January 20, 2006

Men's Lacrosse: 2006 Preview

Jan. 20, 2006

Providence, RI - The Brown men's lacrosse team will look to return to the upper echelon of the Ivy standings following a 6-6 season where the Bears dropped two one-goal games and another by just two goals. Armed with the return of one of the nation's top defensive units, the Ivy League's top goalie, a strong offensive attack, and the top man-up scorers in the Ivy League, Brown is loaded for bear and ready to challenge for an NCAA Playoff berth.

The Bears will once again be solid in goal with the return of senior All-Ivy goalie Nicholas Gentilesco, and sophomore Mark Wenzel. Gentilesco led the Ivy League and ranked 14th nationally with an 8.06 goals against average. He registered a season high 17 saves vs. Yale, and posted an Ivy League leading .568 save percentage.

Wenzel appeared in two games for the Bears as a freshman, allowing one goal while making two saves. Highly touted freshman Jordan Burke, a high school All-American, will also compete in goal for the Bears.

The Bears defense will be buoyed by the return of junior All-Ivy Bobby Shields, a fierce defender, who was often matched-up against the opponents' top attackman. Shields, a pre-season All-American, picked-up 18 ground balls for the season, and scored his first career goal against Yale.

Senior captains Rob Cotter and James Faello were mainstays of the Brown defense, helping to hold opponents to just 9.42 goals per game. Faello started eight of 11 games last season, picking up 13 ground balls. Cotter started 5 of 12 games a year ago, picking up 30 ground balls, fourth best on the Brown team. Cotter was also named Brown's Most Improved Player last season, winning the Jim Tepper Award.

Also looking to contribute to the Bears' defense are senior Chris Kearney, junior Pat Ryan, sophomore Reed Deluca and freshmen Ryan Cassil and Jake Raff. Nelson will also welcome the return of sophomore Brian Sharnick, who sat out last season.

Despite losing All-Ivy middie Chris Mucciolo to graduation, the Bears' midfield looks to be a formidable group. Senior All-Ivy Kyle Wailes, who will play both in the midfield and on attack, ranked third nationally and was the Ivy League leader in assists with 30 for the season, averaging 2.50 assists per game. He led Brown in scoring with 35 points (5 goals, 30 assists).

Junior Alex Buckley will also provide a potent scoring punch from the midfield. Buckley, Brown's fifth leading scorer last year with 20 points (15 goals, 5 assists), proved he can score goals in bunches, netting a career high four goals against Quinnipiac.

Senior captain Will McGettigan, who played in all 12 games for the Bears a year ago, will play in the midfield and on attack, after scoring four goals and picking up 10 ground balls. Senior captain Grant Derkac, Brown's top defensive middie, will be joined by seniors Ben Donoghue and Tom Pitcher in the defensive midfield. Derkac registered an assist in 11 games, while picking up 10 ground balls.

Junior Will Davis had a solid season in the Bears midfield, netting two goals and handing out three assists. Sophomore Brian Asher (1 goal) returns to the midfield after being named Brown's outstanding freshman lacrosse player a year ago. Also challenging for playing time in the Brown midfield will be junior Mike Bernard (1 goal), sophomores Jeff Hall, Grant Hollingsworth and Nathan O'Dell, and freshmen Nic Bell, a high school All-American, Conor Larkin, Nicholas Melvin, Phillip Thebault and Joel Tracy.

Coach Nelson's attack will be solid with the return of junior David Madeira, Brown's top goal scorer (23), and second leading returning scorer overall (25 points). Madeira's 8 man-up goals led the Ivy League and helped the Bears lead the Ivy League with 20 man-up goals. He scored a career high four-goals against Dartmouth and added three goals against Hartford.

After Madeira, several candidates will look to fill the scoring gap caused by the graduation of All-Ivy attackman Chazz Woodson. Among the leading contenders are sophomores Mike Cohen, Mike Cummins and John String, junior Tyler Gaffney (1 goal), and freshmen Kyle Hollingsworth and Brady Williams, who were both high school All-Americans, and freshman Jack Walsh.