We’re back again with the Alphabetical 2014 NCAA D1 Previews! Like last year, we’ll go through all of the D1 men’s teams for 2014 (there are 67 this year!) and we are now moving on to the Bellarmine Knights, located in Louisville, KY.
For the only Division 1 lacrosse school in Kentucky, 2013 was not particularly impressive. The Bellarmine Knights finished 7-7, ending on a 5 game losing streak after starting the year off hot at 7-2. To make matters worse, 5 of their 7 losses were by two goals or less, with three losses in overtime (their losses to Hobart and Denver even went into double overtime). However, 2014 is a brand new season, and the Knights are in the newly created Atlantic Sun Conference, with a chance to win the first ever Atlantic Sun Tournament. Here is a look at some key returners for Bellarmine in 2014.
Attack: This position is a huge question mark for Bellarmine. Veteran leadership is going to be an issue, because there is only one senior attackman on the team. Devin Arruabarrena, a graduate student, did not play in 2013, and his only career point was an assist in 2010. Arruabarrena will have to lead this team, since he is the oldest player on it. Other players are going to have to step up as well. There are 5 freshman attackmen, and Canadian Jordan Getz has the ability to be an impact player this year. Junior Dylan Gatt, who had two goals and two assists in nine appearances last year, has the most playing experience of the bunch. Gatt will probably be the go to guy on this year’s attack unit, but other players have to contribute in order for this offense to do well.
Midfield: Most of the production on Bellarmine’s offense in 2014 will likely come from their midfielders. Junior Brogan Hill played in every game last year, and scored 8 goals and added 5 assists. Hill also got 15 groundballs. Complementing Hill will be fellow junior Ryan Scinta, who played in 13 games with five goals and four assists. As a short stick d-middie, Reid Wesley is a capable athlete who played in every game with seven caused turnovers and 19 groundballs. Wesley should have an even better year in 2014, with Taylor Stuart also seeing some action. Rounding out the first line of middies is Cameron Gardner, a senior who led the team with 27 groundballs and five assists. He scored six goals against Michigan, and added 20 groundballs. Gardner is incredibly talented, and is a sharpshooter on EMO possessions.
FOGO: Senior Stephen Soriano took 98 faceoffs last year and won 50% of them. He figures to take most of the draws this year, but junior Grant Beczkalo did well in his backup role last year (19-30, 63%) and could see more time at the X in 2014.
LSM: Junior Bobby Schmitt led the Kingths in caused turnovers last year with 26, and also led the team in groundballs, with 56. Schmitt is a great two way player, creating many transition opportunities for Bellarmine. He had six goals and eight assists last year. Schmitt is one of the best LSMs in the country, and looks to continue to lead his team in the upcoming season.
Defense: Senior Sean Joyce is back again for the Knights, after appearing in every game as a close defenseman, with ten caused turnovers. Joyce is also athletic enough to run as an LSM, where he scored a goal and picked up 23 groundballs. Junior Colin Hart will also start, playing in all but one game last year. Hart is a technically sound close defenseman who had 18 groundballs and nine caused turnovers last year. The third spot on this defense is likely going to go to Bradley Davis, a senior who played in a reserve role last year with 17 groundballs and three caused turnovers. These three are going to provide solid defense, and the many underclass defenseman on Bellarmine’s roster have the chance to establish themselves in reserve spots.
Goalie: Will Haas is a graduate student who will have to replace Dillon Ward, arguably the best goalie in the nation last year. Haas only played in 30 minutes last season, letting in 7 goals, saving 36% of the shots that came his way. Haas provides the veteran leadership that the Knights need, and hopefully can play well in a huge chance to help the team.
Overall: The Atlantic Sun conference as a whole has a lot of mystery surrounding it. Can Bellarmine find their identity at attack? If they do, they have a good chance to be very competitive within the conference. Will Haas also has to establish himself as a solid goaltender to fill the enormous shoes left by Dillon Ward. Bellarmine will be an interesting team to watch, but if they can put the pieces together, they will certainly improve on last year’s 7-7 record.