(Photo Courtesy of Lafayette Athletics)
In the summer of 2018, Pat Myers left his defensive coordinator position at Penn to take what many would describe as the toughest job in college lacrosse. Lafayette has not a winning season since 2010, when they went 8-6. Before that 2010 season, the Leopards’ last winning season had been back in 1984, when they went 9-4.
Two years into the Pat Myers era and things don’t look much prettier, but there has been some progress made. The Leopards went 4-11 Myers’ first season (2019), breaking past the three-win mark for the first time since 2015. They went 0-6 during the shortened 2020 season.
If there was anything to take away from this past spring for this Lafayette team, it was the growth and development that can be had on the back end. Starting three freshman at close and a sophomore in goal is not ever going to lead to consistently smooth play. However, getting that experience will certainly be beneficial for both the players and the unit as a whole.
Tommy McGee (11GB/6CT), Beaudan Szuluk (11GB/6CT), and JP Robinson (6GB/5CT) all started as freshman last season. The Leopards’ two main reserves, Sean Rushton and Stephen Saijer, were both on the younger side as well, being a freshman and sophomore. This unit, which was the 68th scoring defense last season, was one of the youngest in the nation.
In cage, Ryan Ness served as the Leopards’ primary goalie for the second consecutive season. He posted 42% save percentage and looked to be on track to surpass his numbers from his freshman season, and looks to continue to improve heading into 2021.
On the offensive end, the Leopards return their top five scorers, which includes their three starting attackman in senior Andrew Robbins (9G/2A) and sophomores Macklin Fitzpatrick (6G/1A) and Nick Jessen (4G/2A). Junior Cole Dutton (6G/3A) senior Bryan Hess (5G/1A) are their top two returners at the midfield spot.
Similar to their defense, the Leopards will have to step it up a ton this season if they want chance at success. They were bottom ten (69th) in scoring offense during the shortened 2020 season, averaging 7 goals per game.
At the faceoff dot, James Turco served as their man draw guy and went 49%. He looks to take a step forward as a sophomore in 2021.