prepares for second Division I season with talented incoming
its first year as a varsity and Division I program now in the
record books, the Binghamton mens lacrosse team looks to
continue building the program heading into the 2003 season.
Head coach Ed Stephenson returns just four players from last
years inaugural squad, but brought in a talented class
of 24 recruits, including five high school all-americans. After
an intensive fall season, competition for starting positions
has been an important focus during the preseason.
I like our starting groups at every position, Stephenson
said. At the same time, depth will be a challenge at every
spot. Staying healthy will be a top priority.
midfield play looks strong heading into season
midfield position is shaping up to be one of the strongest positions
on the field for the Bearcats. Several of the teams midfielders
have made successful conversions from attackers in high school,
and the newcomers will take on a variety of roles.
Midfield is where we are deepest right now, Stephenson
said. All of our players are very strong dodgers. We
will show different looks with some guys dodging from up top
and some from the wings and behind.
With the parity at the midfield positions, there could be movement
in the lineup during the season. Rob Christy, Matt
DeCirce, Brian Morgan, Aaron LaFlair, David
Burpoe, Brian Thomas, Charlie Cook and Joe
Vavala will all see significant playing time.
As a whole, we will possess good speed and quickness at
the midfield position, Stephenson said.
will benefit from teams offensive strategy
attack position will also be a highly competitive spot for Binghamton.
Freshman Brian Chaapel has established himself as the
teams top playmaker and freshman Phil Cavallo has excelled
with the 1-on-1 dodge and the outside shot. Meanwhile, freshmen
Scott Mitchell, John Gaudet, Joe Conner
and Mike Tran will each push for significant playing time.
We have a very young starting unit, but they have done
a nice job of adapting to this level of play, Stephenson
said. We have created an offense that gives them the best
possible chance to succeed based on the skills they bring. We
will set them up where they are most comfortable. Overall, I
think we will have a very balanced offensive set. Our
scoring will come from many different people, but I would expect
any of our starting attackmen to step up and lead the team in
scoring. Our scoring among the rest of the midfielders should
be about equal.
defense shows early promise
will have a chance to stand out at the close defense positions.
The freshman trio of Sean Meluney, Kevin Kaylor
and Michael Boudouin have established themselves as a
strong starting unit.
It has been a pleasant surprise to see the selflessness
this group plays with, and that is one of the most important
qualities for a defensive unit. They are each willing to sacrifice
to help their teammates and they show remarkable poise for such
a young group. They are a foundation for what I think will develop
into an exceptional Division I defensive unit over the years.
and Moore anchor defensive midfield position
defensive midfield position looks to be a potentially dangerous
position for Binghamtons opponents due to the units
strong play in transition.
What separates this squad from others I have coached is
that they are extremely dangerous in transition, Stepehenson
said. Other teams often take their defensive midfielders
off the field on offense, but this group is capable of staying
on and making a contribution on the offensive end.
Returnees Chris Healy, a junior, and senior Tyler Moore,
along with sophomore George Sainteus are positioned as
the starters heading into the season. Healy transitions to defense
after playing at midfield last season.
Chris has made the best transition I have ever seen from
midfield to long stick defense, Stephenson said. At
6-6 with tremendeous speed, he will be a threat with or without
the ball. He has a chance to be one of the standout defenders
in the country and is a legitimate All-America candidate.
Moore also moves over from offensive midfield and will provide
strong leadership on defense.
Tyler has taken on more of a leadership role this season,
Stephenson said. We have three freshmen at the close defensive
positions and Tyler has provided excellent leadership to our
The strong play of Healy and Moore fits in with Stephensons
goals for building the program.
Our strength defensively matches my philosophy of developing
a strong defensive unit first. That will be the backbone of
building our team.
battle shaping up at goalkeeper
Kevin McKeown and junior transfer Adam Skiadas
are battling neck-and-neck for the starting nod in goal, and
each will see significant time in the net this season.
Adam and Kevin are both very different players, Stephenson
said. Each is very effective in goal with different styles.
Adam is very agile, has catlike reflexes and is quick-handed.
Kevin is a big, strong goalie who plays very good angles and
has great anticipation of the shooter. Each player makes very
good outlet passes to start our transition game.
fueled by chemistry, selflessness
so many newcomers who will see significant playing time this
season, many Bearcats will take on a variety of roles.
For such a young group, discipline will be a huge factor,
Stephenson said. The ability to stick to our game plan
when we are up or down by a few goals will be a barometer of
how disciplined we are. In addition, we will need to show poise
in the final minutes of close games.
We expect a number of our guys to be able to contribute
in a variety of ways, Stephenson said. You might
see midfielders resting at the attack or attackers being spelled
in other places. Overall our squad is very team-oriented and
exceptionally selfless. So far in practice I have been the most
pleased with the teams togetherness. Because we are so
tight, we will be flexible. This is a great group to work with.
will face a daunting schedule this season
Stephenson and his staff have drastically increased the difficulty
of the teams schedule this season. That begins with the
conference games, where each team will once again be strong.
The America East is one of the fastest growing lacrosse
conferences in Division I lacrosse, Stephenson said. The
conference has taken huge steps forward in respectability over
the last three years, and I expect even bigger leaps in the next
Four America East teams received votes in the preseason top 25
poll (Albany, Hartford, Quinnipiac, Stony Brook).
We will play four of our five conference games at home
this season, so our fans will have an opportunity to see some
very competitive lacrosse.
The highlight of the non-conference slate is a matchup against
10th-ranked Hofstra. The Flying Dutchmen are perennially among
the nations elite programs and finished 11-3 last season.
Binghamton also takes on three additional teams that received
votes in the preseason top 25 poll in Colgate, Drexel and Villanova.
We have a much improved schedule, Stephenson said.
We have games against teams like Colgate, Drexel and Lafayette
that have young coaches who are really elevating the level of
play at their institutions.