Plenty of senior leadership as men enter new conference

Zach Smart

The Quinnipiac men’s lacrosse team enters the 2006 campaign with something it has sorely lacked over the years: a talent-laced senior class.

The class of 2006 has plenty of experience and leadership that should benefit the Bobcats, as fifth-year coach Eric Fekete notes.

“One of the things I realized in the beginning of the year is that it really takes a senior to be a senior,” Fekete said.

“You can’t ask a sophomore or a junior to be a senior. The experience they have on the field and just the presence they have in practice and off the field really makes a huge difference on the direction of the team, and the younger players as well,” Fekete said.

The addition of a turf field should also pay dividends this spring, Fekete said.

The Bobcats lost just two seniors from last year, one of whom played a significant role. They return 14 seniors this season.

Last year, the Bobcats had finally overcome the depth problem that had plagued the program in previous seasons. It looked as if they were primed for a winning season.

But a tough schedule that included a number of top-tier teams – nationally ranked Albany, Brown, and Stony Brook, to name a few – proved to be a rude awakening.

The ‘Cats crawled themselves into an early 0-7 hole before doubling up the Providence Friars to earn their first victory of the season. They finished with an overall record of 2-11, 1-5 in America East action.

They played just two games on their home field last season, one of which was a down-to-the-wire overtime loss to Vermont. The Bobcats host ten games at the new field this year.

The Bobcats leap to the Great Western Lacrosse League this season. The conference includes big-time schools such as Ohio State, Notre Dame, Air Force and Denver.

The club’s trio of goalies, senior James Nastro, sophomore Roger Fish, and newcomer C.J. Squires, a junior transfer by way of Onondaga Community College, are a group of standouts who feed off each other’s intensity. It will be difficult for Fekete to, at any point, hand the starting spot to one player.

“I think in terms of talent and depth of our goalies, we have three great goalies,” Fekete said. “On the same note, the fact that those three are so competitive makes them better. Competition on the practice field breeds success on the playing field, and we certainly are seeing that from those three guys.”

The ‘Cats have plenty of weapons to work with in a deep and talented midfield offense. Josh Murray, who scored a team-high 20 goals and registered five assists as an All-America East selection last season, is once again the go-to-guy.

Eric Trama (13 goals, nine assists in 2005) is a lighting-quick and athletic dodger who has been through the battles. Sean McBride, another senior, is an athletically gifted power player who knows how to use his body.

Eddie Morley, a powerful attacker, is also back for his final year.

Morley is complemented by junior Tucker Prudden (14 goals, six assists), who came into his own last year.

The table was set for a potent defensive midfield, but Marc Handel opted not to return this semester and Keith Yianacopolus quit unexpectedly. Anthony Poerio, an athletic junior, should step into a bigger role this year.

Donnellan, who delivers hits as hard as anyone, leads a strong defensive unit. Walter Celenski and Kevin Browne, a pair of physical specimens, provide Fekete with plenty of insurance. Mike Hennessey and Adam Bartholomew are also key returners on defense.

“We’re poised now to probably have a better defense, in terms of our system and our players, than we’ve ever had in the history of the program,” Fekete said. “I think we’re finally where we need to be in terms of seeing the success that we’re

looking for.”