Men's Lacrosse Season PreviewJanuary 24, 2017
BREVARD, N.C. – A year removed from taking over the program as interim head coach for the 2016 season, Michael Markland enters his second year as head men’s lacrosse coach of the Brevard College Tornados, with the goal of turning heads around the South Atlantic Conference, before transitioning to Division III and the USA South for 2018.
“We have the talent to compete in the SAC as reinforced last year in most of our conference games,” said Markland. “I fully anticipate that we will come out and do the same this spring. As a young team in 2016, we were able to gain vital experience, which should benefit us in finishing close games; games we felt were lost by ourselves a year ago. Being picked last in conference is not something we are surprised by, however we fully intend on ending the year in a different spot.”
The 2016 Tornados finished the year at 2-13 overall and 0-8 in the SAC, however, Brevard’s record wasn’t indicative of how the blue and white competed the majority of the year. The Tornados fell by three goals or less on four occasions, including an 11-10 overtime loss to Alabama-Huntsville on the road in week three, along with a 12-11 loss at Coker, 8-6 loss at Mars Hill and a 15-12 loss to Wingate at home, as both Wingate and Coker qualified for SAC postseason play.
“We are much more comfortable about where we stand now as to this time last season,” said Markland. “We had a lot of changes surrounding the program for the 2016 season and feel that this past year helped us grow. We have an exciting and favorable out of conference schedule ahead of us, that will allow our team measure where we stand against some USA South opponents as we prepare for the Division III transition.”
The 2016 Tornados return the bulk of last year’s roster, including sophomore Kyle Hunziker (Gainesville, Fla.) who finished his freshman season 12th in the SAC with 28 goals and 11th with 15 assists. In addition to the stellar play of Hunziker, Brevard welcomes back four of its top-five scores from a year ago, as senior Ryan Taylor (Mill Bay, British Columbia) finished tied with freshman Jackson McKaig (Gainesville, Fla.) with 21 goals, while fell senior Mathew Dropuljic (Brampton, Ontario) added 17 net finders. While junior David Buono (Bethany, Conn.) and senior Nick Bier (Cumming Ga.) add depth to the midfield.
“This is our first official class of four year letter winners and all of our seniors play a major role on the field for us,” added Markland. “Taylor and Dropuljic are two guys that have been very productive players throughout their careers here and they will be asked to be driving forces in our offense. Sophomores Kyle Hunziker (SAC Honorable Mention) and Jackson McKaig had very successful freshman campaigns and we expect to see their experience propel them to even better outputs this year. Hewitt Farr found a home at attack as well and came on very strong at the end of the season.”
On the defensive side of the field, Brevard welcomes back three big pieces of their back line, including senior Dennis Rammacher (Derby, N.Y.) who returns following a season in which he was honored with All-SAC Honorable Mention. While juniors, Cole Hansen (Coral Springs, Fla.) and Austin Sweat (Greenville, S.C.) give coach Markland veteran anchors on the backline.
Following a strong 2016 recruiting class that featured Hunziker, McKaig, midfielder Jack Shade (Nacberth, Pa.) and goal keeper Peyton Mooney (Vaughan, Ontario), the 2017 Tornados welcome the addition of seven new freshman to the field, three of whom will be vying for starting jobs come opening day.
“Bobby Kokal (Monroe Township, N.J.) and Daniel Ramos (Sebastian, Fla.) will be pairing together at the LSM position and they will stabilize a position that was inconsistent for us last season,” said Markland. “I expect them to be huge difference makers for us. While goalie Chris Stallings (Bel Air, Md.) is a very exciting addition for us and he has come in and made the competition between the pipes a very tight race with returners Xzavier Holmes Copeland (Woodbridge, Va.) and Mooney, all of whom have thrived with each other breathing down their necks.”
The Tornados are slated to open the season Feb. 4 as they host Shorter at 2 p.m. from the newly renovated Brevard Soccer Field, before opening SAC play on Mar. 4 on the road at Tusculum.
1. Lenoir-Rhyne (7) 77
2. Queens (1) 69
3. Wingate (1) 64
4. Tusculum 44
5. Mars Hill 37
6. Lincoln Memorial 37
7. Catawba 34
8. Coker 31
9. Brevard 14
2017 South Atlantic Conference Men’s Lacrosse
A – Garrett Sadler, Queens
A – Mike Hanlon, Lenoir-Rhyne
A – Jeremy Sullivan, Wingate
MF – Dallas Wade, Tusculum
MF – Ben Corrigan, Lenoir-Rhyne
MF – Daniel Godwin, Wingate
D – Anthony Crisera, Wingate
D – Chris Gazzio, Wingate
D – Ryon Bellamy, Queens
LP – Collin Lett, Lenoir-Rhyne
Spec. – Connor Eakes, Catawba
GK – Jacob Ormerod, Wingate
A – Austin Murphy, Wingate
A – Dima Ferriera, Mars Hill
A – Ben Boyd, Tusculum
MF – Adam Golia, Lincoln Memorial
MF – Nathan Stewart, Mars Hill
MF – Billy Kopsky, Lincoln Memorial
D – Nick Rizzieri, Queens
D – Gus Weber, Catawba
D – Ryan Benck, Lincoln Memorial
LP – Griffin Stechmiller, Queens
Spec. – Jonathan Paige, Queens
GK – Ryan Applegate, Catawba