Immediate Release: February 15, 2004
Contact: David Berman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
look to make quick strides in 2004
the second season in a row, head coach Ed Stephenson will lead
a roster made up almost exclusively of underclassmen through
a rigorous schedule that features five nationally-ranked teams
and a six-game conference slate against opponents that in Stephensons
mind, collectively make the America East the premier, up-and-coming
conference in Division I lacrosse.
The 2004 squad features 15 returning sophomoresincluding
nine startersthat last season helped Binghamton win four
games in just its second season of varsity competition. Joining
them are 13 incoming freshmen who figure to play significant
roles early on. Completing the roster is senior midfielder Chris
Healy, one of the teams four captains and the lone upperclassman
on the squad.
There arent many teams in the country with a roster
of 95 percent freshmen and sophomores, Stephenson said.
It is fun and challenging to work with such a young group,
and the rewards are greater when a young team achieves success.
We are counting on our freshmen to mature quickly, as many will
be expected to immediately step into positions of responsibility.
Although there is a chance the Bearcats could be a younger team
than any that they face this season, Stephenson feels that the
experience gained last year by the 16 returning letterwinners
will pay dividends.
Last season we were very patient as a coaching staff,
Stephenson said. Without the experience of upperclassmen,
we couldnt be as demanding in all aspects of the game.
This season will bring a little different twist, because we
do have some guys who have a year of experience under their belts.
The expectations on them will be greater this season, but we
will still have many new players in starting positions that we
will be patient with. It makes for a unique coaching experience.
defensive unit to play key role
the team visits Lafayette for its season opener on March 6, it
will return its entire starting defensive unit from a year ago.
The group includes all-conference selection Mike Baudouin, Kevin
Kaylor and Sean Meluney. The trio made up one of the strongest
defensive units in the conference last season, limiting the opposition
to just 8.75 goals per game.
We were fortunate to have a young defensive group play
so well last year, Stephenson said. Our entire defensive
effort, from the close defenders to the midfielders, kept us
in every game. Having a year of experience under their belt
will help them this year, as we face a more challenging schedule."
Depth was a concern for the squad last season, but a pair of
freshmen who had strong performances in the fall will push for
a spot in the starting lineup. Tom Wilmot brings the experience
gained from winning a gold medal with the Long Island team at
the 2002 Empire State Games, and local product Matt Luhrs possesses
the athleticism that Stephenson says will help him to make quick
improvements during the spring season.
directs defensive effort from net
Kevin McKeown ranked among the best keepers in the nation as
a freshman, sporting a save percentage of .607 and goals against
average of 8.21. McKeown played all but one game last season
and tallied 111 saves. He will return in goal this season and
add a greater range of skills to his repertoire.
We expect Kevin to create offense for us, and hopefully
get some fastbreak possessions and unsettled situations at the
other end, Stephenson said.
Backing up McKeown will be freshman Dan Krasner, who was a four-year
starter for Scarsdale HS.
for playing time at defensive midfield
Matt Osborne appears to have the necessary skills to make a quick
Matt is a strong player at the long stick defensive position,
A group of returnees and newcomers will look to join Osborne.
Sophomores Charlie Cook, Brian Thomas and Joe Vavala will be
joined by freshman Chris Bernard.
Bernard showed leadership qualities and an intense work
ethic during the fall, Stephenson said.
Cook was the teams faceoff specialist a year ago and produced
44 faceoff wins and added four goals.
Vavala and Thomas are both versatile players who will move between
the offensive and defensive midfield positions.
All of these players showed great improvement and played
well defensively during the fall season, Stephenson said.
offensive prowess will increase teams balance
realizes that in order to for the team to reach its goal of qualifying
for the four-team America East Championship, it will have to
narrow the gap in offensive production between itself and the
other conference teams. While the 105 goals the team allowed
were fewer than all but one other America East team, the teams
offense managed just 70 goals, fewest in the conference. The
coming season should bring dramatic improvement offensively,
which will in turn make the defensive unit even stronger. Both
the returning players and the newcomers made significant strides
during the fall season, a sign that Stephenson says bodes well
for the spring.
Offensively, we are night and day from where we were last
year, Stephenson said. That is where we saw the
greatest improvements in the fall. The combination of our returning
sophomores and the addition of some very talented freshmen make
us very optimistic about our offensive prospects for the spring.
