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Opening Weekend Surprises – Junior College Report

A good number of games were played during the opening weekend of NJCAA men’s lacrosse, and many of these contests were BIG games to open the season, and we even saw plenty of surprising results. There is lots of movement in the NJCAA poll already, and it shows that a nice amount of parity exists right now. This all combines to make for an exciting season, so get on board!

Before we get to that but after the first real poll of the NJCAA season, we do have some interesting news to share about a couple programs closing their doors for the 2018 season. Will they come back to NJCAA lacrosse? Read below the poll to find out more, THEN get weekend game recaps with big time performers, and plenty of surprises!

NJCAA Top 10 Poll – February 26th, 2018

Poll Ranking) Team Name (Record, Total Poll Points, any 1st place votes, last week’s poll ranking)

1) Onondaga (1-0, 60, 6, 1)
2) Nassau (2-0, 54, 0, 4)
3) Howard (0-1, 46, 0, 2)
4) Genesee (0-0, 44, 0, 3)
5) Harford (1-0, 34, 0, 6)
6) Anne Arundel (0-2, 27, 0, 5)
7) Suffolk (1-0, 23, 0, 9)
8) Ocean County (1-0, 22, 0, 8)
9) Essex (0-1, 12, 0, 7)
9) Monroe (0-0, 4, 0, 10)

Also Receiving Votes: Hudson Valley (2), Union County (1), Delaware Tech (1)

A bit of movement as Nassau jumps from #4 to #2, as Howard and Genesee each slide down a spot. Harford moves into the top 5, Anne Arundel drops a spot, and Suffolk moves up 2 big spots with a big win over Essex, which dropped two spots to #9. That’s quite a bit of reshuffling for the first week. Will it continue?

Disappearing NJCAA Lacrosse Programs

If you look down the list of NJCAA schools on LaxPower, you will notice that 2017 teams Ancilla, Frederick, the College of Southern Maryland, and Cecil College are all missing. You will also notice that the Morris CC Titans only have three games listed on their schedule. When you go to the team’s websites, you will see a bunch of different updates. I have reached out to all of these schools directly, and have only gotten a response from one of them… but it was a GREAT response. So here is an update on all 5 programs with as much info as I can find:

Ancilla – No schedule, and their most recent post on their lacrosse page is from late January touting a new commitment to the school. Ancilla Athletic Dept has not responded to a request for comment, BUT the rumor mill says that Ancilla is looking to come back in 2019. Nice to start off with some good news via rumor.

Frederick – No schedule, no posts, no updated information. Frederick Athletic Dept has not responded to a request for comment, but again, the word is that the program should come back.

Cecil – No schedule, no posts, no information, and lacrosse is no longer listed as a men’s sport at Cecil. Cecil Athletic Dept has not responded to a request for comment, but it does look like they will try to bring the program back in the future.

Morris – Good news from Morris! While they have not responded to my request for comment, their website HAS BEEN updated with the following text:

The Titans Lacrosse team will not be participating in competition this season.  We are looking to Spring 2019 to re-establish the program.

They’re looking to come back next year and they’re out there saying it on their website. I love it!

College of Southern Maryland – CSM responded to my request for info, and confirmed that their lacrosse program is on hold (and NOT dropped) for the 2018 season. But on top of that, they also announced that they are bringing the program back next year, and have a coach who is working on that RIGHT NOW. I love seeing this! The school is committed to lacrosse, and that’s wonderful. You can read more about the new hire below, and you should!

Press Release from CSM on their new lacrosse coach:

The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) has hired Steve Campbell of Prince Frederick as the new head coach for Men’s Lacrosse. “I’m very excited about the position and the future of the team,” Campbell said. “The idea is to prepare these players not only for the next level and to help them get there, but also for life itself outside of college.”

We are very excited to have Coach Campbell on our staff and head coach of the men’s lacrosse program,” said Michelle Ruble, CSM’s executive director of student life and athletics. “We are energized by his passion and like his vision to develop a fall ball schedule to attract some great players to CSM.”

Campbell said the initial challenge the team faces is recruitment and interest in the sport. “Unfortunately, for the 2018 season we will not have the numbers to field a team,” he said. “I’m planning a very aggressive recruitment plan for this spring and then a very aggressive fall ball schedule, I believe this will lead to the start of a competitive program in 2019.”

There’s great lacrosse here in Southern Maryland and the plan is to get those student athletes to come here,” Campbell said.

Campbell brings a wealth of Maryland lacrosse experience to the role of head coach position at CSM. He played high school lacrosse first at Southern High School and then at South River High School, where he graduated in 1979. After graduation, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where he played on various pick-up lacrosse teams throughout his enlistment and at different duty stations.

In the 1983-84 academic year, Campbell attended Anne Arundel Community College where he played lacrosse, with the AACC team going 16-2 for the season and achieving No. 2 ranking in the NJCAA national polls.

Experiencing that kind of success was a heady introduction to collegiate lacrosse for Campbell and an opportunity for him to see the results of great coaching. Being coached by AACC coach Bud Beardmore, a National Lacrosse Hall of Fame and University of Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame coach, for Campbell was an “honor and privilege.”

Anne Arundel County has always been one of the ‘hotbeds’ in the lacrosse community,” Campbell said. “Playing at AACC provided me the opportunity to play with some of the best lacrosse players in the country. It also gave me the opportunity to play for Coach Beardmore, who is in several lacrosse halls of fame. One of the memories that I will always remember from that year is we played it with only 15 players.”

Campbell said that he learned from that experience the value of being prepared, training hard, being open to improvement and never giving up.

From 1986 to 1989, Campbell played club lacrosse for the Bayside Shooters and the Annapolis Lacrosse Club.

