Feb. 28 - HIRAM, Ohio - Leaning on a handful of returning letterwinners and infused with a host of new talent, the Hiram College men's lacrosse team will look to get back on track during the 2017 campaign.
Leading the way for Hiram this season will be a trio of juniors in Evan Pinney, Justin Dionne and Nick Rollason, who were all selected as team captains for the year. As sophomores, the trio all ranked in the top five on the team in scoring, combining for 73 points last season.
"The leadership group on this team is inherent with their style of play," commented head coach Brian Jenkins. "They have the ability to lead by example, and we are going to continue to ask that of them every single day."
Rollason will look to lead the Terrier attack in 2017 after ranking second on the team in both goals (23) and points (33) last season.
"Nick is our quarterback of the offense," remarked Jenkins. "His abilities and versatility on the attack should allow us to be a well-balanced program moving forward."
The junior appeared and started in all 14 games last season, ranking first on the squad in shot-on-goal percentage (.662). Seven times on the year he notched a multi-point game, including posting six goals and eight points in a 13-10 victory over Franciscan.
"We have a great group of attackmen that seem to complement each other well," stated Jenkins of his offense. "We need to get them some time to gel in a game setting, but we like the direction we are heading with each player bringing his own unique skill to the table."
The other two captains for the Terriers will see time in the midfield as Pinney and Dionne will look to carry the transition game.
Both Pinney and Dionne appeared in all 14 games as sophomores last season. Dionne ranked first on the squad in assists (15) while totaling 24 points. Pinney, meanwhile tallied six goals, 10 assists, and ranked second on the team with 43 ground balls.
"Our returning midfielders both bring something unique to the table," commented Jenkins. "Evan (Pinney) is one of the players that will best lead us by example. He has an overall solid skill set and has worked hard this offseason at developing his shooting ability.
"Justin (Dionne), meanwhile, is going to give us a good bit of both transitional and offensive options with his speed and agility. These are players that we are going to need constant effort from to help lead our younger players."
"Throughout our midfield, I think our stick skills are some of the best that they have been in recent memory," said Jenkins. "We like to push the ball and develop "numbers up" opportunities, and with the group that we have in place, will be able to take more advantage of the transition game."
On the defensive front, the group designed to protect a pair of freshman goalies will be led by senior Joshua Good and sophomore Nick Jericho. Both players saw action in all 14 games, with Jericho earning six starts as a freshman last season. Joining the returners on the back line will be freshman Cory Zaller-Edmonds, a four-year player from Brunswick High School.
"Jericho will come into the season as our number one defender," stated Jenkins of his sophomore. "He plays well in the team concept and has a nose for the ball in ground-ball situations. We will look to both him and Joshua (Good) to lead our defense."
"We are very excited for what both Liam and McNair bring to the table," remarked Jenkins of his goalies. "The two have really pushed each other for the starting role and have embraced the competition between them. I think it has really prepared both to be able to get the start in net."
The Terriers open the 2017 season at Muskingum on Wednesday, February 1, with their first home game scheduled against Alfred State on Saturday. Hiram will play at Henry field six times on the season, with their conference opener scheduled for March 18 at home against Wittenberg.
"Our focus on the season is to continue to strive to be better every single day," stated Jenkins of the expectations for the year. "We feel we have a strong base of returners and have infused it with a good group of newcomers so that we can constantly strive to be the best version of ourselves and take the next step."