Saint Joseph's Men's Lacrosse Season Preview for 2014

"I'm really excited to come in with such a big, hungry freshman class," said Rastivo. "We're all working really hard. The upperclassmen are doing a great job getting everyone acclimated being that almost half of the team is freshmen. They've been a great help and we're just challenging each other every single day. We're all very excited."

Senior midfielder Will Abbott returns as SJU's faceoff specialist after posting a .450 percentage (118 of 262) in 2013. Abbott also ranked second on the team in ground balls (37).

Classmate Billy Annesley will also see time at the X and enters 2014 with a career faceoff percentage of .361 (56 of 155) while freshmen Charles Giunta (.560 face-off percentage as a senior), Mike Lanham(FCA face-off champion), and Danny Manning (.750 face-off percentage as a senior) also have considerable high school experience from the X and could be contributors this year.

The defensive unit is set with the trio of senior captain Jack Moran and juniors Kevin Barrow and Will Farrell. Farrell led the team in ground balls (44) and caused turnovers (24) last season while Barrow (22GB, 12CT) and Moran (16GB, 9CT) were also solid on the back line. The three defensive veterans started all 16 games last season to combine for 82 ground balls and 49 percent (45 of 92) of SJU's total caused turnovers.

Juniors Dylan O'Donnell and Guy Talarico, sophomores Cameron Riley and John Winchell, and freshmenCharles Giunta, Mitchell Gray, Connor Kubikowski, Shane Taggert, and Jared Wolf will look to add to the defensive unit.

Junior Dustin Keen earned the starting role between the pipes for the Hawks last season and returns as SJU's starting goalkeeper in 2014. Freshman T.J. Jones will back up Keen in goal.

Keen had a standout sophomore season, starting all 16 contests to boast a 9.90 goals-against average and .503 saves percentage in 860:16. Keen averaged 10.25 saves against nationally ranked opponents and made 10+ saves on seven different occasions in 2013.

"We've still got a lot of question marks in our line-up," said Wray. "There's going to be a lot of shuffling over the next three weeks. There are 20 practices and three scrimmages to watch the guys compete and evaluate who's going to be in what roles on February 15th. One thing I can say is this is the tightest it's been over the last two years in terms of the separation between players at each position."

The Hawks open their season on the road on Saturday, February 15 at High Point. Their first home game is slated for Saturday, February 22 against VMI.

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