With most spring sports getting into full gear this weekend, gopetrels.com will take the next few days to preview the upcoming seasons. Here's a look at what's in store for the 2012 men's lacrosse squad.
2012 Men's Lacrosse Season Preview
Oglethorpe introduced lacrosse to the campus last spring to a warm reception of fans eager to see a contact sport among one of the school's 15 varsity teams. The 2011 squad did an admirable job of competing under the tough circumstances of a first-year program and even won their inaugural contest over Reinhardt 9-6. After guiding the fledgling team to a 3-9 record, head coach Jay Gardiner has stepped aside to resume his athletic director responsibilities while 2011 associate head coach Tom Higgins takes the reigns as the team's leader. Here's what's in store for 2012.
The team returns a bevy of players who starred on the field in 2011 to give Coach Higgins some experience, particularly at the attack position. Leading the returnees is the squad's top scorer Arness Holsey who tallied a team-high 27 points in 2011. The Petrels offense will also benefit from the return of juniors Michael Kasmarik (22 points) and Maseo Brown (10 points) who finished second and fourth on the team in total points last season, respectively.
Defensively, Oglethorpe will have junior John Brewer ready to man the goal again with sophomore Cooper O'Brien available as a skilled backup. The defense is also bolstered by the return of a pair of juniors (Jalen Rideaux and Price Hamilton) and a trio of sophomores (Gene Flathmann , Marquel Pike and Kevin Dearden) who can help clamp opponents down. Senior Balbir Khalsa also returns to help Brown patrol the midfield and control the flow of the game.
In addition to the solid core of returning players is an influx of young talent to the squad. Coach Higgins added six freshmen to the roster who can make immediate impact: Coleman Plaisted (Spartanburg, S.C.), Jake Godwin (Huntsville, Ala.), Anthony Mazzanti Marietta, Ga.), Ben Caoili (Tampa, Fla.) and Wes Trammell (Woodstcok, Ga.). Higgins also picked up junior Nick Pizzo (Cumming, Ga.), senior Florian Blantz (Ferintz, Austria) and freshman Gabe Benner (Douglasville, Ga.) to bolster the roster.
"With the returning players and addition of new talent, I look for this team to improve upon last season's three victories," said Higgins. "I look forward to watching this young squad improve on a daily basis as we continue to ramp up the program."
To view the 2012 men's lacrosse schedule, go here.