The Middlebury men's lacrosse team returns many of the key pieces of a lineup that advanced to the NESCAC Championship game a year ago. Facing one of the nation's toughest schedules once again this season, the roster is experienced, including nine seniors who have played in back-to-back NESCAC Championship games, as well as two of the last three NCAA Tournaments.
A year ago, the team finished with a 9-9 record against a demanding schedule, including three one-goal decisions against nationally-ranked opponents during its run to the conference championship game. Middlebury won four of its final six regular-season contests and earned the #6 seed in the league's postseason tournament. The Panthers advanced to the conference's championship game for a NESCAC-record 11th time before falling to eventual national semifinalist Wesleyan.
Head coach Dave Campbell (124-66) begins his 12th season at Middlebury with an optimistic outlook about this spring. The Panthers return eight of their top-nine scorers from 2017 as well as key pieces of the defensive unit.
Senior attackman Henry Riehl is a three-year starter and one of this year's captains after earning USILA All-American and All-NESCAC accolades last spring. Riehl finished the year with a career- and team-high 53 goals to go along with 19 assists for 72 points. He also scooped up 48 ground balls and scored five man-up tallies.
Sophomores A.J. Kucinski and Danny Jacobs each return on the offensive end. Kucinski led the Panthers in points (74) and assists (36), ranking fifth in the league in the latter, picking up 38 ground balls. Jacobs scored 19 goals and added 10 assists for 29 points, including two goals and an assist in the NESCAC Championship. He ranked third in the NESCAC with 10 man-up scores.
Returning to the Panther midfield will be junior Jack Gould, who missed the final eight games of last season due to an injury. In 10 games played, he tallied 22 points (15-7-22).
Joining Gould in the midfield is senior Parker Lawlor along with junior Michael McCormack. Lawlor (20-9-29) is a three-year contributor for the Panthers, while McCormack returns after an injury cut his 2017 season to just one game.
Adding depth in the midfield will be senior Wes Quinzani, junior Matthew O'Neal and sophomore Frank Cosolito. Quinzani finished the year with nine points (6-3-9) and 24 ground balls, O'Neal tallied 13 points (9-4-13), while Cosolito ended his first season with seven points (4-3-7).
Senior captain John Jackson is a versatile player in the midfield, who makes an impact on both ends of the field. He scored four goals last season, winning 114-203 faceoffs for 56.2 percent. His 61 ground balls were second on the team. Sophomore Jake Madnick split the faceoff duties last spring, winning 61.5 percent of his chances (169-275) and grabbing a team-best 79 ground balls.
Defensively, seniors Eric Rogers and Kenan Yates along with junior Clay Hunt and sophomore Ben Snow all return and will be the anchors of the unit. Rogers, a captain and two-time All-American honoree as well as a two-time First-Team All-NESCAC selection, racked up a team-best 17 caused turnovers as well as 34 ground balls. Yates picked up 12 ground balls and seven caused turnovers in six games played, while Hunt ranked second on the team with 12 caused turnovers in addition to 18 ground balls. Snow stepped forward to score a goal in the April 26 win at Williams.
In front of the goal, junior Charles Midgley returns following a strong finish to the 2017 season. He started the final nine games in the crease for Middlebury, finishing with a 6-3 record, a .554 save percentage and a 10.67 goals against average. Sophomore Malcolm Ogden will also battle for some playing time.
Middlebury's demanding schedule features six teams ranked in the top 11 of the preseason USILA national poll, including second-ranked Wesleyan, fourth-ranked Denison, eighth-ranked Tufts, ninth-ranked St. Lawrence, 10th-ranked Amherst and 11th-ranked Bates. The Panthers will begin their 2018 campaign on March 3 when they host NESCAC foe Bates at 1:00 p.m.