The biggest difference in the offense will be the teams
versatility and ability to present different looks. The incoming
class also adds depth at every position, making competition for
playing time even stronger than in the past.
We are very diverse offensively, Stephenson said.
We have increased our athleticism and have players that
bring to the table some of the things we missed last year. At
midfield, we are bigger, stronger and faster. On the attack
we are quicker and more talented overall.
was pleased with the improvement that the returning unit made
during the fall season, and is excited about the prospects of
adding a talented group of freshmen to the lineup.
We have a mixture of dodgers and feeders that see the
field well, Stephenson said. We also have finishers that
can put the ball away. Those are the ingredients you need to
have a balanced and diverse offense.
The teams lone upperclassmen, Chris Healy, will lead the
group of midfielders. As a long-stick midfielder last season,
he grabbed 21 ground balls and produced a goal and two assists,
while playing almost exclusively at the defensive end of the
Chris will again be asked to make a critical move to help
the team out, Stephenson said. His leadership qualities
make it possible to play him at any spot on the field. This
year he moves back to his original position on the first midfield.
Sophomore David Burpoe, who broke into the starting lineup midway
through last season, solidified his spot in the lineup during
a successful fall campaign. Burpoe will be a mainstay on the
first line this season, where he will be joined by fellow returnee
David significantly improved his game throughout the fall,
Stephenson said. Matt has also improved 100 percent since
last year, and we are looking to him to be a go-to player on
Sophomore Brian Chaapel also returns to the midfield, and adds
the role of being a captain this season. Chaapels leadership
skills and superior knowledge of the game will be valuable assets
to the young Bearcats squad.
Brian is one of the leaders on our team, Stephenson
said. He will be asked to play many roles in addition
to being a starting midfielder. No matter where he plays, he
will use his leadership to help those units gel.
Freshman Jeff Santucci also figures into the starting mix.
Jeff played very well on a starting unit during the fall,
Stephenson said. He brings quickness and shot-making ability
to the midfield.
Sophomore J.R. Gaudet, who played at both the midfield and attack
last season, will once again compete for time at the midfield
in 2004. Classmates Joe Conner and Scott Mitchell will also
work their way into the lineup, along with freshmen Jeff Kaylor
and Ryan Schmonsees. Sophomore Aaron LaFlair will be cleared
to play this spring after rehabbing from a knee injury during
David Streeten will be the primary faceoff person in the spring,
and Stephenson expects him to draw on the experience he gained
playing for a strong Corning East program in order to bring stability
to the Bearcats offense.
David took at least 90 percent of our faceoffs during the
fall and did a great job, Stephenson said. It takes
great strength to compete for so many faceoffs in a game, and
David will see the majority of opportunities during the spring
as well. We will also try to find one or two other players that
can give him a breather during games.
attack position has proved to be the most competitive on the
team. Sophomore Phil Cavallo will be joined by a trio of freshmen
in Matt McNamara, Rob Williams and Nate Kerstein.
Phil was the leading scorer last season and is our most
experienced player on the attack, Stephenson said. He
played great in the fall and we are once again counting on him
to be one of the leaders on the attack.
Cavallo ranked 20th in the nation with 2.25 goals per game as
a freshman, and will try to improve on those numbers in 2004.
Rob is a dynamic finisher, Stephenson said. He
gained a lot of experience during the fall season and we expect
to see good things from him this season. He plays with a combination
of finesse and power.
McNamara was a standout high school player who made a strong
impression during the fall.
Matt was one of our leading point-getters in the fall and
had a nice balance between assists and goals, Stephenson
Kerstein worked his way into the starting mix after a good fall
Nate can score with either a strong perimeter shot or
from the trenches on the inside.
East schedule gets even tougher with addition of UMBC
newcomer and nationally ranked UMBC will highlight the Bearcats
six-game conference schedule. The Retrievers, who were ranked
15th in the preseason USILA poll, visit Binghamton on April 7.
Binghamton will also host conference foes Stony Brook and Quinnipiac,
and play road games against Hartford, Vermont and defending champion
Our league has tremendous parity, Stephenson said.
Last season we were just two goals away from making the
conference tournament, and have now made vast improvements offensively.
Our improvement should put us in the mix for a spot in the conference
The non-conference schedule will again rank among the toughest
played by any conference team. Binghamton will face four nationally
ranked opponents, including its first-ever meeting against Cornell
as well as games against Hofstra and Villanova.