January 20, 2010

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Chestnut Hill Men Ready to Launch in 2010

from press release

Family has been the theme of the Chestnut Hill College men's lacrosse program's inaugural season.

"We began this journey well aware of the challenges we would face," states Head Men's Lacrosse Coach Richard Carrington. "We're young, small, and inexperienced. The only way to make up for those deficiencies is to establish and embrace a culture of hard work and togetherness."

Carrington knew his inaugural class possessed the hunger and desire to consistently work hard. What he worried about was the challenge of building a cohesive team with almost forty newcomers.

"We made a conscious effort to put family at the forefront of our program's core values. We put family on the back of our t-shirts and we probably say family at least twenty times a practice," said Carrington. "To this team's credit, they've truly embraced the family theme. They do everything together and that chemistry began to reveal itself on the field as the fall season concluded."

As the newest members of the East Coast Conference, NCAA Division II's top-rated men's lacrosse conference, Chestnut Hill expects to experience a season full of ups and downs. However, Carrington is confident that his Griffins will have a successful season if they stay together and enjoy this journey as a family.

The Griffin attack features some diverse finishers. Freshmen Shane Morlock (Whitby, Ontario) and Mark Lively (Anmore, B.C.) hail from Canada and bring extensive box and field lacrosse experience to Chestnut Hill College. Freshmen Jake Reynolds (Chittenango, N.Y.) and Andrew Johnson (Norristown, Pa.) are two shooters to be reckoned with, and fellow freshman Mike Wenz (Portland, Ore.) is a threat to feed or score from X.

"Attack is probably our biggest question mark heading into this season," said Carrington. "This unit flip-flops on the depth chart on a daily basis, but they are all threats to score and I am confident the right combination will reveal itself by this spring."

Chestnut Hill lacks size at the midfield, but depth and athleticism are two areas where this group of Griffins excel. Freshmen Mark Winkelspecht (Laury Station, PA.) and D.J. Klusaritz (Allentown, Pa.) are two freshmen middies that come fresh off of a successful season at Parkland High School.

"Wink and D.J. have a great chemistry on the field. They're both extremely quick players that do everything at full speed," commented Carrington.

Carrington tabs freshman Junji Wiener (Houston, Texas) as the team's most improved player this winter. Wiener comes to Philadelphia from Texas, where he was an All-State midfielder and All-America nominee.

"Junji is a versatile player that is equally confident scoring and feeding with his right or left hand," states Carrington. "Dan Bohon (Lincoln University, Pa.) and Nate Tharp (Laurel, Md.) are two savvy players that are cut from the same mold as Junji. All three of these guys have some experience playing attack as well, so they allow us to be very creative on offense."

Carrington calls freshmen Charles Stroble (Ellicott City, Md.), Alexander Sabia (Conshohocken, PA.), and Mike Viviano (Poughquag, N.Y.) three of the scrappiest midfielders he's ever coached.

"Charles is a horse that runs over his opponents. Alexander is a bowling ball that runs through people, and Viviano has the speed to run around defenders," says Carrington. "All three of these guys are ground ball machines, and they're contributors on both sides of the ball."

Face off responsibilities will fall on the 5'10" 250-pound frame of Ricky Norman (Stafford, Va.)

"Ricky is a beast. He's won every face off tournament or competition he's ever entered and he continues to work at his craft. He's built like a power lifter, but I think teams will be surprised by his quickness."

The midfield is rounded out by some of the fastest players on the team. Bart Pierre (Maplewood, N.J.), Eric Janda (Fredericksburg, Va.), Ean Little (Wayne, N.J.), and Pat Murray (Havertown, Pa.) have the ability to blow by their defender at any time. Carrington expects these four to be reliable dodgers for the Griffins this spring.

Defense is the most experienced unit on the Griffin squad. The defense is led by sophomore Zack Hiller (Dunkirk, Md.) and freshmen Tom Carfagna (Laury Station, Pa.) and Jon Curtis (Harleysville, Pa.).

"Zack has been a leader for us since day one. He played last season at Anne Arundel Community College, and that year of high level collegiate experience has been invaluable to our defense's development," states Carrington. "Tom Carfagna might be our most gifted defender. He has the ability to strip his attack man, get the ground ball, and take it the length of the field for a goal. Jon Curtis has established himself as our vocal leader. He's all heart and can play defense at close or the midfield."

Freshman Joe Rucinsky (Camp Hill, Pa.) and junior Chris Green (Auburn, N.Y.) are expected to log significant minutes for the defense as well.

"Joe is the smartest defender on our team. He does all the little things correctly and with enthusiasm," said Carrington. "Chris is the anchor of our team on and off the field. He's the oldest member of our young squad and everyone looks to him for leadership."

Freshmen, D.J. Lynch (Mullica Hill, N.J.), Zach Wilkins (Marlton, N.J.), and Joshua Rogers (Philadelphia, Pa.) will assume long stick duties this spring. Carrington calls Lynch a ground ball magnet and intense competitor. Wilkins has the ability to pressure his opponents all over the field, and Rogers has the athleticism to be one of the best defenders in the league.

Freshmen Bill Brush (Rushland, Pa.), Alex Kurbjun (Wayne, Pa.), and Danny Garavito (Miami, Fla.) complete the defensive unit. Carrington expects all three players to push for playing time. Brush is one of the hardest workers on the team. Kurbjun has made major strides in the off season, and Garavito has established himself as an attack man's worst nightmare.

The goalie battle was back and forth all fall, and the Griffins are still without a clear-cut starter for the spring season.

"Andrew D'Addona (Norristown, Pa.) is our most fundamental goalie. He's a solid leader and makes all the saves he's expected to make," Carrington commented. "Dakota Maurer (Lititz, Pa.) might be the exact opposite of Andrew, but he's equally effective. Dakota is a strong vocal leader who finds a way to make big saves despite being a little unconventional between the pipes."

Speculation and anticipation turn to culmination when the Griffins debut on February 27th against the Knights of Neumann University.


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