MILTON, Mass. – Curry, which is preseason ranked last in the Commonwealth Coast Conference, is coming off its first winning season since 2002 (10-8 overall and 2-5 in the CCC). The Colonels will be looking to improve their standing within the conference in 2013 despite graduating one of their leading scorers and their starting goalie, who had the second-best save percentage in the conference in 2012.
1. Improvement at the Face-Off Square
Curry will be looking to make significant improvements with its face-off game in 2013. Sophomore Mitchell Morin (West Hartford, CT) will look to make an impact right away at the position in his first year with the Colonels after having a relatively successful fall where he took 90% of the draws. Coach Tim Murphy believes that Morin is the guy for the job: “We are hoping for big things from Mitch this spring. He really focused on his craft this fall and we believe that will translate in the spring. After finishing in last place in face-off win percentage in 2012, there is no doubt that we can improve immediately in this facet of the game.”
2. Two Types of Transition in Milton
Transition will play a big part in the success of Curry’s 2013 season.
Offensively, the Colonels hope to use some of their athleticism to their advantage with the new rule changes in regard to the transition game. With the tempo of the game being dialed up, it could open the door to more opportunities on the offensive end.
The rule changes will also have an impact on the transition game defensively. With less opportunity to sub “offensive middies” off the field, there has to be more development of all of the midfielder’s games at the other end of the field. The days of coming off the field for short-stick defensive midfielders are nearing an end, and all the midfielders have committed themselves to playing both ways. “One of the things that we took out of our fall season was our need to improve our transition defense,” says Murphy. “Ingraining good habits at that end of the field will be imperative this preseason.”
3. A Seasoned Defense
Coach Murphy anticipates that four players will see the majority of minutes at close defense this spring, and speaks highly of this quartet. “Any one of these four young men could start this spring depending on the day. The experience that they bring, along with their dedication to understanding our systems and their focus on getting better each day, really has our staff excited about team defense going into the season.” Both senior Joshua Chipman and redshirt junior Marc Fein saw time in 17 games last season, while senior John Repucci appeared in 15 and junior Franklin Boswell-Taylor played in 13 contests in 2012.
It appears that Murphy is equally excited about his two long-stick midfielders for 2013. “Jimmy (Mascioli) and Matt (DeLaney) bring a lot of excitement and energy to both our transition game and the defensive side of the ball. They are easily two of our hardest workers and most fit guys on the team. It will be nice to see their hard work pay off once we start playing.” As a sophomore, Mascioli played in all 18 games last spring, with DeLaney complementing him in 15 games as a freshman.
4. Senior Class of Leadership
There are seven seniors on the roster on the Colonels’ 2013 roster, all hoping to leave their mark on the Curry College lacrosse program. As is the case with every class, there is a good mix of impact and role players. The thing that will separate this group of seniors from others will be their ability to find their role and lead from that position. “This class of seniors is great group of men,” says Murphy. “They have each expressed that they want to help take Curry Lacrosse to the next level before they graduate. We are excited to see what they do this spring to impact the legacy they leave here at Curry. Their level of commitment and leadership this year will be the foundation that we build upon in the future.”
5. Establishing an Identity
In 2013 the Curry men’s lacrosse program will be working toward a goal that could be seen as unique from other teams on campus. One of the main goals for the season will be to establish the identity of the program. With a new staff in Milton, the team has tried to focus on more than just goals, assists and takeaways. “Our first day on campus as a staff, we decided that there were three things that we needed to focus on to get the most out of these young men,” Murphy said. “We want to focus on team unity and team play, have a view of the bigger picture, and establish an expectation of excellence.”
Murphy added: “In the past our team has focused on one or two key guys at each end of the field. In order to take the next step we have to work together toward a common goal, with hopes of achieving that goal. In regard to the big picture, our staff is teaching our young men that they have to first be great people before they can become great lacrosse players. Our focus on academics and community involvement has certainly been well-received. Finally, we are demanding more from this group than any other team I have been involved with. We have raised the bar when it comes to our expectations in 2013, and so far the guys have met each challenge.”
Best Bet: Joseph Natale, senior, attack (42G, 13A)
Natale returns as the Colonels’ leading scorer and is hoping to finish his career on the right foot. He was named to the Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-Conference Team after receiving First Team honors last spring.
Sleeper Pick: Andrew Navoni, senior, midfield (3G, 3A)
The adjustment to the rules will find Navoni on the field a lot more in 2013 because of his skill set in the transition game. Coach Murphy states: “Pound for pound, Andrew might be the strongest and toughest guy we have between the lines. His work ethic on the defensive side of the field will translate nicely, as he will see more time at the offensive end this year as well.”
Game to Watch: Mitchell College, 3 p.m. February 26
The season and home opener will come early for the Colonels this year, when they host Mitchell College from New London, Connecticut. No game is more important than the next one on the schedule this year for Curry, and they hope to start things off on the right foot with the first contest of the year.
2012 Record: 10-8
2012 Conference: 2-5
GPG (Conference Rank): 9.28 (4)
GAA (Conference Rank): 9.91 (7)