Sports

Men’s lacrosse to feature fresh faces on field

Team lost eight seniors, will rely on first-years and former bench players to step up this season

By
Senior Staff Writer
Friday, February 21, 2014

The men’s lacrosse team started last season on a meteoric rise, winning five of its first six games. The early-season success earned the Bears a No. 19 national ranking, and the team looked poised to contend for the Ivy League title.

But the squad lost momentum and dropped its next four games, ultimately finishing fifth in the conference. Despite the disappointing end to last season, the aspirations of Head Coach Lars Tiffany ’90 for this year’s team have not changed.

“The goal every year is to win the Ivy League title and to pursue a spot in the NCAA tournament,” Tiffany said.

The squad lost eight seniors to graduation last year — five of whom regularly started — but replaced them with a slew of talented youngsters. Dylan Molloy ’17, one of nine first-years on the team, will be called upon early to contribute offensively.

“He’s going to play right away,” Tiffany said. “With (first-years), people always talk about taking baby steps, but we really want Molloy to take some big-boy steps, because we’re going to lean on him early.”

Larken Kemp ’17 and Alec Tulett ’17 have earned spots in the team’s defensive rotation for their performances in preseason training, high level of talent and because of the graduation of three starting defenders, Tiffany said.

With so many first-years set to play a large role on the team this season, the Bears will rely on strong senior leadership to help guide the younger players. Sam Hurster ’14, Daniel Mellynchuk ’14, Philip Pierce ’14 and Peter Vivonetto ’14 were all named team captains, and each bolsters the team with unique attributes.

“Hurster brings big-game experience and scoring talent to the offense,” Tiffany said. “Pierce understands the combination of mental and physical toughness required to be great. Mellynchuk brings versatility to the team — he has changed positions this year, and he’s made the transition quickly and smoothly, from midfield to defense. And Vivonetto is the glue. He’s a man who focuses on the team culture and camaraderie.”

Bruno still needs to figure out how to fill the major role of playmaker. George Sherman ’13, winner of the team’s offensive MVP award, racked up 15 assists in 14 games as a starting attacker last year. This season, Stephen Chmil ’14 will step up in the midfield.

“Chmil plays offense, defense, and he understands our transition game,” Tiffany said. “He’s going to be leaned on heavily to control the pace of play and to ignite our offense.”

Chmil will be surrounded by a solid attacking core that will help him rack up Sherman-esque assist tallies. Henry Blynn ’16, Nick Piroli ’15 and Hurster accounted for nearly half of Bruno’s scoring last season, and the trio will look to Chmil to find them on the offensive end of the field.

One source of consistency for the Bears is goalie Jack Kelly ’16. As a first-year, Kelly started nine of Bruno’s 14 games and posted a 53.3 save percentage — the fourth best mark in the conference.

“Experience is always important for player development, but Kelly is an interesting case,” Tiffany said. “Last year as a (first-year), he played as if he had already been starting for three years. He has an uncanny poise in the cage and plays with a confidence that belies his age.”

Bruno will travel to Quinnipiac University for both sides’ first game of the season Saturday. The Bobcats took down the Bears 8-6 last year, but Brown holds a 4-1 advantage all-time over Quinnipiac. Bruno’s new faces will have a chance to prove that this year’s squad can make a run at the Ivy League title.