PRESEASON HIGHLIGHT VIDEO
The Wesleyan University men's lacrosse team looks primed to succeed in 2016 following an impressive campaign last year in which the Cardinals finished 9-7 overall and 6-4 in league play en route to a No. 4 seed in the NESCAC Championship. Despite the departure of 11 members of the Class of 2015, Wesleyan returns a talented group that features nine seniors, 10 juniors, 16 sophomores and 16 freshman as head coach John Raba enters his 20th season at the helm of the program. Under Raba's guidance, Wesleyan is 216-103 (.677) overall and has posted 16 winning seasons since 1998.
The Cardinals will look to build on the success of last season – in which they ranked second and third in the conference in goals against (152) and goals-against average (9.44), respectively – when they open the 2016 campaign Saturday, March 5 at home against No. 8 Bates (1 p.m.).
Wesleyan's difficult schedule features eight home games; Bates (3/5), Roger Williams (3/9), No. 6 Middlebury (3/19), Clark (3/22), SUNY Oneonta (3/26), No. 4 Amherst (4/6), Bowdoin (4/16) and Connecticut College (4/27), and six away games; Hamilton (3/12), Vassar (3/15), Colby (4/2), Williams (4/9), Trinity (4/12) and No. 1 Tufts (4/23).
MEET THE TEAM
Four of Wesleyan's top-seven goal-scorers from a year ago return to the lineup in 2016, as well as 2014 All-NESCAC Second Team selection, Quentin DellaFera '16. Dellafera, a tri-captain alongside classmates Greg Pietroforte and Niall Devaney, figures to make an immediate impact this season after missing the entire 2015 campaign. As a junior, the dynamic playmaker ranked second on the team in goals and points with 30 and 35, respectively, en route to second team all-conference laurels.
DellaFera will be joined by 2015 NESCAC Rookie of the Year, sophomore Harry Stanton. The New Canaan, Conn. native excelled in his first season with the Cardinals as he finished the year tied for first on the team in assists (17), and second in goals (29) and points (46). Stanton also picked up 32 groundballs – tied for third-most a year ago – as he looks to lead Wesleyan in 2016.
In addition, the dynamic duo of DellaFera and Stanton will be joined by seniors Devaney, Lyle Mitchell, and Jackson Arnold. Devaney and Mitchell – a three-year starter – scored 17 goals each as juniors, while Arnold added 14. Additionally, Devaney and Mitchell dished out six and eight assists, respectively, as the talented senior trio brings valuable veteran leadership to the squad.
On the defensive side of the ball, Wesleyan will look to Ted Bergman '17 to make an impact in his first season as a starter. Bergman, the most experienced goalkeeper returning in 2016, saw action in eight games a year ago and recorded 79:22 minutes in net.
Bergman will have the luxury of two New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (NEILA) preseason honorees helping to protect the net, as Joe Amendola '16 and Grey Bradshaw-Mack '17 look to make significant impacts this season. Amendola played in all 16 games a year ago, and recorded 22 ground balls and six caused turnovers. He was named a Division III All-New England Preseason Team selection by the NEILA. Bradshaw-Mack was named an honorable mention, as he finished his sophomore campaign with 11 caused turnovers and 18 ground balls.