2014 Saint Michael's College Men's Lacrosse Outlook

COLCHESTER, Vt. - After putting together one of the most successful seasons in program history last spring, the nationally-ranked Saint Michael's men's lacrosse team faces a fresh start after the departure of 16 players, including the graduation of its top two scorers and a record-setting goaltender.

"In looking at the roster this year with all the change-over, we found that we can't just replace certain guys we lost, but instead we're really a whole new team," said Pat Ivory '08, who enters his second year as head coach of the program after serving as the interim last spring. "We have a lot of new faces, and we have a whole new identity. We're shaping the team and the culture in what we try to do around what we have, so we're going to be new in a lot of different facets of the game." Despite the makeover, the Purple Knights garnered the 14th spot in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association's (USILA) preseason national poll.

A stout defense helped Saint Michael's go 11-5 overall and 9-2 in the Northeast-10 Conference in 2013. The nine league triumphs were a school record, as was a nine-game winning streak during the middle of the season, and the overall victories total matched a program standard. After occupying first place until late April, the Purple Knights won an NE-10 Championship quarterfinal for the third straight year but lost in the semifinals to eventual national semifinalist Adelphi.

"One of the things we've done really well in the past is playing a team defensive game, operating as units instead of individuals, and that's certainly something we look to continue," said Ivory, the reigning New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (NEILA) and NE-10 Coach of the Year. Saint Michael's was second in Division II in man-down defense, third in caused turnovers and eighth in scoring defense last spring.

"As far as things we're changing, it's going to be all new offensive sets and looks, and we're really working on trying to distribute the ball a lot more, with a lot of ball movement and off-ball movement being our keys to success instead of individual dodging," said Ivory. First-year assistant coaches Dave Fraboni, Dan Frantz and Nate Hull complete the coaching staff.

The Purple Knights begin the season with a challenging slate, hosting No. 6 New York Institute of Technology on Saturday in their opener before traveling to No. 8 Merrimack College two games later on March 15 for their NE-10 opener. Scattered among their remaining league foes are No. 1 Le Moyne College, the defending national champion, and No. 3 Adelphi, as well as a pair of squads receiving votes toward the preseason national poll.

The six-team NE-10 Championship begins on April 29, as Saint Michael's looks to qualify for the 11th time in 13 years while extending the most successful three-year run in program history, during which time the Purple and Gold was 32-16.

"It's hard not to look back and think about what we've done in the last few years, and the guys certainly have a certain expectation of themselves, having been part of nationally-ranked teams," said Ivory, "but what really matters for me is the small day-to-day stuff, how we're doing in practice, making sure we're giving it 110 percent and making sure we get better. If we do those things, the national ranking, where we're seeded in the conference, and playoff position will take care of themselves."

Seniors (9)
Two of the Purple Knights' three captains hail from the Class of 2014 in versatile midfielder Cooper Quenneville (Shoreham, Vt./Gould Academy) and defenseman Sean Smith (West Islip, N.Y./Saint John the Baptist Diocesan). Quenneville won a team-high 52.6 percent of his face-offs last year while standing second on the squad in face-off victories (40) and ground balls (51). He tacked on 12 goals and 11 assists. Smith moves to close defense after serving as a long-stick midfielder, having scooped up 17 ground balls and caused eight turnovers.

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2014-02-25



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