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M. lax has its eye on championships

After a disappointing finish last season, which ended with a 7-7 overall record, the men's lacrosse team is ready for a big 2008 season. Leading the team will be Brian Asher '08 and Jeff Hall '08, both midfielders, and defenseman Brian Sharnick '08. This year's team will feature many top players from last year's squad as well as a strong crop of newcomers ready to take the field for Brown.

The team will need to compensate for the graduation of several key offensive players, including midfielder Alex Buckley '07, now a member of Major League Lacrosse's Los Angeles Riptide, and attackman David Madeira '07, who scored a team-high 24 goals during the season and was acquired by the Riptide in the 2008 MLL Supplemental Draft.

"We're obviously going to miss them a lot," Sharnick said. "They're both great players, and we're going to miss what they brought in terms of both leadership and talent."

However, the Bears will also return with a strong offensive squad, including preseason All-American attackman Thomas Muldoon '10. In his freshman season, Muldoon burst onto the collegiate lacrosse scene with 23 goals and 9 assists, for a team-high 32 points. The Bears' offense will also feature attackmen Kyle Hollingsworth '09, who finished last season with 15 goals and 9 assists, and Jack Walsh '09, who racked up 11 goals and 11 assists.

This year's team will also feature a solid group of midfielders, anchored by Asher and Hall. Asher led the team's midfielders with 32 ground balls in 2007, to go along with four assists, and Hall picked up 10 ground balls while also contributing to the offensive effort with four goals. Zach Caldwell '10 will return after a strong freshman season that included nine goals and two assists. The group of midfielders will feature other returning players such as Nic Bell '09, who finished with 29 ground balls in 2007, and Charlie Kenney '10, who picked up 21 ground balls last season. Joining the group will be Reade Seligmann '09, a transfer from Duke, a perennial contender for the NCAA championship.

The defensive corps lost valuable players as well, including Bobby Shields '07, who earned first-team all-New England honors last season. Sharnick, along with returning players like Reed DeLuca '08 and Michael Miller '10, will hope to fill that void and provide a strong presence in front of All-Ivy and All-New England goalie Jordan Burke '09.

Last season, Burke led the Ivy League with 13.00 saves per game, while ranking fifth nationally with a .624 save percentage.

Despite the plethora of returning stars from last year's team, Brown will also look to its freshman class to make an impact this season.

"We have an excellent incoming freshman class," Sharnick said. "I think they'll see a lot of playing time and be able to help us out, whether in a starting spot or a specialized role."

Though the Bears had many bright spots in their 2007 season, often cracking the top 20 in national polls, the season had its fair share of disappointments, as well. After a 6-3 start, Brown lost four of its last five games to finish 7-7 overall and 1-5 in Ivy League play. All five league losses came by three goals or less, including a four-overtime 9-8 loss to Dartmouth.

"Ivy league games are different from non-conference games for us because the Ivy League is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, leagues in the country," Sharnick said. "If a ground ball goes one way or the other, it can decide the outcome of a game. I just attribute (our struggles) to great competition in the league."

This season, though, the team has its sights set higher.

"Our ultimate goal is to win an Ivy League championship and be a contender for the national championship," Sharnick said.



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