Men’s lacrosse, coming off a 5-8 (3-7 in the NESCAC) season in 2013, is looking ahead to the upcoming season with goals of improving and winning a NESCAC championship. Williams will start the journey this Saturday, opening its season at Bowdoin.
The road to a NESCAC championship will be as hard as ever this year, with three NESCAC teams ranked in the top 20 of Div. III. The men will play at home against No. 5 Tufts and No. 12 Wesleyan before traveling to No. 18 Middlebury to end their season. The team looks to end five-year losing droughts to both Tufts and Middlebury, especially following a nail-biting 15-14 loss to Middlebury on the last game of the regular season in 2013.
Last year, the Ephs lost six games by one-goal deficits, evidence of their continued resilience in one of the strongest lacrosse conferences in all of Div. III. Williams graduated four big contributors from last season: Colton Growney ’13, Evan Dedominicis ’13, Will Stewart ’13 and Mack Von Mehren ’13. Growney, Dedominicis and Stewart accounted for most of the Ephs’ offense in 2013, combining for 42 percent of the total 114 goals scored. Von Mehren started all 13 games at defense for the Ephs.
Fortunately, the Ephs are returning tri-captain David Lee ’14, tri-captain Ben Allison ’14 and tri-captain Stephen Upton ’14. Lee was the top faceoff man for the Ephs last year, collecting 54 percent of the 259 faceoffs he took. Allison started all 13 games for the Ephs last season, collecting 11 ground balls and causing nine turnovers on defense. Upton appeared in all 13 games last season, snagging 37 ground balls and causing 14 turnovers. The other returning seniors include Peter Sullivan ’14 and John Wawrose ’14. Sullivan is the key returner for the long stick midfielders, appearing in 11 games in 2013, collecting 25 ground balls and causing 11 turnovers, while Wawrose will round out the defensive squad for the Ephs.
The Ephs are looking at top point-scorer Steven Kiesel ’15 with large expectations for 2014 in the midfield. At attack, Conor Roddy ’16 has high prospects after a spectacular rookie campaign that included 11 goals and nine assists. Ryan Hamilton ’16 also returns after starting 11 games in his rookie season, picking up 24 ground balls and leading the Ephs in caused turnovers with 20. In goal, the Ephs return Dan Whittam ’15, who started all 13 games last season and had a .557 save percentage.
The men have a strong 10-man rookie class that is looking to make serious contributions to the Ephs’ season. “We have a very talented and young team,” Allison said. “This year, as always, we see ourselves winning the Little Three and being the best team in the NESCAC.”
The Ephs will face off against the Polar Bears at 1 p.m. on Saturday in Brunswick, Maine.