The MSOE lacrosse team is prepared to take another big step forward in 2017 as it looks to make some noise in the Midwest Lacrosse Conference.
Head coach Sean Farrell is in his fourth season leading the program and has built a solid foundation that has the potential to have a special season this year and beyond. He has his deepest roster to date even with a small group of talented returners.
His team also has no seniors.
Eight juniors are in their third seasons with the program. They have grown together, helped to form the identity together, and will play with 19 newcomers for two years to ensure that any success this season is sustaining.
While much of the returners are on the offensive side of the field, Farrell does boast an accomplished and experienced goalie in junior Pat Collins, who has been a two-year starter for the Raiders. Last season, he posted an 8.72 goals against average and .491 save percentage in nearly 764 minutes. An All-MLC Honorable Mention selection as a freshman, he is easily the most accomplished goalie in the team's seven-year history.
MSOE's deepest area is in the attack, where six of its top seven scorers from last season return. Junior Clay Gustafson is just the second Raider to 100 career points and has done so in just two seasons. In 2016, he earned All-MLC Honorable Mention honors when he led the team with 34 goals and 51 points. He registered a point in all 13 games last season, scoring a goal in 12 different games with six hat tricks.
Juniors Thomas Reid and Oliver Kennedy were tied for second on the squad with 35 points each, but earned those points differently. Reid is a physical presence in front of the goal, scoring 22 goals and setting up 13 others. Meanwhile, Winsor is more of a facilitator. He led the team with 20 assists, including a school-record seven against Clarke in the home opener. He still has scoring chops with 15 goals of his own.
Sophomore Jack Fisher was often deployed as the third attack man with Reid and Gustafson and had a nice rookie campaign with eight goals and 12 assists for 20 points. Junior Oliver Kennedy also topped the 20-point plateau, doing so from the midfield. He posted career-highs across the board with 16 goals and eight assists.
Farrell returns three more midfielders in juniors James Shipp, Jake Carney, and Logan Kupferman. Shipp is coming off a lost season due to injury but contributed nine goals and six assists to the attack in 2015. Carney has been a consistent presence in the Red & White midfield and scored five goals with three assists last season.
Kupferman appeared in 11 games last season, but gained some valuable experience on face-offs. He is the in-house favorite to take over that role from departed senior Aaron Chun. Chun took 240 of the team's 290 face-offs last season, but Kupferman stepped in for him 31 times, winning 18.
With such a large freshman class, Farrell is confident that he can form a young and capable defense in front of Collins. Early preseason training sessions have the coach pleased with the progress the defensive unit has made so far. He knows that having an experienced goalie will certainly be key as the group grows together.