Raymond, NEC Era Begins on Saturday for Hobart Lacrosse

GENEVA, N.Y.-February 15, 2014, will be the dawning of a new era in the rich history of Hobart College lacrosse. The Statesmen will compete in the Northeast Conference for the first time and be under the direction of first-year head coach Greg Raymond.

The NEC coaches picked two-time defending champion Bryant to win the league. Hobart and Robert Morris tied for second. Saint Joseph's, Sacred Heart, Mount St. Mary's, and Wagner rounded out the poll. The Statesmen have little history with their league brethren, having played just seven games against the Bulldogs (1-1), Colonials (2-2), and Hawks (1-0).

Raymond will make his head coaching debut on Feb. 15, against Siena. He expects his team will continue Hobart's tradition of up-tempo offense and he and assistant coaches Jeremy Hirsch, Terry Muffley, and Peet Poillon are working hard to rebuild a fundamentally sound defense that lost all three starting close defensemen from last season.

The Statesmen elected four seniors and a junior to serve as captains this season, covering all four positions. Senior attackmen Alex Love and Cam Stone, junior midfielder Taylor Vanderbeek, senior defenseman Peter Bolte and senior goalie Peter Zonino will lead the 112th Hobart lacrosse team.

On attack, the Statesmen return all three starters in Love, Stone, and senior Jake McHenry.

A 2013 USILA honorable mention All-American, Love broke the Hobart Division I single season scoring record a year ago, logging 45 goals. He led the ECAC Lacrosse League and ranked third in the nation in goals per game (3.21). Love's most memorable performance was a six-goal, one-assist gem in the Carrier Dome, leading the Statesmen to a 13-12 upset of the No. 3 Orange. Among active players in NCAA Division I lacrosse, only Duke's Jordan Wolf (120) and Albany's Ty (112) and Miles (108) Thompson have more career goals than Love's 98. He needs 12 goals to surpass Daryl Veltman's Hobart Division I record.

A lefty shooter, Love possesses one of, if not the, most potent low to high shot in the game. As talented a player as Raymond has coached, the fourth round pick of the Baltimore Bayhawks has worked hard in the offseason to improve his right hand and become a more vocal leader on and off the field.

Stone is a natural leader, returning for a second season as captain. The quarterback of the offense, he posted a team-high 29 assists in 2013, ranking second in the ECAC and 15th in the nation in assists per game (2.07). Stone's ability to set up teammates and get everyone involved belies his scoring talents which resulted in 20 goals last year. The coaches hope to see him be a little more selfish when the situation dictates this season, taking the ball to goal himself.

Although not a captain, McHenry will be every bit as much of a leader as his running mates. A strong, off-ball finisher, he was second to Love on the team in goals (22) and extra-man goals (4). McHenry lurks in the shadows of Love and Stone, but is just as big a threat as he showed with a season-high four goals at Robert Morris.

The trio is even more potent on the field together not only because of their experience, but their experience together. They've played together for so long they have an almost sixth sense of what the other two will do in any situation.

Junior Zach Reed, sophomores Matt Opsahl and Frank Brown, and first-year Sean Donnelly give Hobart exceptional depth up top, but any and all are being considered in the midfield as well.

Opsahl, who is in the running to make Team Israel for the 2014 FIL World Championship, played primarily in extra-man situations as a first-year, producing six points (4-2) in 12 games. He's fitter and showcased better movement during the preseason.

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