Season Previews

Peter Stewart, Washington College

Franklin & Marshall
With all 10 starters returning from an 8-6 2011 season, expectations are high for the 2012 edition of the Franklin & Marshall men's lacrosse team. For the first time in the Todd Cavallaro era, the Diplomats have depth and experience at every position. "This is the first time where we have experience at every position," said Cavallaro. "Right now we have to take it day-by-day and focus on one game at a time. If we adhere to that philosophy, great things will happen this season."

A primarily young Gettysburg College men's lacrosse team will take the field in 2012 with the goal of improving says head coach Hank Janczyk, who enters his 25th year at the helm of the Bullets. "The key for us is to continue to improve throughout the year," said Janczyk, who with an overall career record of 357-108 ranks second in NCAA history in men's lacrosse coaching victories (all divisions). "We know we're young, and we know we've got a lot to learn. We've just got to keep getting better and better, and by the middle of the season we want to hit our stride so we can really finish strong. "That's the goal for this team – to continue to come together and learn lacrosse so we can become a formidable team."

Defense was rarely the problem for the McDaniel men's lacrosse team in 2011. Since then-freshman Christian Dallmus (Acton, Mass./Rivers School) took over as the starting goalkeeper five games into the season, the Green Terror did not allow an opponent to reach double figures and Dallmus finished his rookie season with the Centennial Conference's (CC) best goals-against average at 6.46. Sixth-year head coach Matt Hatton enters the 2012 season knowing that his squad is going to have to score more goals to earn a return trip to the conference tournament after missing by a game last spring.

Jay Salasko has noticed something different about Muhlenberg men's lacrosse practice this season. The senior defenseman said the preseason sessions have been a lot louder with noticeably more talking on the field than in years past. That communication is important, he said, because the Mules, who open up the season at home against Montclair State at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, are trying to implement a more cohesive style of play this year.

There is excitement surrounding the Swarthmore College men's lacrosse program heading into the 2012 season, as the Garnet appear poised for a big step forward after losing only four seniors and returning its 10 leading scorers from a year ago. Under the guidance of head coach Pat Gress (17th season, Towson '91), and assistants Eric Hoffman and John Matthew Dunn, Swarthmore is coming off a 2011season in which it finished with a 4-11 (2-6) record – a record that is a bit deceiving. Last season, Swarthmore lost five games by less than two goals, including close losses to NCAA Playoff teams Widener, Colorado College, Gettysburg and Dickinson.

Washington College
There's little question that the Washington College men's lacrosse team took steps in the right direction during head coach Jeff Shirk's first year at the helm of the Shoremen. While a one-game improvement - from 4-10 in 2010 to 5-9 in 2011 - may seem modest, the Shoremen were a relatively young team under a new coach and were a few breaks away from a record of 9-5.  After winning their season opener, 7-6, in overtime at Goucher, the Shoremen went 0-4 in their remaining one-goal games in 2011. With Shirk's system now firmly in a place and the veteran leadership of 11 seniors on the roster, the Shoremen are poised to reverse those results.