Tiger Lacrosse Picked Third in ODAC Preseason Poll

HAMPDEN-SYDNEY, VA - The Tiger lacrosse team was recently picked to finish third in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC), as voted on by league coaches.

The Tigers garnered 35 points to edge out Washington & Lee, who placed fourth with 33 points. Lynchburg and Roanoke were tabbed as the favorites with each getting four first-place votes, but Lynchburg earned 46 points to Roanoke's 45 to take top billing in the poll. Randolph-Macon placed fifth (24 pts.), Virginia Wesleyan is sixth (21 pts.), Guilford took seventh (12 pts.), and Randolph rounded out the pack at eighth (8 pts.)

The 2012 edition of the Hampden-Sydney lacrosse team has high hopes once again and have their sights set on winning the school's fifth ODAC Championship and making their ninth appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

The Tigers placed four players on the Preseason All-American Team, including senior attackman Micah Keller, senior midfielder Carter Mavromatis, senior defender Andrew Pritzlaff, and senior LSM Nate Norbo. Keller and Mavormatis were both named Honorable Mention All-Americans last spring.

The Tigers also return six 2011 All-ODAC honorees in Keller, Mavromatis, Norbo, Pritzlaff, junior face-off/short stick defensive midfielder Brad Mostowy, and junior goalkeeper Cody Hornung.

H-SC will look to continue their high potent offensive ways of recent years as the Tigers lose just one impact offensive player. While there is only one loss, the loss of Cole Hawthorne's team leading 41 goals and 64 points will leave a big hole to fill. Numerous returning players and several key freshmen will look to fill the void.

Mavromatis led the team in assists with 30 last year and also tallied 26 goals to finish third on the squad. A big time contributor on man-up situations, he posted eight extra-man goals a year ago. Keller was runner up on the team in goals with 36 and added 13 assists to finish third with 49 points. A deadly ouside shooter, he led the team in extra-man goals with nine.

Ben Clarke has been a three-year starter and was named All-ODAC in 2010 after scoring 34 goals and 16 assists. as a junior in 2011, Clarke contributed 17 goals and 13 assists. Nate Cundy continued his impressive year-by-year improvements as a junior as he contributed a career-high 31 points via 25 goals and six assists. Ryan Martin tallied 13 goals and six assists for 19 points while Eric Gorsline and Jess Hawthorne had 15 and 13 points respectively. Bobby Fulton also has a solid freshman year in 2011, scoring eight goals with one assist for nine points.

One of several strong offensive talents in the freshman class, Thomas Armstrong is one of the most decorated Tiger freshmen in history after being named a two-time high school All-American.

Corey Mavromatis will join his older brother, Carter, in the midfield. Corey had an impressive fall season playing on the first midfield and attack units. Abbot Wallenborn will also make a major impact on the first midfield line after having a great fall ball season.

James Hughes was impressive in the fall and will immediately compete or time on the top attack and midfield lines. Mike Funk will be counted on to be a contributor at attack and on the EMO unit this spring. Andrew Maser will compete for a regular role on the first thee midfield lines.

Mostowy will look to command the face-offs again for the Tigers after winning 58% (194-336) of his face-ofs a year ago with a team-high 133 groundballs. He will also provide a lift defensively as a short stick defesnive midfielder after recording 10 caused turnovers a season ago. Freshman Dontae Buck will be a valuable edition at defensive midfield and will contribute at the face-off X.

The defense will be led by Hornung at goalkeeper along with Pritzlaff, Norbo, and Cameron Sheppard. Hornung started 16 of 17 games and boasted a 7.89 goals against average along with a 55% save percentage. Hornung showed tremendous improvement as the season progressed, recording 10 or more saves in his last five games, including a career-high 15 in the ODAC Tournament Semi-Finals. 

Norbo, Pritzlaff, and Sheppard each played in all 17 contests in 2011. Norbo corralled 47 groundballs as the top LSM on the squad while also forcing a team-high 16 turnovers. He also added one goal and two assists. Pritzlaff recorded 15 caused turnovers along with 29 groundballs while Sheppard posted six caused TOs and 29 GBs.

Several Tigers will have a chance to step up to replace 2011 graduates Peter Foley, Tim VanBenthuysen, and Nick West. One player that established his presence early is Casey Bendall. Bendall had an impressive fall season and will vie immediately for a starting spot on the backline. Freshman Ben Barnes will challenge for a regular role as the backup LSM while sophomore Ned Bowden will look to have a breakout year and contend for a starting nod as a long pole.

Hampden-Sydney has a challenging schedule yet again this season with our Preseason Top 20 teams on the docket in #3 Roanoke College, #7 Stevenson University, #15 Lynchburg College, and #16 Cabrini College. The Tigers will also face numerous high quality players, including 13 Preseason All-Americans.