2011 Washington & Lee Men's Lacrosse Season Preview

The men's lacrosse program at W&L has a long and storied tradition of success and head coach Gene McCabe believes that his 2011 squad has all the tools necessary to add another chapter to that tradition.

"We know what we have internally, but a lot has yet to be proven on the field," said McCabe recently. "We have the ability to win the ODAC, go to the NCAAs and fulfill our dreams of playing in M&T Bank Stadium for the National Championship."

For McCabe's squad to make any of those goals a reality, he believes there are a few measurables that need to improve.

"Over time we have proven to be a strong defense, but against the best teams in the country we need to prove that we can hold them to less than 10 goals," McCabe asserted. "Our clearing percentage was also not where we would like it to be and we are focusing on cleaning that up." McCabe also added that the team graduated a good deal of scoring and that the younger players need to step up and prove that they can score at a "higher rate" than they have in prior seasons.

McCabe lists several immeasurables among his team's strengths, noting his squad's depth, toughness and determination as factors involved in his team achieving its ultimate goals.

"As a coaching staff we know what we have and I don't think we have any glaring weaknesses, but we need to prove that on the field," said the fifth-year mentor. "Depth at all positions is something that we can rely on and I think the X factor will be our heart, toughness and determination."

Among the main questions that outsiders would ask is how the Generals replace the four-year production of Will Keigler, who graduated as the program's sixth all-time leading scorer (212 pts.). Keigler's numbers may not be replicated by any one player, but McCabe believes he has the talent and depth to absorb his scoring across the entire attack unit.

"This is a hard-working and talented group of attackmen," noted McCabe. "They have the ability to put a lot of points on the board and I think we will see the benefits of having a lot of young players who gained valuable experience last season."

Though mostly youth prevails for the attack unit, senior Spence Daw will be the likely candidate to pick up some of Keigler's production. Daw was the third-leading scorer (20 G, 22 A) on the Generals' 2009 ODAC Champion squad, but injuries forced a dip in his numbers a season ago (13 G, 7 A). He's healthy again and ready for a big senior campaign.

"I expect Spence to be the leader of the attack unit," said McCabe. "He is coming off an injury-riddled junior season and I think he is ready to have an excellent season for us."

Beyond Daw, McCabe cited junior Scott Meehan and sophomores Mac Means and Jack Switala as players that should see plenty of time on attack. Meehan has played in 26 games over his first two seasons, totaling 23 points on six goals and 17 assists.

"Scott had a great fall season and he was named the MVP of the Lee-Jackson game," said McCabe. "He is in the best shape of his life and he is poised to have a good season."

Means started 15 games as a rookie and finished third on the team in scoring with 28 points (24 G, 4 A). McCabe noted that he believes Means will have an "impact year" for W&L and that he is a "difficult player to defend in any situation."

Switala also gained valuable experience during his first season with the Generals, playing in 14 contests and notching four goals, including two against Randolph-Macon in the ODAC Tournament Quarterfinals.

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