The 2008 edition of the York College men’s lacrosse team begins the season looking to bounce back from a difficult 2007. After an injury-plagued 5-8 campaign last season, the Spartans will strive to return to their 2006 form in which they played to a program-best 11-5 mark.
Entering the season, fourth-year head coach Jim Griffin is excited about the prospects that this year holds. A talented and healthy group of returners combined with energetic newcomers could provide for the greatest season in Spartan history.
“We have a great senior class that will lead this year’s team,” Griffin said. “This is the best group of seniors that we have had in the history of the men’s lacrosse team here. Along with our new group of talented recruits and transfers we have the opportunity to be very good this season.”
The Spartan attack will feature a pair of returners in senior Kyle Henninger and sophomore Ryan McNicholas. Henninger started ten of York’s 13 contests last season tallying 18 goals. He is a big attackman that has the ability to score goals in bunches. McNicholas scored nine times and distributed three assists as he started in eight games during his rookie campaign. A fluid player who is strong with both hands, McNicholas has set himself up to be on the first line attack for the 2008 season.
Joining Henninger and McNicholas in the first line is junior
transfer Brian O’Neill. After
playing the previous two seasons at Muhlenberg, O’Neill could prove to be the Spartans’ most dangerous attackman in 2008. O’Neill is a strong dodger who possesses great stick skill and an incredible shot that will boost York’s offensive capabilities.
Griffin’s strong recruiting efforts have added six gifted freshmen to the Spartan attack. Josh Gamble will fight for a starting spot this season while Patrick Raymond and Kalen Roundy will work their way into becoming quality collegiate players. Mike Lugat, Brendan McLaughlin, and John Mortimer will add solid depth to the Spartan front line.
“We have great depth up top and the three starters should
be a strength of this team,” Griffin said. “I
really hope for the freshmen to push those guys and make us a better squad everyday.”
Senior Chris Chappelle leads the Spartan midfielders into the 2008 season. Last year’s team MVP started all 13 contests and registered ten goals and five assists. Chappelle is a strong, emotional captain that will look to catapult the Spartans to new heights with his inspiring play and leadership. Sophomores Ryan Schab and Chris Norman will look to add quality minutes in the Spartan midfield. Schab had a quality freshman year starting in six games and tallying nine scores and three helpers. Norman, who scored three times and distributed three assists last season, possesses incredible size and athletic ability that will allow him to push for time this season. Senior Rob Marine will look to once again hold down the defensive midfield for the green and white. His high level of fitness and aggressive play has molded him into one of the Capital Athletic Conference’s best defensive midfielders.
Senior Steve Roy and junior Rob LaRoque return to the Spartan line-up after missing last season due to an academic internship and a shoulder injury respectively. Freshman John Gaeta comes to the Spartan program after transferring from Division I St. John’s University while rookie Garrett Anderson saw quality time in the first-line midfield during the fall season as both should compete for significant minutes in 2008. Seniors Mark Kitchenman and Dave Yike along with junior Bobby Miller, sophomores Zach Scherr, Brandon Echard, and Ross Novak, and freshmen Adam Cooper and Erich Lindhorst will add strong depth in the midfield.
At long-stick midfield, Coach Griffin welcomes back senior Mike Stokes who returns following a season-ending knee injury after only five games. Blessed with great speed and take away ability, the Spartan captain is primed to be the starter at long-stick midfield in 2008. Senior Nick Carlson will look to capitalize on the experience he gained in 2007 and will provide added talent at the position. Junior Jeff Bell and sophomore Josh Muskin will add even more depth to the long-stick midfield.
“We have a very athletic midfield, but we are relatively young,” the Spartan mentor noted. “Our first-line should be very good. We will need our reserve players to consistently improve their play throughout the season.”
The defense is the most experienced unit on the Spartan squad sporting one senior, four juniors, and two sophomores. Junior captain Steve Mersinger returns after a stellar 2007 campaign. He was selected to the All-CAC second-team after starting and playing every minute of all 13 contests. Junior James Greenwood is another Spartan captain who is set to be a key cog in the defense. Greenwood started all 13 games and was voted as the squad’s “Unsung Hero” following the 2007 campaign. Junior Gavin Scherr also returns to the Spartan defense after seeing time as a long-stick midfielder last season.
Dan Wood, a junior transfer from Goucher College, will bolster an already strong defense. An explosive and aggressive player, Wood should see significant minutes on the first-line defense.
Senior Sean O’Hara and sophomores
Dan Sadler and Jason Underwood
will push the
starting unit for playing time and provide consistent depth in back. Freshmen Bobby Braun, T.C. Cooke, Chris Killian, and Jim Oleskowitz will add even more quality depth to the defense.
Senior captain Matt Keeler is set to once again be the man between the pipes for the Spartans. A vocal and emotional leader, Keeler posted 131 saves having started all 13 games last year. Senior Joe Kenworthy will look to press Keeler for time after missing last season due to his battle with cancer. Kenworthy has made a full recovery and will continue to be an inspiration to his teammates and coaches. Freshmen Chris Collins and Devin O’Neill bring impressive talents to the cage and should prove to be strong reserves this season.
“This is one of the most talented defensive units this program has ever seen,” Griffin exclaims. “As long as we stay healthy we should be one of the best defensive teams in the conference if not the nation.”
The mixture of savvy veterans and excited newcomers should prove a tough combination for opponents this season as the Spartans continue their ascent to the top of the CAC.
“We are in a conference that is all about hard
work,” Griffin said. “Every game is a
challenge. Our focus will be on getting better every day. If we just do that good things will
The Spartans open their 2008 campaign February 23 at Guilford College.