Fall Snapshot: Marist Red Foxes

(Photo Courtesy of Marist Athletics)

Welcome to the Fall Snapshot series. Throughout the fall I will be taking an early look at all 75 DI men’s college lacrosse teams and giving a snapshot of where each is heading into the 2023 season.

Head Coach: Keegan Wilkinson (12th season, 2012-Present)

Marist 2022 Record: 7-8 (5-1 MAAC)

Key Departures: Jason Intermesoli (M), JT Roselle (LSM), Anthony Novellano (G)

Key Returners: Jamison Embury (A), JoJo Pirreca (A), James Lyons (A), Kellen Pulera (A), Hunter Embury (M), Kyle Stofko (D), Dylan Bedell (FO)

Transfer Additions: Aidan McCaffrey (D, Delaware)

Marist came into last season with quite a bit of hype once again. Having arguably the most talented roster in the MAAC, the Red Foxes turned heads by taking eventual semifinalist Rutgers to the wire in a 13-10 loss to open the season. However, an injury to Jamison Embury in that game would play a part in altering the Red Foxes’ season, especially in non-conference play.

After a 1-1 start, Marist went on to lose five consecutive games, including its MAAC opener against St. Bonaventure. During that stretch a myriad of injuries, impacted the Red Foxes as far as its depth and top-end talent was concerned. However, Marist would come back into form over the final month and a half of the season, ending the regular season on a 6-1 run that featured one loss to Princeton before falling to eventual MAAC champion Manhattan, 13-12, in the conference semifinals.

From last year’s team, Marist loses very little talent. And that is especially true on the offensive end, where in a defensive-heavy conference they have been the outlier in recent years. In a new-ish looking MAAC, Keegan Wilkinson’s squad is sure to be looking towards reclaiming themselves as the kings of the conference, just as they did way back in 2019 when many of the Red Foxes’ fifth-year returnees were freshmen.

Burning Questions

Who Gets The Starting Nod in Goal?

Anthony Novellano came in as a first time starter in the Red Foxes’ opener against Rutgers last season and put the lacrosse world on notice, making 21 saves with a 61.8% percentage. He went on to make 182 saves on the year and boast a 52.4% save percentage. He ranked fourth in the MAAC and 31st nationally in save percentage.

With Novellano having graduated, Marist finds themselves with, once again, in a situation where they must fill the hole in between the pipes. It’ll mark the third consecutive season with a different starting goalie for the Red Foxes.

Of the four goalies on the roster, junior Logan Covey has the most starting experience and name cache. During the shortened 2021 season, Covey started all four games and earned First-Team All-MAAC honors with 49 saves and a 54% save percentage. Sophomore Noble Smith and senior Daniel O’Meara saw very limited action last spring. Sophomore Bryant O’Donnell saw no playing time in 2022.

What to Expect From The Rope Unit?

In a league that is typically defined in most years by defensive play. Marist has been somewhat of an outlier with Poughkeepsie having been home to some pretty talented and consistent offenses in recent memory. What has defined Marist on the other end of the field in recent years, other than goalie play, is its rope unit and much of that praises came due to JT Rosselle, who was the MAAC LSM of The Year last spring.

Rosselle led the team in caused turnovers with 30 and was second on the team in ground balls with 47. Electing to play his fifth and final season of college lacrosse at North Carolina, Rosselle’s presence will be duly missed by the Red Foxes. However, Marist does return two key players from that rope unit in LSM Anthony Filippetti and LSM/SSDM Keenan DeRaeve. Filippetti caused 16 turnovers and grabbed 17 ground balls as the Red Foxes’ secondary LSM while DeRaeve, a converted pole, served as the team’s top defensive midfielder. He grabbed ground balls, caused seven turnovers, and score a goal.

There is top-end production returning from the Marist rope unit last season. However, with the massive loss of Rosselle, it’ll be interesting to track not only who emerges in his spot but also how productive and impactful this group can be as a whole.

How Much Can Dylan Bedell and The Faceoff Unit Progress?

In 2020, Marist had one of the best faceoff man in the MAAC with Peyton Smith serving as the Red Foxes’ starter. Smith was the program’s primary option at the dot for the last three years of his college career and left Poughkeepsie with his name in the record books, ranking second in career faceoff win percentage (58.9%) in program history. He went 63% in 2019 and 63.8% during the shortened 2020 season.

Since Smith’s graduation, Marist has seen sub-50% marks among its tops options and the team as a whole at the dot. But there has been growth. In 2021, Andrew Evans went 43-107 (40.2%)as the top option in the four games Marist played. This past season, 2022, freshman Dylan Bedell stepped into the fray as the Red Foxes’ top option at the dot and went 154-322 (47.8%) and earned MAAC All-Rookie honors.

Bedell, as well as backups John Kelly and Matt Fermo, are back this spring. After seeing improvement last season, this unit will be looking to march forward even more in 2023.

Potential Breakout Player

Joshua Balcarcel, Attack, Junior

As a sophomore last spring, Balcarcel played in all 15 games and started each of the final three at attack. He ended the season with seven goals and two assists for nine points. That performance included a two-goal game against Manhattan in the MAAC semifinals. More of that production could be seen out of Balcarcel throughout next season.

Freshman Class

Marist brings in a six-man freshman class that is very offensive heavy.

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