Hobart Preview: Statesmen Begin 111th Season at Siena

Senior Seth Goldacker made great strides in the fall and could also shuffle the mix, but he's been limited by an ankle injury in preseason. First-year Gavin Llewellyn will also earn minutes. He's explosive and quick and breaks down a defender to create offense.

Senior captain Ryan Korn, senior Jesse Mancuso and first-year Teddy Sisco will rotate through at short-stick defensive midfielder. Korn is a seasoned defender and a leader on and off the field. Mancuso, who found his niche as a d-middie late last year, is another veteran presence on defense. Sisco is extremely fast and will influence the success of Hobart's transition game.

The long-stick midfielder rotation will feature senior Ethan O'Connor, junior Peter Bolte, and sophomore George Fries. O'Connor was second on the team in ground balls with 43 last year, scooping up a season-high six at Fairfield. Bolte was third in caused turnovers with 10, recording a season-high three at Bucknell to go with a pair of transition goals. Fries' work in the fall and preseason got the coaching staff looking for a way to get him on the field. Preferring a four-man rotation on close defense, he will get more playing opportunities at long-stick middie, but may yet make an impact on the defensive rotation.

The close defense is deeper this season than it has been over the past three seasons. The Statesmen have allowed nearly 40 shots per game over that time frame, but an influx of talent has the coaching staff talking about a defense that more closely resembles the 2009 Hobart D that ranked 10th in the nation in scoring defense (7.86 gpg).

Seniors Sean Regan and Reid Rosello form the nucleus of the four-man rotation. A four-year starter and team captain this year, Regan is the most aggressive defender on the team and a veteran leader. He begins the season five caused turnovers shy of Alex Caton's career record (43). Despite a Hobart season record 20 caused turnovers in 2012, Rosello has continued to make adjustments in his game and is poised for an even better year in 2013.

Hobart's best half of team defense last season came against Syracuse in the second half. The Statesmen limited the then 15th-ranked Orange to just three goals in the final 30 minutes. Part of the reason for that success was the addition of Eric Lombardo to the close defense following halftime. Unfortunately, he didn't get a chance to build on his success against SU due to an injury that robbed him of the rest of the season. Fully healed, look for Lombardo to have a breakout sophomore campaign.

Junior Connor Eustace and first-year Luke Miller are competing for a spot in the rotation. Eustace played in six games last season and performed well enough to earn four starts, but he was plagued by injuries that kept him from reaching his potential. Now healthy, look for him to be a regular contributor, particularly in man-down situations. Praised as the best first-year on-ball defender since two-time All-American Greg McCarthy, Miller helped lead Washington, D.C.'s, Gonzaga College High School to three consecutive league championships and a nationally ranking (#11) in 2012. He was the 23rd-ranked defenseman and No. 78 ranked player overall in the Class of 2016 by Inside Lacrosse.

The Statesmen have the luxury of two upperclassmen goalies that are capable of starting. Senior lefty Jon Lawless earned the nod in the season opener last year, but only played one game due to a broken bone in his hand. Junior righty Peter Zonino stepped up in his absence, finishing first in the nation in saves per game (14.58) and 24th in save percentage (.530). He holds the Hobart Division I season record for saves per game while his 175 stops last year are the fifth most by a Statesman since 1995. The pair enjoys a healthy competition in practice that makes each individual and the team better.

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