Lebanon Valley Eyes Next Step in 2014

ANNVILLE, Pa. - Lebanon Valley is looking to continue the growth of its young program in 2014.

Following a 12-7 season a year ago that ended in Commonwealth Conference and ECAC semifinal appearances, the Valley is expected to continue to take that next step and compete for a conference championship this season. The Valley open up on the road at Frostburg State on March 1 at 1:00 p.m.

Below is a position-by-position breakdown of the 2014 edition of Lebanon Valley men's lacrosse.

The attack unit for the Valley is led by senior captain Malik Pedroso, the first player in LVC history to amass over 50 goals in one season a year ago. Pedroso tallied 52 goals and 31 assists for 83 points to lead the team in all three categories and has earned All-Commonwealth honors all three seasons on the field, including first team nods the last two years.

"We think Malik is not only one of the better players in the conference, but also in the country," head coach John Haus said. "He'll lead a solid attack group with more depth than we've had in a while."

Joining Pedroso up front is the team's second leading scorer from last season in senior Alex Beard. Beard posted 40 goals and 13 assists for 53 points on the year and led the team with five game-winning tallies. Senior Matt Roupe and sophomore Klayton Garman, who will join the attack after hockey season, provide other threats up front for the Valley.

Additionally, junior Matt Lubawski, senior Ryan Leonard, and freshmen Baker Landon and Alex Aguilar will see time in the opposing zone for the Dutchmen.

Seniors Jordan Mayr, Andrew Dennison, and Scott Travers take the reins of the midfield group in 2014. These three accounted for 39 combined points in 2013 and are relied upon to be all over the field in the LVC scheme.

Also contributing the middle will be senior Bryan Cooney, who will play more of defensive-minded role, as well as sophomore Jacques Mercer, who Haus is looking for to take the next step in his sophomore season. Classmates Jeremy Beaver and Chris Bergeron have been working hard in the offseason and will provide depth to this group as well.

There will certainly be some freshmen impact in this group as rookies Austin Minnich, Austin Farwell, and Cooper Gerus have impressed in the early going.

"Minnich is one of the hardest workers I've seen in a long time coming in as a freshman," Haus said. "He's a ground ball man, can play defense, can shoot, and is relentless between the lines. He just does so many of the little things well and plays hard."

Senior captains Andrew Kruter and Ryan Lanigan make up one of the top defensive pairs in the Commonwealth Conference and return for their final seasons in Annville in 2014. Kruter, an All-Commonwealth performer the last two seasons, caused 26 turnovers and picked up 45 ground balls a year ago.

"Andrew is as good as there is in our conference in close defense and doesn't get enough recognition nationally," Haus added. "He's continued to improve throughout his career and has always marked the top attack man on the opposing team and has done a consistent outstanding job night in and night out. His work ethic and leadership qualities make him a complete player."

On the other side, Lanigan was a First-Team All-Commonwealth player in 2013, ranking fourth in the nation in caused turnovers with 64. The Ronkonkom, N.Y. native also picked up a team-high 108 ground balls and set an LVC single-game record with seven caused turnovers at Albright in the ECAC semifinals.

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