After compiling a 15-2 overall record, an NCAC championship, and a ticket to the Elite Eight last year, it may seem hard for the 2013 Men’s Denison Lacrosse team to build on last year’s success.However, having graduated three All-Americans, the team needs players to step up and all the void. Coach Michael Caravana, who is in his 20th year at the helm of the program, has all the confidence in the world that his players will rise to the challenge. “We have a tradition enriched program and the next guy in line is expected to step up,” Caravana said. With captains Tommy Harrison, Bart Farinholt, and Spencer Riehl leading the way, the team looks towards some younger talent for help. Sophomores like Drew Newman, Nick Caravana, Benjie Colberg, Matt King, Tucker Sanders-Lyle, Max Burge and Teddy Powell will be in the mix to help the team accomplish its goals. Additionally, Coach Caravana expects Eddie Vita, who led the team in scoring with 44 goals last season, Matt Neeson, Austin Campbell, Tyler King, Clint Barber, Nick Verklin, Ben Hearn, Blair Farinholt, Chapin Speidel and Chip Phillips, who Caravana dubbed “one of the best face off guys in the country” to be very prominent players for the team this year.
For some of these players, it means stepping up into bigger and unfamiliar roles. “The success of the guys stepping into bigger roles this year could really dictate our success,” Caravana added, “but I have no doubt that our guys will step up”. The optimism from Caravana has been trickling down to the members of the team as well as the team is dealing with the loss of last years starting goalie, Nick Petracca, who got removed from the team due to off the field issues.
According to Caravana, freshman Chris Thomas will take over in net. Senior Captain Spencer Riehl had all but nice things to say about the freshman, “We have a lot of confidence in Chris. He has played great thus far and looks to be the unquestioned starter going into the season”. In addition to some new starters for the Big Red this year, the coaching staff has some new faces as well. With Caravana leading the way, the 2013 coaching staff now features Tanner Smith, Chris Cooper and Chip Murray. Senior Captain Spencer Riehl had glowing remarks over the addition of Tanner Smith, who was an All American at Denison not to long ago. “As a former player of ours, he knows what the kids are going through so he can relate to them well,” said Caravana. Chris Cooper has a little more experience in the coaching department having previously coached the Michigan State Club team, which is nationally ranked. “Coach Cooper has brought a new look to our defense that we’ve seen great results from thus far” Riehl added about the new coach. Lastly, Chip Murray, who played his college lacrosse at Dickinson College, has been working closely with the face-off players. “There are certain things that each coach brings to the table,” Caravana said.
“All of which make our team better and if we keep improving the way we should, the sky is the limit for us.” The Big Red kicked o# its season on Saturday, February 16th with a dominating win over Mt. St. Joseph. Eddie Vita led the way again with two goals. Nick Verklin, Chapin Speidel, Tyler King also notched two goals. Perhaps the most impressive players of the day came from the young guns in Nick Caravana and Blair Farinholt who both notched their first career hat-tricks. The Big Red’s defense played spectacular only allowing five shots on freshman goalie Chris Thomas. Some other keys games for the Big Red this year are against Washington and Lee University, Haverford College and Cabrini College. Coach Caravana urges all students to come support the Big Red as they face off against Washington and Lee this Sunday, February 26th at 1 p.m. in Deeds Field-Piper Stadium.