Bears eye Ivy, national championship

Assistant Sports Editor
Friday, February 18, 2011

Coming off a 2010 season in which the men’s lacrosse team finished 8-6, won five of its last six regular season games and finished in a four-way tie for the Ivy League championship, the Bears are hungry to get on the field once more.

“I think last year, a lot of us would say, finished on the disappointing side,” said defenseman Peter Fallon ’11, one of three captains. “We finished in a four-way tie for the Ivy League championship, which was obviously really exciting, but we lost in the first round of the tournament to Cornell, so I think going into this year we have really high expectations.”

But the team is hoping for success not only on the field, but also in the classroom.  

“The first objective for this program is a successful academic year,” said Head Coach Lars Tiffany ’90, adding that the team grade point average must remain a 3.25 or higher. “Second goal is to win the Ivy League, and the third objective is to pursue and win a national championship.”

Brown has recently proven it can compete on a national stage, and Fallon called a national championship a “realistic goal.” The Bears earned an NCAA playoff bid in 2009 and lost by only one goal last year in a regular season game against Duke, who went on to win the national championship. The Bears will have another shot at the Blue Devils this season on March 29.

“In terms of the biggest challenge, it’s exciting to have Duke on the schedule again,” Tiffany said. “They’re the national champions, and to go to Durham two years in a row to play against the defending champions is a unique opportunity for us. It’s one that we’re looking forward to.”

“I think a lot of us would say that we outplayed them and should have and could have won the game,” Fallon said. “So I think that’s something that we hang our hats on now — that we can play with anybody.”

The 2011 Bears feature a mix of experienced veterans and a large freshman class expected to contribute from the start. On defense, Fallon is a two-time All-Ivy and All-New England selection.  On the offensive end, fellow captain Andrew Feinberg ’11 — whose 98 career goals rank 11th in school history — will lead the Bears’ attack. The third captain, Jimmy Wittpenn ’11, is a physical force in the midfield. Other top scorers should include Parker Brown ’12 and David Hawley ’11, who was selected 40th overall in this January’s Major League Lacrosse draft.

Even though the leadership and talent is there, Tiffany’s squad will also have to rely on its 10 freshmen to contribute immediately to help fill the shoes of last year’s seniors, including Thomas Muldoon ’10 and Reade Seligmann ’10, who ranked second and third on the team in points, respectively.

“As a whole, every one of them has done a wonderful job acclimating to Division I lacrosse,” Tiffany said. “Every single man has sacrificed his own personal goals … to go from the big man to the little man on campus, every one has made the transition well and left their egos behind.”

Fallon pointed out the team’s balance of veterans and underclassmen when asked about the team’s greatest strengths going into the new season.

“The senior and junior class, a lot of kids have played a long time as three or four-year starters,” Fallon said. “I think it’s that, complemented by the younger guys who are going to step up and embrace their roles.”

The Bears’ season begins Feb. 26, when they host Quinnipiac at Stevenson Field. Tiffany said he sees the game as a great chance to get off to a strong start.

“Quinnipiac was 8-6 last year. We were 8-6 last year,” Tiffany said. “It’s the opening game for both of us, and it’s a big one. I look to this one as the first opportunity for the version 2011 Brown lacrosse to really prove ourselves as a team, as a program, as a united front.”