February 28, 2014

2014 Corsairs Men's Lacrosse Season Preview

NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. – An experienced University of Massachusetts Dartmouth men's lacrosse team has its sights set on making a charge for the 2014 Little East Conference Championship. The Corsairs will welcome back 24 student-athletes into the fold from the 2013 campaign.

POLL SETTERS
According to the annual preseason coaches' poll, UMass Dartmouth is tied with Plymouth State University for third place. The Corsairs and Panthers each received 40 total points. Defending Little East tournament champions, Eastern Connecticut State is ranked first in the annual coaches' survey with six first place votes. Keene State College garnered the remaining two first place ballots to finish second in the seven-team field.

A LOOK BACK INTO 2013
Last season, UMass Dartmouth posted an overall record of 10-5 to reach double digits in victories for the third consecutive campaign. Head Coach Kevin Mahoney led his charges to a 4-3 mark inside the conference circuit to earn the third seed in the 2013 Little East Men's Lacrosse Championship tournament. The Corsairs suffered a 13-12 quadruple overtime setback to sixth-seeded Western Connecticut State University in the longest game in conference tournament history.

POSITION BY POSITION

ATTACK
Sophomore Bo Prozinski (Ashland, Mass.) is the top-returning scoring threat from 2013. The Ashland, Mass. product will look to build off his standout rookie campaign, where he led the Corsairs in goals scored (31), assists (13) and game-winning goals (4). Juniors Riley Baxter (Groton, Mass.) and Tyler Chasnov (Plymouth, Mass.), as well as sophomores Alex Lucas (Brookfield, Mass.) and Steve Merrick (Methuen, Mass.) will provide a strong supporting cast in the attacking third of the field.

MIDFIELD
The Corsairs gear their game plan through their seasoned midfield unit comprised of senior co-captains Todd Davis (Sandwich, Mass.), Jordan MacPherson (Westwood, Mass.), and Adam Niden (Walpole, Mass.). Davis saw time in all 15 contests and reached double-digits in goals scored (10). MacPherson placed among the conference leaders in game-winning goals (4), which included the deciding overtime score against the Colonials on March 30. The Westwood Mass. native ranked second on UMass Dartmouth in goals scored with 20 markers. Niden added 15 goals and dished out 11 helpers, positioning him behind Prozinski in the assist column last season. Seniors Dan Dawley (Revere, Mass.), Justin Lawless (Quincy, Mass.) and long-sticker Jared Wright (Gloucester, Mass.) are expected to see significant time. The sophomore tandem of Dan Brown (Beverly, Mass.) and Zach Drolette (Burlington, V.T.) look to continue their roles as face-off specialists for the Corsairs.

DEFENSE
The UMass Dartmouth defense will be led by senior Steve Tarpey (Shrewsbury, Mass.). The co-captain earned second team All-Little East honors last spring for his lockdown defensive efforts, resulting in a team-best 69 ground balls and 26 forced turnovers. Also returning on the defensive side of the ball are juniors Andrew Ahearn (Medway, Mass.), Brian Grant (North Eastham, Mass.) and sophomore Joey Christopher (Chelmsford, Mass.).

GOALIE
Representing the Corsairs in net for the fourth consecutive season is 2013 first team All-LEC goalie Nick Thayer (Chelmsford, Mass.). Last year, Thayer ranked among Little East leaders in goals against average (2nd, 7.56), save percentage (3rd, .554), and saves per game (5th, 9.53). The senior co-captain enters his final season with 29 career wins in the crease for UMass Dartmouth.

COACHING STAFF
Mahoney added two new faces to the UMass Dartmouth sideline for the 2014 season in Shaun Stanton and Mark Goulding. Stanton has over a quarter of a century of coaching experience, serving as the Head Coach of the St. Sebastian School boy's lacrosse team for 28 seasons, as well as the Head Coach of the South Coast Buzzards select team. He was a member of the Boston College men's lacrosse team from 1981 to 1985. Goulding brings over a decade of coaching experience, including a pair of Connecticut State Championship Titles, as well as a strong playing background to the staff. He was a four-year starting defenseman for the nationally-ranked Division I Penn State University Nittany Lions. Following his collegiate career, he played several seasons of club lacrosse for NYAC, Skoal Bandits and CT Valley.

SCHEDULE
UMass Dartmouth will sponsor a 16-game schedule in 2014. The Corsairs will face seven non-league opponents prior to beginning their seven-game Little East Conference slate. UMass Dartmouth will open the 2014 schedule at 3 p.m. on March 1, when the Corsairs host Norwich University. UMD will sandwich a pair of road games at Wheaton College (March 5) and Nichols College (March 15) between a home match against Mount Ida on March 8. The Corsairs face a challenging three-game stretch against Roger Williams, Wentworth, and Connecticut College before commencing conference play. UMass Dartmouth will begin the Little East circuit at 1 p.m. on March 29, when the Corsair Keene State College. UMass Dartmouth will also host conference foes in Southern Maine (April 12) and Western Connecticut (April 19). The Corsairs complete their regular-schedule with road games at Salem State (April 22) and UMass Boston (April 26).

The top-six teams in the final Little East regular-season standings advance to the 2014 conference tournament with the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds earning a first round bye. The semifinal finals are scheduled for Friday, May 2 with the championship game being played two days later at the highest remaining seed. The 2014 Little East champion will receive automatic qualification into the NCAA Division III tournament.

TRACKING THE CORSAIRS
The UMass Dartmouth athletics department will provide a free video broadcast of all men's lacrosse home games during the 2014 season on LittleEast.tv. Fans can also access real-time statistics on the Corsair schedule and results page.