Campbell began his lacrosse coaching career at Calvert High School as an assistant in 2003 and also coached for the Prince Frederick Eagles and Dunkirk Warriors from 2008 through 2015. He has experience coaching at every level from Scoopers (4- to 6-year-old players) to young adults.

Campbell is the public safety coordinator for the college’s La Plata Campus and views his public safety role as a benefit to his new coaching position. “The idea of being on campus and available to the students is a great advantage as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “I also think my role in public safety will aid on the mindset of how I want my players to represent CSM in a positive manner.”

While acknowledging that the CSM lacrosse program requires a concentrated rebuilding effort, Campbell said he hopes to quickly raise the program to the next level. “The only goal is to field a competitive program; some of the best community college teams in the country are here in Maryland. It’s not going to happen overnight, but if we concentrate on the students that are planning to use the community college route I think we can succeed and build a competitive program where the student athlete wants to play for us because he knows that academically and athletically he will be prepared for the next level,” Campbell said.

Campbell is a retired police officer. He is married and the father of four children.

If you look at Mercyhurst NE as an example, or Mohawk Valley (gone in 2017, but back for 2018) programs CAN take time off and come back in a serious manner. Best of luck to all of the above schools, programs, coaches, and any former or current players who are looking to get the program back on its feet, and hats off to CSM for taking a very proactive approach to this, being open and honest about it, and communicating out the facts. Good stuff CSM (and Morris)!

Opening Weekend Surprises – NJCAA Game Results

Wednesday, Feb 21st

Onondaga 14, Anne Arundel 7 – OCC got 4 goals each from Austin Staats and Skylar Thomas, while James Sexton chipped in with a hat trick of his own. Zach Gussman, Seth Camphouse, and Trevor Bellotte each had 2 goals for AACC, and William Harrison made 21 saves in net for Anne Arundel. OCC won the face off battle and was up 6-1 at the half, but Anne Arundel never game up on this game, keeping pace 8-6 in the second half.

Delaware Tech 19, Potomac State 10 – Tech got huge games from three players as Sean Sheehan (6,1), Jacob Copio (3,5), and Jacob Soroko (5,3) each had 7 points or more, and scored 14 of Tech’s 19 goals. Dakota Stingo had 4 goals for PSC and Titus Thind added two assists to his lone goal for three points. Tyler Nisenfield made 14 saves on 33 shots in the loss, while Tech split time in net between Nathan Williamson and John Thompkins.

Saturday, Feb 24th – Upset City!

Suffolk 10, Essex 8 – Suffolk came out hot and went up 2-0, and then battled with Essex the rest of the way to earn a HUGE win in their first game. Essex was up 5-3 at the half, but a big 4-1 3rd quarter pulled Suffolk ahead. Suffolk got goals from six different players in Willie Petro (2,2), Jake Satterley (2), Shaquille MacDonald (2), Ryan Glidden, Jack Brierley, Tim Yannuci, and Hunter Bauland. Tim Ross scored a hat trick for Essex and Zach Weaver made 12 saves on 22 shots. Jon Vargas made 18 big saves on 26 shots for Suffolk. Both teams had at least six minutes in penalties, and the game was physical and tight throughout. A great way to kick of the year for Suffolk.

Nassau 9, Howard 8 – I would provide you with a recap here, but why do that when there is an AMAZING video recap of the game instead? Exactly. If EVERY NJCAA school did this, this post would just be videos, but NCAA D1 teams don’t do that so… A guy can dream!

Ocean County 23, Finger Lakes 3 – Ocean went up 7-1 in the first quarter and 12-1 at the half. Stats haven’t been uploaded for the Ocean County team, but they won big, and made a statement that they are once again pushing for respect, and wins.

Harford 17, Potomac State 3 – Harford was up 10-2 at the half, and would go on to make a similar effort in the second half to win easily over PSC. Cory Dykes was a bright spot for PSC scoring two goals on two shots, but it was pretty much all Harford, all day. Dylan Bielatowicz (4,2), Eli Doyle (3,6), and Chandler Schmidt (6,4) each had big days, and these three guys had 13 of the team’s 17 goals on the day. Chris Stalling mades 8 saves on 10 shots for HCC and was rock solid in net when tested.

Sunday, Feb 25th – STATEMENT Games!

Nassau 12, Anne Arundel 5 – Dylan Villari had three goals (he scored one in each of the first three quarters), and NCC got balanced scoring the rest of the way with 7 different players scoring goals. Eddie Munoz scored one of those goals, and added three of the team’s 4 total assists in the game. Billy Kelly played the majority of the game in goal, giving up only 1 goal while making 7 saves. NCC gave up 4 goals in the 4th quarter with some of their subs in the game, but that is valuable experience for added depth. Overall, Nassau was relatively dominant in what may seem like a tighter game. William Harrison made 16 saves, allowing 12 goals in the loss for AACC.

Mercyhurst NE 18, Catonsville 4 – I don’t have stats for this game, but it’s a statement game for sure. While these two teams did not play last year, MNE went 0-12 after a couple years off as a program, so to win their first game of the year, and to win it big, is absolutely HUGE for the program. Catonsville also went winless last year, but this wasn’t a battle of winless teams, it was a huge win for MNE. Hats off to those guys!

Hudson Valley 30, N. Virginia 2 – HVCC was up 9-0 after 1, 20-0 at the half, and then won the second 10-2. This was a dominant performance from start to finish, and Hudson Valley is making some noise. Aaron Thorpe scored 8 goals and added 6 assists for 14 points while Lateke Murray scored 6 goals and added 3 helpers for 9 points. HVCC used 3 different face off guys and went 31-5 on face offs for the day.