LYNDON CENTER, Vt. — With the return of its two top scorers, and a significant amount of depth in the midfield, the Lyndon men's lacrosse team is looking to make a name for itself in the North Atlantic Conference.
Attacker Max Ercole (26 goals, 5 assists, 31 points) and long stick midfielder Caleb Noble, a pair of All-NAC Second-Team selection in 2010, top a long list of veteran players which includes seniors Chris Mansour (28 goals, 3 assists, 31 points), Colin Blanchard, Keenan Chenail and Alex Cerone as well as juniors Jimmy Gaskell, Luke Norman-Lacroix, Luke Haskell and Christian Henault.
"We are going to lean on Chris and Max because they are two of our better leaders and scorers," said Head Coach Tim Tierney. "We lost a couple of good assists men in Josh (Arango) and Taylor (Stout), but we've added Dan Randall, an outstanding freshman attacker with good stick skills.
"We've also got some guys coming up who we think will help us up front," he continued. "Luke has been very impressive thus far while Ryan Brown, Alex and Caleb have been solid defensively. I'm excited to see what our defense can do this year."
Like most sports defense plays a crucial role in the success of a team and Tierney feels that having depth and experience on the back line and in the midfield will be the key to the Hornets' chances of earning a post-season playoff berth.
"Colin, Luke and Christian give us depth and some scoring in the midfield, but I think the newcomer who will make the most difference will be Matt Reynolds, our freshman goalie," said Tierney. "He's young, experienced and has been well-coached. He has great stick skills and will be crucial in our ability to clear the ball from our own end."
Transitioning from defense to offense will be a point of emphasis this season for the Hornets. Tierney feels a veteran presence on defense, and in the midfield, will give Lyndon the ability to compete in the always-tough NAC.
"Defense is always a priority," he said. "You've got to stop your opponent from scoring and get the ball to the midfield. I'm confident with the people we have back there and would go as far as saying it could be the strength of the team at this point in time. We have a lot of people up front and in the midfield; we just have to get them the ball."
In just their fourth year of existence, the Hornets hope to take the next step in their evolution by securing a second-straight NAC playoff berth and advancing beyond the quarterfinal round.
"We're a little short on attackers, but we have a lot of runner in the midfield," said Tierney. "I think this will be a key year for us and a record above .500 is certainly not out of the question."