HIRAM, OHIO -- The Hiram College men's lacrosse era officially began last year with its innaugural season. Despite still being the "new kids on the block" in the North Coast Athletic Conference, the Terriers will look to take the next step in their "sophomore" season.
As is the case with most new programs, the 2013 season was a season of learning for the Hiram men's lacrosse team as well as the community unfamiliar to the sport. The Terriers posted one victory a year ago, but will use a year of growth in experience to take their place in an already competitive conference.
Hiram returns the majority of its roster from last spring, but will still be a very young team mostly made up of sophomores and freshman. This year's roster will include some key players from a year ago, led by All-NCAC sophomore Greg Summers (Lancaster, N.Y./St. Mary's). Summers led the team in almost every statistical category as a freshman including: goals scored (21), points (25), shots (83), ground balls (50) and was the team's top face-off specialist with 79 faceoff wins in 233 attempts. He was also tied for third on the team in assists with four. At the end of the season, he was the lone Terrier to garner All-Conference accolades to become the first player in program history to do so.
In addition to Summers, sophomores Chris Lekan (North Olmsted/Holy Name) and John Deegan (Lakewood/St. Edward) are also back as two of the team's top point scorers. Last season, Lekan was second in goals (17), points (21), shots (54) and was tied with Summers in assists with four. He led the team in goals scored on "man-up" opportunities with seven. Lekan was fourth on the squad in ground balls with 35. Defensively, he ranked amoungst the team-leaders in caused turnovers with eight. Deegan was fifth overall in points (10) and third in goals with seven. In addition, he was second in assists with six, was fourth in shots (37) and had 22 ground balls. Deegan was also amongst the team leaders in ground balls (27) and caused turnovers (seven).
A host of players will return defensively for Hiram, including the primary goalkeeper in sophomore Sawyer Lott (Sunbury/Big Walnut). Lott played in all 12 games last season and had 127 saves in just under 510 minutes. He had a 46.0 save percentage with a 17.53 goals against average.
Aaron and Matt Hare (Rocky River) will help be the leaders of the defense. Both saw playing time in all 12 games last spring with Aaron starting nine games and Matt starting all 12 games. Aaron Hare also got involved on the offensive side of the ball scoring three goals on nine shots with eight of those shots being on net. Matt Hare primary focus was defense and finished the season with 15 ground balls and a team-tying high 10 caused turnovers.
Joining the Hare brothers at the defensman position will be sophomores Spencer Wittenmyer (Chagrin Falls) and Wil Reyes (Orlando, Fla./Colonial). Wittenmyer started all 10 games he played in and ended the season with five ground balls and one caused turnover. Reyes saw most of his playing time coming off the bench, but played in 11 of 12 games. For the season, he caused three turnovers statistically.
In addition, sophomore midfielders Matt Pozderac (Mount Vernon/Centerburg), Nicola Pedretti (Gordona, Italy/Leonardo da Vinci) and Aaron Acus-Souders (Enon/Greenon) will return for their second seasons. All three saw significant playing time as freshman with Pozderac making an impact both offensively and defensively recording one assist and finishing second in ground balls with 37. He also tallied eight caused turnovers. Pedretti and Acus-Souders provided solid contributions defensively with Pedretti having three ground balls while Acus-Souders added nine. Acus-Souders also had four caused turnovers and was a perfect one-for-one in faceoff opportunities.
The 2014 schedule will feature the addition of two opponents in Capital University and Franciscan University. The Terriers will take on Capital in their season opener which is scheduled for Wednesday, Mar. 5. Hiram will then face Franciscan on Saturday, Mar. 8. The team will open the conference schedule on Mar. 22 in a home matchup against DePauw (Ind.) University which Hiram recorded its only win against last year. The Terriers' season opener against Capital is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. at Charles A. Henry Field.