Princeton Cautiously Optimistic for 2011 Season

Jonathan Meyers moved from close defense to LSM last year after Chad Wiedmaier came back from injury, but Meyers will be back at close defense this year. Senior Derek Styer was the No. 2 pole while Meyers was on defense, and sophomore Rob Castelo played well in a limited role a year ago.

Defense

Starters returning - Long Ellis (0-0-0, 26 GBs, 22 caused turnovers), Chad Wiedmaier (0-0-0, 12 GBs, 12 caused turnovers)

Starters lost - Jeremy Hirsch (0-1-1, 15 GBs, nine caused turnovers)

Other letterwinners returning - Bill Coughlin (0-0-0, 2 caused turnovers), Mike Flanagan (0-0-0, 2 caused turnovers), Jonathan Meyers (0-0-0, 25 GBs, 11 caused turnovers)

Other letterwinners lost - Peter Niehaus (0-0-0), Tim Novick (0-0-0)

Newcomers - Rob Posniewski, Derick Raabe, Brian Reilly

Through its history, Princeton has had some great defensive units; the 2011 version has the potential to join that elite list. The close defensive unit starts with a preseason first-team All-America and includes a three-year starter and another two-year starter.

The main man is junior Chad Wiedmaier, a preseason first-team All-America who was a second-team All-America and first-team All-Ivy selection last year despite missing the first six games due to an off-season knee injury. Wiedmaier, a dynamic defender who has thrown blankets over some of the top attackmen in Division I, is already one of the best at his position in program history, and he has two full seasons to go.

Joining Wiedmaier is senior Long Ellis, who has been a mainstay each of the last two seasons. A year ago, Ellis led the team with 22 caused turnovers, and he is big, strong and fast. Jonathan Meyers, who started on defense last year when Wiedmaier was hurt and then played longstick midfield the rest of the way, is bigger, stronger and faster, and he gives Princeton a third defenseman who has played significant minutes at a high level in his career. Beyond those three, Mike Flanagan continues to push to be on the field; Flanagan was a member of the man-down unit last year. Junior Bill Coughlin and freshmen Rob Posniewski, Brian Reilly and Derick Raabe could also find minutes.

Goalie

Starter returning - Tyler Fiorito (8.58 GAA, .569 save %)

Other letterwinner returning - Christian Blake (9.29 GAA, .400 save %)

Letterwinners lost - Nikhil Ashra (missed 2010 due to injury), Yuri Larrabee (14.01 GAA, .000 save %)

Newcomer - Brian Kavanagh

Tyler Fiorito has already done something that only one other goalie in Princeton history has done - start every game as a freshman and sophomore. The other was Scott Bacigalupo, who recently entered the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Now an experienced junior, Fiorito has been everything he was billed to be when he arrived two years ago, and he is as good as any goalie in Division I. He is equally as dangerous stopping the ball as he is starting it the other way, as his assist to Jack McBride on a 70-yard pass against Rutgers a year ago showed. Senior Christian Blake and freshman Brian Kavanagh will back up Fiorito.

Face-off

Starters returning - Jeff Froccaro (90x177, .508, 44 GBs), Peter Smyth (57x114, .500, 25 GBs)

Other letterwinners returning - Zach Drexler (no stats in 2010), Bobby Lucas (25x48, .521, 14 GBs)

Princeton won four more face-offs than it lost in 2010, winning 176 while losing 172. While that might not seem like much, it represented a +26 swing from a year earlier, when Princeton lost 22 more than it won. In fact, Princeton's top three face-off men - Jeff Froccaro, Peter Smyth, Bobby Lucas - all were at least .500.

Froccaro, an offensive middie, took the most face-offs with 177, including wins to start overtimes against Johns Hopkins and Penn, both of which became Princeton wins on the first OT possession. Smyth, a defensive shortstick, took 114, winning half. Lucas was off to a strong start early in the season, going 25 for 48 before a back injury ended his year. Zach Drexler, who was out of school last year, is another option.

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2011-02-04



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