BEREA, Ohio - The Baldwin Wallace University men's lacrosse team, under the direction of third-year head coach Trey Keeley, are aiming to take command of the Ohio Athletic Conference in 2020.
Keeley returns 19 letterwinners and three All-OAC players from last year's squad that posted an oveall record of 14-3 and a 8-1 mark in conference play, advancing to the OAC Tournament for the sixth consecutive season. 22 new faces will also join the team this spring, hoping to make an immediate impact.
Up front, BW will be led by senior two-time All-OAC attacker and team co-captain Ben Kubiak (Wooster). The three-year letterwinner is currently fifth in both goals and points, and sixth in assists amongst the program's all-time leaderboards. Kubiak had a career-year in 2019, posting a career-best and team-leading 53 goals and 114 shots. His career-best totals of 20 assists and 73 points were also good enough for second on the team. Kubiak will guide a Yellow Jackets offense that will consist almost entirely of newcomers, as senior attacker Drew Braden (Wooster) will be the sole returning upperclassman to join him. The senior duo will be accompanied on attack by sophomore newcomer Grant Alexander (West Seneca, N.Y./West), as well as freshmen Luke Schroedl (Milwaukee, Wis./Waukesha West), Kaleb Delaney (Buffalo, N.Y./Akron), George Newcomb (West Seneca, N.Y./West), Jake Branton (Marysville), and Kyler Byerly (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny), who will all aim to provide some surplus scoring for the group.
Down the middle, BW will be spearheaded by team co-captain midfielders, senior Austin Routzong (Hilliard/Bradley) and junior All-OAC and Academic All-OAC performer Nick Nanosky (Medina). Nanosky is the Yellow Jackets' highest-scoring returning midfielder, having garnered career-best totals of 18 goals and 13 assists for 31 points, in addition to 21 ground balls and seven caused turnovers in 2019. Poised to make strides in their new leadership roles, they will take on the task of collaborating with fellow upperclassmen, seniors Riley Mahon (Palatine, Ill./William Fremd), Matt Lowe (Mentor), and Hunter Lute (North Canton), junior Academic All-OAC players Jimmy Brown (Canfield/Cardinal Mooney) and Carson Howatt (Dexter, Mich.), and juniors Ethan Miller (Delaware/Hayes) and Gage Schneider (Hamburg, N.Y.). The deep experienced midfielder core will set the tone for the younger midfielders hoping to make a bigger splash in 2020, which features sophomores John Schulte (Grosse Pointe, Mich./South), Nolan Connelly (Rocky River), and Eric Bechtel (Westlake). Incoming freshmen midfielders eagerly awaiting their collegiate debuts include Jonas Aquilla (Westlake/St. Edward), Olin Ferguson (Tulsa, Okla./Booker T. Washington), Aidan Kennedy (McKinney, Texas/Heritage), Zach Marinello (Wooster), Bobby Sotock (Painesville/Riverside), and Orion Danou (Williams Bay, Wis./Janesville Craig).
On the back end, BW's last line of defense will be anchored by junior All-OAC and Academic All-OAC athlete Matthew Rodenhouse (Pittsford, N.Y./Mendon), and sophomore Clay Kolke (Medina). The two bonafide starters, along with junior Academic All-OAC recipient David Arlington (Lockport, N.Y.) and fellow junior Bryce Moran (Medina), will look to lead a young defensive unit for the Yellow Jackets this season. They will welcome freshmen newcomers Neil Randall (Manhattan Beach, Calif./Palos Verdes), Brian Saulsberry (Memphis, Tenn./Houston), Richie Roskoph (Strongsville), Dom Stage (Midlothian, Va./Burgettstown), Ethan Rutowski (Pittsburgh, Pa./Upper St. Clair), Jonathan Schroeder (Arlington, Wash.), and Adam Blose (Butler, Pa./Butler Area), who will try to add some instant tenacity towards the opposing attack.
On the draws, BW will depend on junior faceoff men Sandy Bishop (Avon Lake), and Keller Fisher (Rocky River) to maximize its possessions in 2020. Bishop, who took the most draws on the team last season with 357, went 50.7 percent, and corralled the second-most ground balls on the team with 56. Meanwhile, Fisher owned a 56.1 percent rate on draws in his 148 total faceoff attempts in 2019. The two will be accompanied by freshman Declan Tubbs (Stow/Stow-Munroe Falls), who will provide depth in the faceoff rotation.
In the cage, the Yellow Jackets will rely on junior Academic All-OAC goalkeeper Trent Davis (Ottawa Hills), who returns to this year's roster after having made the the most starts between the pipes for BW last season with 10. The two-year letterwinner boasted a 9-1 record, 47.5 save percentage, and a 10.24 goals against average in 2019. Senior and sophomore netminders Connor Lalime (Buffalo, N.Y./Williamsville East) and Will Scurci (Mars, Pa.), who both appeared in a handful of games last season for the Yellow Jackets, will add some support at the position, as they compete for playing time. Freshmen Zach Noll (Miamisburg) and Joe Storner (Louisville, Ky./St. Xavier) will also seek to find some reps in the crease this sping.
The Yellow Jackets kick off their 2020 season tomorrow, Saturday, February 22, as they host their home-opener against non-conference opponent Geneseo University (N.Y.) at 1:00 p.m. on Tressel Field in George Finnie Stadium.