The Middlebury men's lacrosse team returns many key pieces from a lineup that advanced to the NESCAC Championship game a year ago. The 2019 roster is young but experienced, including six seniors who have played in two of the last three NESCAC title games, as well as two of the last four NCAA Tournaments.
A year ago, the team finished with a 9-7 record, winning six of its final seven regular-season contests.
Head coach Dave Campbell (133-73) begins his 13th season at Middlebury with an optimistic outlook about this spring. The Panthers return five of their top-eight scorers from 2018 as well as key pieces of the defensive unit.
Juniors A.J. Kucinski and Danny Jacobs each return on the offensive end. Kucinski led the Panthers in points (53) and assists (21) for the second-consecutive year. He also picked up 38 ground balls. Jacobs scored 19 goals and added 16 assists for 35 points to go along with 25 ground balls. Classmate Chase Goree was also a key contributor to the Panther offense last spring. He finished his second year in the Panther uniform scoring 22 goals and adding five assists for 27 points.
Returning to the Panther midfield will be senior Jack Gould, along with juniors Frank Cosolito and Jake Madnick. Gould saw action in 15 games after coming back from an injury, scoring four goals and adding two assists. Cosolito tallied eight times with three assists, while Madnick will anchor the faceoff X for the third-straight year. He won 55.3 percent of his faceoffs (171-309) in 2018 and scooped up 91 ground balls, placing him sixth and eighth respectively among league peers.
Joining that trio in the midfield is sophomore Laurence Jackson, a long-stick middie who saw action in every contest with 22 ground balls and 13 caused turnovers, ranking second on the team in the latter. Junior John Beatty is a defensive midfielder in the Panther lineup, stepping forward to score a goal in the NESCAC Quarterfinal contest at Tufts in late April.
Defensively, the Panthers will look to fill the loss of a pair of starters in that unit, including a four-year anchor and All-American. Leading the group of returners will be senior Clay Hunt, junior Ben Snow and sophomore Pierce Fricke. Hunt is a two-year starter who racked up eight caused turnovers as well as 22 ground balls last spring, while Snow picked up 12 ground balls and Fricke had 18 ground balls for the Panthers.
In front of the goal, senior Charles Midgley returns for his third year as the starter. He was in the goal mouth for all 16 games a season ago, finishing with a 9-7 record and an 11.59 goals against average. He has appeared in 30 games over the last two seasons and started 25 of them, posting a 15-10 record with a 50.7 save percentage and an 11.30 GAA. Juniors Malcolm Ogden and Angus Viebranz along with sophomores Tyler Bass and Charles Roselle will also battle for some playing time.
Middlebury's demanding schedule features four teams ranked in the top 10 of the preseason USILA national poll, including top-ranked Wesleyan, fourth-ranked Tufts, fifth-ranked Amherst and 10th-ranked Dickinson. The Panthers will begin their 2019 campaign March 2 on the road at NESCAC foe Bates beginning at 1:00 p.m.