Hobart Preview: Statesmen Begin 111th Season at Siena

The 111th Hobart College lacrosse season begins Saturday, Feb. 16 at Siena. The Statesmen and Saints will face off at 2:30 p.m. in Loudonville, N.Y.

On the heels of two outstanding recruiting classes, including the current crop of first-years that were ranked 20th in the nation by Inside Lacrosse, the team is deeper than it's ever been under fifth-year Head Coach T.W. Johnson and has its sights set on climbing higher in the ECAC Lacrosse League standings.

Hobart is coming off a 4-9 season, but four of those losses were by two goals or less, including an overtime setback to Ohio State. If the Statesmen get on the winning side of tight games, it's not difficult to see Hobart making great strides in 2013.

The Statesmen welcome back 27 lettermen, including seven starters. They will square off against a challenging slate that features half of its 14 games against teams ranked in both the USILA and Inside Lacrosse preseason polls.

"We love this group," Johnson says. "The leadership's been good from the captains and seniors, the mental approach is right, and the work-ethic and intensity is in the right place. From a coaching standpoint, we really appreciate that and enjoy working with them."

"We've gotten some depth back through recruiting and it's quality depth, not just depth," Johnson says. "Overall our athletic ability has gone up."

Hobart begins the year with a three-game road trip that also includes No. 8/6 Cornell and Binghamton. The Statesmen make their Boswell Field debut with three straight home games. No. 10/11 Colgate kicks off the homestand on March 5 followed by Hobart's ECAC opener against Michigan and then a visit from Canisius. After a quick trip to Robert Morris on St. Patrick's Day, the Statesmen host No. 16 Fairfield and No. 9/8 Denver.

Hobart will make another three-game road trip with stops at No. 19/20 Ohio State, Bellarmine, and No. 13/12 Syracuse before hosting defending national champion and top-ranked Loyola for Senior Day on April 20. The Statesmen close out the regular season at Air Force on April 27.

The goal of all eight teams in the ECAC is always to finish in the top four in the conference standings, but this year, Hobart has the added incentive of playing at home. Boswell Field will serve as the host of the championship tournament on May 2 and May 4.

Here's a position-by-position look at the Statesmen:

Hobart returns not just two of its three starters from a year ago, but two of the top attackmen in the nation. Juniors Alex Love and Cam Stone give the Statesmen a one-two punch tandem reminiscent of Daryl Veltman '08 and Jamie Kirk '08.

A 2012 All-ECAC second team selection, Love led Hobart with 45 points, including a Statesmen Division I record 38 goals. He scored three or more goals eight times-including five-goal outbursts against Binghamton and Bellarmine-in 13 games a year ago. Love earned honorable mention preseason All-America honors from Inside Lacrosse/Face Off Yearbook after finishing 2012 fifth in the nation in goals per game and 26th in points per game.

One of four captains this season, Stone recorded a team-high 29 assists, the second highest season total in Hobart's Division I history. He was second in the ECAC and fourth in the nation in assists per game. Stone notched a season-high six helpers at Bucknell.

While the graduation of Sam Miller '12 (24-3-27) leaves a hole in the starting lineup, there's no shortage of talented players ready to fill the void. Junior Jake McHenry and sophomore Zach Reed are the leading candidates coming out of the preseason. McHenry (2-1-3 in 13 career games) played mostly in extra man situations last year. He has a strong work ethic and good hands. Reed (3-1-4, 11 gms) enjoyed success in limited minutes and is expected to see time up top and in the midfield.

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