the Colonels are led by two returning All-Conference performers from a season ago. Evan Stolicker was named First-Team All-MAC Freedom as a face-off specialist after leading the conference with 162 faceoff wins. JT Weitzel was an Honorable Mention All-MAC Freedom selection as he led Wilkes and was fourth in the conference gathering 75 ground balls. He also added 12 goals and four assists. Nicholas Ruggierowas second on the team with 21 goals and Connor Daly scored nine goals and had five assists. Michael Gallagher and Glenn Weist each return after seeing action in all 15 games a season ago and Mathew Kelly, Jacob Kadis, and James Copley also return to the midfield group. Three freshman, Timothy Madden, Jamison Shaw, and Alex Loscalzo will add athletic depth to the midfield according to Jaques while senior football standout Garrett Armstrong will create matchup issues for opposing defenses. Junior Jack Moyer will also join the midfield contingent in 2018.

On defense, Jack O'Connell, James Peaney, and Joseph Papa all return after starting every game last season. O'Connell led the Colonels with 17 caused turnovers and was fourth on the team with 39 ground balls. Gerard Setteducato saw significant time on the defense a season ago and CJ Alevras also returns. They will be joined by freshman Joe Kuchinski who may also see time in the midfield.

In goal, the Colonels will have three goalies return with experience and Jaques likes the competitive battle Carter Whittemore and Cody Geidel are having for the starting role. Whittemore started 10 games as a freshman last season and made 131 saves with a .502 save percentage while Geidel, also a freshman last season, started five games and made 51 saves with a .554 save percentage. John Malley also returns to the team after seeing action in five games between the pipes as a freshman in 2016.

The Colonels open the season today with a home game against the University of Scranton at Schmidt Stadium at 4:00 p.m. Wilkes will then compete in eight other non-conference games before conference play starts. "We are excited to prepare ourselves for April, that's what February and March are all about," Jaques remarked. "I'm real excited for our out of conference schedule, I think it will certainly prepare us for conference play." Wilkes will then finish up with seven MAC Freedom games starting with a road contest at FDU-Florham on Saturday, April 7 and finish at home against DeSales University on Saturday, April 28. "The conference will be exciting, it will be competitive, and it will be hard fought for that top spot," Jaques said.

Other Williamsport OnLine Websites