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Alphabetical 2014 NCAA D1 Preview: Mount St Mary’s

The NCAA D1 season is now underway! During the first couple of weeks of lacrosse season we’ll be finishing up the Alphabetical 2014 NCAA D1 Previews! Like last year, we are going through all of the D1 men’s teams for 2014 (there are 67 this year!) and we are now moving on to the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers, located in Emmitsburg, MD.

2010 and 2011 saw the Mount end the seasons with a winning record, but in 2012 and 2013, Mt St Mary’s went 6-9 during both campaigns. Can Coach Tom Gravante and the Mountaineers make another run at a Northeast Conference title in 2014? We find out soon as they open with Maryland on February 8th!

Georgetown, Delaware, Virginia, Towson, Hopkins, Manhattan, Drexel, and UMBC all follow the game with the Terps, and then MSM starts their conference work. A game with Bucknell breaks of up the Northeast Conf slate of games in early April. It’s a solid schedule with a lot of good tests and winnable games. 10-6 is not out of the question, but then again neither is 4-12. Where will Mount St. Mary’s fall?

Let’s start with the offense. Did you score more than 4 points for Mount St. Mary’s last year? You did? Well, you’re no longer on the roster. Graduation hit the Mountaineers HARD, the highest returning scorer they have is Clayton Wainer with 4 goals. Mark Hojnoski could see more time at attack this year. Expect at least one freshman to start for the Mount.

How about face offs? Maybe they have some returning talent there? Nick Haley returns but he only took 25 face offs last year (winning 7). John Marselese is gone, and that’s another hole. Maybe Mike Celmer will make a comeback this year? Brett Shukri has some experience at LSM, as does Brent Tsang. The Mount midfield is deep, but inexperienced.

Defensively, the Mount has three goalies who all saw time last year on the roster this year. Frank McCarthy started two games, Will Rego started one, and Chris Klaiber saw 60 minutes of game action. Don’t be surprised to see a little goalie by committee if no one keeper emerges as the clear favorite. It’s worked for Denver and other teams. Kyle O’Brien and Alex Stefkovich played a lot last year and should anchor the poles down low. Shane Pierce saw valuable time, as did a couple other players.

Defense is going to be a strength for Mount St Mary’s this year, but offensive production is definitely a big question mark. There will be competition in goal, and the team desperately needs a face off specialist to emerge. Right now, I’m leaning towards a 6-9 type season for the Mount. If they want to go above .500 they have to fill some big holes quickly.

For more NCAA D1 Lacrosse coverage, check out Alphabetical 2013 NCAA D1 Preview: Air ForceAlbanyArmyBellarmineBinghamtonBostonBrownBryantBucknellCanisius,
Colgate,  CornellDartmouthDelawareDetroitDrexelDukeFairfieldFurman,
GeorgetownHartfordHarvardHigh PointHobartHofstraHoly CrossJacksonvilleJohns_HopkinsLafayetteLehighLoyolaManhattanMaristMarquetteMarylandMassachusettsMercerMichigan, and Monmouth.