Senior Preseason First-Team All-America Andrew Wilcox has 213 career ground balls.
14th-Ranked Men's Lacrosse Sets Sights On 2006 NESCAC Crown
February 23, 2006
The Amherst College men’s lacrosse team wrapped up its 2005 slate at 11-4 overall and 6-3 in NESCAC play, climbing as high as 10th in the national rankings and earning the No. 3 seed in the conference postseason tournament. The Jeffs opened their season with a pair of impressive wins on spring break in Orlando, Fla., and returned to the northeast for a five-game road stretch, in which they posted impressive victories at Trinity, Colby and WNEC. Finally returning to Hitchcock Field for their first of only five home games on the schedule, the Jeffs rolled over non-conference foe Endicott, 14-4, and followed up with a pair of narrow NESCAC wins, topping Bates 11-9 at a neutral site, and edging visiting Bowdoin, 10-9. They closed the season with a 15-7 victory over Conn. College and a savage 14-6 thrashing at archrival Williams, earning a first-round home game in the NESCAC Tournament. Amherst opened the postseason with another sound beating of Conn. College, 17-7, but the Jeffs’ run would end there as they fell to upsetminded Wesleyan in the conference semifinals.
The Jeffs lose 10 seniors to graduation, highlighted by two-time Honorable Mention United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) 2005 STX-Geico All-America defenseman Greg Donohue. Also a three-time all-region and All-NESCAC selection, Donohue was the backbone of the Amherst defense along with classmates Cushing Donelan, Scott Aldrich and Greg Emmanuelidis. Donelan was a four-year starter in goal, collecting 725 career saves and boasting a 7.96 goals against average, while Aldrich and Emmanuelidis made up the rest of the defensive starting lineup. Their on-field experience will be sorely missed this season. Tri-captain Colby Griffith, Graham Lake and Josh Cherney were all valuable contributors to the midfield, combining for over 100 career points in their tenure. Griffith’s leadership and incredible work ethic was instrumental in their success over the past four years. On the offensive end, the Jeffs graduate Alex Casertano, Andrew Syfu and Bryan Hiller. Casertano has been one of the most prolific scorers in the NESCAC over the past four seasons, piling up 159 career points on 92 goals and 67 assists. As a senior he finished second in the conference in goals (35) and fifth in scoring (48 points). Syfu was a Second-Team All-NESCAC selection last season after finishing his career with 80 points on 30 goals and 50 assists, while Hiller contributed key reserve minutes throughout his career and will be missed.
Amherst enters this season ranked 14th in the InsideLacrosse.com/Face-Off Yearbook Preseason Poll and its distinguished list of returnees is highlighted by a pair of InsideLacrosse.com and Face-Off Yearbook All-America selections in senior long-stick midfielder Andrew Wilcox and junior attacker Derek Cherney. A First-Team Preseason All-America pick this spring, Wilcox has been one of the most dominant long-stick midfielders in the nation throughout his career. He was tabbed Second-Team USILA STX-Geico All-America as a junior and received Honorable Mention honors as a sophomore. He’s also a three-time all-region and All-NESCAC pick with 213 career ground balls to his credit. Cherney has dominated the other end of the field for Amherst, posting career totals of 111 points on 67 goals and 44 assists. He’s nabbed USILA/STX Honorable Mention All-America, All-New England and First-Team All-NESCAC honors in each of his first two seasons and was tabbed both the New England and NESCAC Rookie of the Year in 2004. His sophomore totals of 68 points on 39 goals and 29 assists were good enough to rank him 20th in the nation in scoring, tops in the conference in points and goals and tied for second in the NESCAC in assists.
Bolstering Cherney on the offensive end will be fellow quad-captain Kevin Boova and juniors Chris Hofmann and Chris Hahm. Boova has been a consistent scorer throughout his career, notching 21 goals and 41 assists, including a 20 assists flurry as a first-year, which ranked him seventh in the conference. Hofmann had a breakout sophomore campaign, finishing fifth in the NESCAC in goals (34) and ninth in scoring (44 pts.), while Hahm has seen valuable time as a reserve.
Quad-captain Sean Murray heads a talented and deep Amherst offensive midfield. Classmate Joaquin Walker returns to the field after a one-year absence. In 2004, Walker posted 28 points on 15 goals and 13 assists to finish fourth on the team in scoring. Bolstering their efforts will be fellow senior Caleb Deats, junior Rob Madden and sophomores T.J. Jackson, Will Ferrer and Mike Donovan.
Senior Ben Lavely highlights a small returning group of defensive midfielders. Sophomores Chris Mottau and Freud Valentin will also vie for time between the defensive hashes.
The defense will see a lot of fresh new faces as senior Kyle Hunt, juniors Owen Neill and David Beck, and sophomores John Armideo and Brett Larson will all battle for minutes after serving in reserve roles in the past. Senior Raul Altreche will also compete for time between the pipes.
Amherst Head Coach Tom Carmean welcomes another group of talented first-years this spring. Brett Miller, Tom Foote and Timothy Thornton will offer their services on the attack, while Benjamin Babbott, Nicholas Gilligan, Matthew Himler and Conor McDowell hope to support the midfield. South Hadley, Mass. native Evan O’Roark looks to provide backup minutes at the long-stick midfielder spot, while Chris Fitzpatrick and Clint Marchese will try to solidify the defense, and Matthew Pietroforte will vie for time in front of the net.