2013 W&J Men’s Lacrosse Season Preview
WASHINGTON, Pa. -- The Washington & Jefferson College men’s lacrosse program begins its second season as a member of the Landmark Conference and 12th NCAA Division III varsity season overall with a new leader at the helm. First-year Head Coach Dan Usaj inherits a roster full of veteran talent looking to bounce back from its second-straight five-win season.
Senior goalkeeper Ran Kirby (Cleveland, Ohio/University School) and classmate Joe Eck (Boise, Idaho/Bishop Kelly) lead a group of 13 returning letter winners. Kirby is the Presidents’ all-time saves leader with 503, including a single-season, school-record 200 last spring. He posted the third-best save percentage (.586) in the Landmark Conference and enters the 2013 season with 13 career victories.
Eck finished second on the team with 50 points after posting his third-straight 30-goal season. He ranks third in program history with 123 career points and needs 31 goals and 56 points to become W&J’s career record holder in both categories. Eck was a Second Team All-Landmark performer last season.
Joining Eck on attack are sophomore Tim Angell (Andover, Mass./Governor’s Academy) and junior Grant Stouffer (Chambersburg, Pa./Chambersburg). Angell enjoyed a breakout freshman season with 26 goals and five assists for 31 points in 15 games. Stouffer rejoins the team after tallying five goals during his rookie campaign.
W&J’s veteran midfield group will be led by seniors Tom Kozlowski (Pittsburgh, Pa./Shaler), Tucker Mizhir (Winchendon, Mass./St. Mark’s) and John Zustra (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington North). The trio has combined to appear in 127 games during the last three years, contributing nine goals and 18 assists. Kozlowski is W&J’s leading returner as a faceoff specialist after winning 49 percent (45-92) of his chances last season, while Mizhir collected 23 faceoff victories.
Junior Casey Smallwood (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) and sophomore Will Wagner (Riva, Md./South River) also return to the Presidents’ midfield. Smallwood was sixth on the team with 10 goals in 16 games, while Wagner netted four scores and added one assist during his first season. Senior Tom Starr (Lorrain/ Ohio/Friend’s Academy) is back with the team after sitting out his junior campaign. Starr racked up 39 points (25 goals, 14 assists) in 28 games during his first two seasons.
Defensively, Ryan Cronin (Severna Park, Md./Severna Park) is unit’s senior leader. He has picked up 87 ground balls, while contributing three goals and a pair of assists during his 34-game career. Junior David Behringer (Severna Park, Md./Severna Park) led the team by scooping up 54 ground balls and was one of just three Presidents to start every game last season. Juniors Max Kroll (Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic) and Quinn Marker (Dayton, Ohio/Archbishop Alter) and sophomore Chase Bennett (Prospect, Ky./Kentucky Country Day) are all experienced defenders who will play key roles in helping Kirby keep the ball out of the net.
W&J opens the season with a non-conference game at Thiel on February 23 (1:00 pm) in Greenville, Pa. The program’s second season of Landmark Conference play begins March 16 with a home matchup at Alexandre Stadium against defending league champion Goucher. Cronin, Eck and Kirby will serve as team captains.