Franklin & Marshall 2014 Season Preview

LANCASTER, Pa. Franklin & Marshall travels to No. 11 Lynchburg on Saturday to start the 2014 men's lacrosse season. The Diplomats return five starters from last year's squad that advanced to the program's first-ever Centennial Conference (CC) Championship game and fell just short of an NCAA berth. F&M ended the season with an 11-6 record and with a strong group of experienced players returning, expects to be back in the CC Playoffs in 2014.

Three-year starter Billy Kempner headlines the attack group this season. Kempner earned All-Centennial Conference Second Team honors last year after compiling 55 points on 32 goals and 23 assists. The senior finished the season with 34 ground balls and a 64 shot on goal percentage. Michael Bossidy will also start at attack after finishing last year with nine goals and nine assists in 16 games. Will Ballantyne is the front runner for the third spot with freshman Mike Rama and senior Matt Gillan also slated to see valuable minutes.

The group with the most depth is at midfield, with senior Jamie McCulloch and junior John Barney leading the way. McCulloch finished last season with 16 points (15g) and Barney tallied 16 points with 10 goals. Tommy Wenk saw action in all but one contest and will look to break into the starting lineup, as will juniors Philip Gamble, Chad Gamble and Ben Ross, along with sophomore Brendan Kenavan and senior Evan Baskt.

Defensive Midfield
Senior Jordan McLean along with sophomores Sean Brown and William Schwartz will make up the defensive midfield rotation. McLean saw action in 16 games last year with eight caused turnovers and nine ground balls while Brown saw limited action a year ago.

Close Defense
The heart of the defense is the close defensive unit anchored by four-year started Carlos Pelaez and senior Josh Kanter. Pelaez received All-CC Honorable Mention last year, anchoring a defensive unit that allowed just 8.26 goals per game. He finished the year with 55 ground balls and 20 caused turnovers. Kanter started in every game in 2013 with 48 ground balls and 21 caused turnovers. Junior Connor Melillo checked into eight games a year ago and will see time as well. Junior George Raum along with freshmen Nicholas Zenobio, Nick Wells and Anthony Dougherty will break into the rotation as well.

Long Stick Midfield
Wesley Rhudy will start at the long stick position after seeing action in 14 games as a freshman last season. Junior Michael Firestone should see time as well.

Senior Cameron Setian returns between the pipes for the fourth year in a row. Setian picked up honorable mention from the conference last year with the third-best goals against average in the conference at 8.06 per game and finished with 172 saves. He had a 56.4 save percentage and finished the year at 11-6. Junior Timothy Mattessich and freshman William Poillon round out the depth chart.

Sophomore Mike Sanzone and Senior Nils Hansen will take turns at the X this year. Sanzone played in 13 games last year with 40 wins and 23 ground balls while Hansen came away with seven wins from the X.

The Road Ahead
Repeating last year's success will not be an easy task as the Diplomats have one of the most challenging schedules in the country with five teams in the top-20 showing up on their schedule. No. 7 Dickinson, No. 9 Washington, No. 11 Lynchburg, No. 14 Washington & Lee and No. 20 Gettysburg all appear on the schedule in 2014. F&M's home opener is Wednesday against York and the Diplomats first CC game is on March 22, at Muhlenberg.


Create a free lacrosse website