Amherst Lacrosse Set to Open the 2013 Season

Racing out to a 7-0 start last season, Amherst struggled down the stretch, dropping seven of its last nine to finish with a 9-7 overall mark and a 5-5 league ledger. Looking to rebound from a disappointing finish, third-year head coach Jon Thompson and a refocused Lord Jeff squad hope to regain the form that saw Amherst post a program record 15 wins en route to a national quarterfinal appearance in 2011.

"Playing with a bullseye on our back last year was a special experience," said Thompson. "This year has to be about earning the country's respect back. We want to earn the right to play with the bullseye on our back next year."

With a squad that features 25 underclassmen (including 13 first-years), the young Jeffs will have little time to find their rhythm thanks to a grueling schedule that features four opponents ranked in the top-20 nationally and six contests against teams that earned NCAA Tournament bids last season.

"We need to mature quickly to compete in this league," Thompson said. "You don't get a day off. It's exciting day in and day out because of the opportunity to compete against some extraordinary teams."

Opening the season at Colby and Bates on Mar. 9-10, Amherst begins its home schedule against regional power and 2012 NCAA participant ECSU on Mar. 13. The Jeffs then take on No. 15 Bowdoin at Brown University on Mar. 16 before squaring off with Endicott and Nazareth.

Amherst returns to Gooding Field on Mar. 27 for a Little Three showdown with Wesleyan before traveling to Clinton, N.Y. for a league match-up with Hamilton. Amherst then kicks off a crucial four-game homestand against perennial powers Middlebury, Springfield, No. 5 Tufts and No. 18 Conn. College before closing out the year at archrival Williams and No. 16 Trinity.

Anchoring the Jeffs' defensive efforts is senior tri-captain Danny Gold. An All-NEILA and All-NESCAC honoree a year ago, the long-stick midfielder led the squad in caused turnovers (20), while ranking among the team leaders in ground balls (41). Playing an integral role on Amherst's penalty-killing unit, Gold helped the Jeffs successfully navigate 19 of its final 22 man-down opportunities, holding opponents scoreless on their last 10 man-up advantages.

With 123 ground balls and 31 caused turnovers to his credit, Gold has also shown the ability to make an impact offensively, registering 16 career points on eight goals and eight assists.

"He is one of the engines that makes this team run," said Thompson. "I truly believe he is changing the way long-stick midfielders are defined. He's extraordinary offensively and having developed so much defensively over the last six months, he's now able to have his cake and eat it too."

Joining Gold as defensive midfielders are Kevin Curry '15, Eric Grein '15 and Connor Crump '16. Recovering from an injury that limited him to just 10 appearances last season, Curry stands poised to make major contributions this season, while Grein looks to build on a first-year campaign that saw him collect six ground balls in 14 games.

Starting all 16 contests for the Jeffs in 2012, Tony Argibay'13 headlines Amherst's close defense alongside Matthew Virgilio '15, Kevin Coleman '14 and newcomer Ryan Cassidy '16. Argibay returns after picking up 12 ground balls and six caused turnovers as a junior, while Coleman started eight of 15 appearances, tallying 14 ground balls. Virgillio should continue to develop after a strong rookie year, while Cassidy gives the Jeffs another option in the back.

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