Otterbein Lacrosse 2011 Season Preview

WESTERVILLE, OHIO The Otterbein University men's lacrosse program prepares to enter its second season after beginning play in the spring of 2010.

The Cardinals went 4-11 in the inaugural season, and will be looking to make great strides with a season of competition under their belts. Second-year Head Coach Colin Hartnett welcomes back at least 11 key contributors from last year's bunch, including the top three scorers.

Sophomore Alex Dowell led the Cards with 28 points (23 goals, five assists) en route to team offensive MVP honors. He tallied 11 goals over the team's last five outings, including an impressive six goals against the Milwaukee School of Engineering that will be the program's single-season record moving forward.

Sophomores Adam McGrath and Graham Shippy also return, having tallied 26 and 22 points last spring respectively. Shippy recorded the program's first ever goal in the season opener vs. Lake Erie College, while McGrath led the Cardinals in assists, racking up ten in just 12 games.

Other key returnees up front include senior Brad Pendy, junior Jason Paselk, and sophomores Juan Contreras and Jake Ritzenthaler. Paselk tallied 13 points last spring while Ritzenthaler served as the primary face-off specialist.

Defenders Steve Resch, Michael Spatafore, and David Brewer are also back, as well as sophomore goalkeeper Adam Hatchard.

Hatchard earned team defensive MVP honors a year ago, starting all 15 games in the cage. The Michigan native tallied double-digit saves in every contest but one en route to a season total of 197, and came up with 17 stops in two different contests.

"I think we have a real solid core group of kids, exactly the kind of guys you want to build a program around," Hartnett said. "A lot of these players have improved themselves a great deal over the offseason. A year of college lacrosse has had a very positive effect on our guys, and we hope to see maturity from these returners, both mentally and physically."

In addition, the Cardinal coaching staff anticipates receiving contribution from multiple newcomers, as the team has added 37 new faces this season.

"We are thrilled to have the class of newcomers that we ended up with," Hartnett said. "We have improved all over the field. Whether it's depth or talent, we can point to significant upgrades at each position."

The team opens its season March 5-6, traveling to St. Louis, MO to take on Hendrix College (AL) and then host Fontbonne University (MO).

Otterbein defeated both schools a year ago in Westerville, notching an 11-5 win over Hendrix before turning back Fontbonne 9-8 in overtime.


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