(Photo Courtesy of Marist Athletics)
Since taking over as head coach ahead of the 2012 season, Keegan Wilkinson has led Marist to 71-60 record, five MAAC Championship appearances, which included four straight, and two MAAC titles (2015,2019).
In the shortened 2020 season, the Red Foxes opened things up on a high note, beating Binghamton 12-4 in their season-opener. And while they faced a minor setback against No. 19 Richmond, they sent shockwaves across the college lacrosse landscape after a home 17-9 victory over a top-10 ranked Army team the following Tuesday. After that historic win, the Red Foxes went 1-3 through the last few weeks of the shortened season, beating Hartford soundly, suffering a nine-point loss at Bucknell, and a one-goal loss against Delaware.
And just when it looked like the Red Foxes could hit the reset button heading into MAAC play , the 2020 season was cancelled.
While the chance to win back-to-back conference championships for the first time in program history was ultimately cut short in 2020, things are still looking very optimistic in Poughkeepsie heading into 2021.
The Red Foxes’ 2021 roster will feature six seniors from last year’s squad who are returning for an extra season in attackman Jake Weinman, midfielders Joe Tierney, Jon Constant, Wyatt Colangelo, SSDM Jack Zukowski, and defenseman Sam Ahlgim.
With those six returning, plus the underclassmen they bring back, Marist looks to have one of the best core groups of any team in the MAAC coming into 2021, and is the clear cut favorite to win the conference in the eyes of many.
One of the biggest things that those six seniors bring back is depth and experience, which are two things Marist wouldn’t have too, too much of this upcoming spring if all went as planned in 2020. That factor of depth prevalent all over the field, but especially so on the offensive end.
During the shortened 2020 season, Marist led the conference in goals per game (13.17), assist per game (8.17), and points per game (21.33).
And with Weinmann, who led the Red Foxes in goals with 16, and Joe Tierney (10G/7A) both returning, along with sophomore attackmen JoJo Pirrecca (14G/9A) and Jamison Embury (13G/8A) the Red Foxes’ offense looks to be just as dangerous, if not more, again next season.
In addition to those four major impact players, midfielders Jason Intermesoli and James Lyons will both be back and looking to continue to trend upwards and produce for the Red Foxes. Intermesoli was the fifth-leading scorer for this squad last season as a junior, tallying 17 points (5G/12A). Lyons, who was Marist’s sixth-leading scorer, put up 11 points (7G/4A) during his sophomore campaign in 2020.
Defensively, the Red Foxes also have a lot to lean on, especially with Zukowski and defenseman Ahlgim both returning. Zukowski had a breakout season as a redshirt senior in 2020, recorded five caused turnovers and four ground balls as the Red Foxes’ top SSDM. Ahlgim has been a mainstay on the Marist defense the past few seasons, starting all six games and recording 11 ground balls and five caused turnovers during the 2020 season.
The Red Foxes also return their other two starting defensemen in junior Kyle Stofko (17GB/8CT), and freshman Kurt Wessner (6GB/5CT). Goalie Jack MacGregor, who posted a 50% save percentage as a redshirt junior, and sophomore LSM JT Roselle, who led the team in ground balls (27) and caused turnovers (13), will also be back and should help the Red Foxes’ defense take another step forward.
While there is plenty of promise on both ends with plenty of talent returning, there is a certain level of uncertainty at the faceoff dot after the graduation of Peyton Smith, who ranked 11th in the nation and first in the MAAC in faceoff percentage (64%). Senior Andrew Evans is the Red Foxes’ top returner at the dot, going 7-for-15 (47%) and playing in two contests.
They also bring in freshman John Kelly, who went 71% for Paul VI Catholic, Va., during the shortened 2020 season. Kelly will surely see some time as a freshman during 2021, especially being one of just two full-time faceoff men on the Red Foxes’ roster.