Fall Snapshot: Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers

(Photo Courtesy of Mount St. Mary’s 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: Tom Gravante (28th Season, 1995-Current)

Mount St. Mary’s 2022 Record: 5-10 (2-2 NEC)

Key Departures: Brendan Lantieri (A), Connor McMahon (M), Noah Daniels (SSDM)

Key Returners: Jared McMahon (A), Jake Krieger (M), Connor Beals (FO), Mitchell Dunham (D), Griffin McGinley

Transfer Additions: N/A

The Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers opened up the 2022 season with one of the best early-season upsets in college lacrosse, knocking off Navy 11-9 in Annapolis. However, despite that massive win to start the year, the Mountaineers would only grab four more before season’s end.

Mount St. Mary’s defeated Hampton and UMBC in non-conference play before taking down Sacred Heart and Wagner in NEC competition. It should also be noted that the Mountaineers also had one-goal losses to both VMI and Mercer to end its non-conference stretch.

Heading into the 2023 season, Mount St. Mary’s will be looking to push forward as it tries to get back to the postseason for the first time since 2019. And it will be doing so in a new conference as they join former NEC foes LIU, Sacred Heart, and Wagner, as well as former SoCon member VMI, in joining the MAAC.

Burning Questions

How Does The Defense Progress?

Mitchell Dunham (43GB/24CT), Jackson Phillips (18GB/6CT), and Ben Ward (29GB/11CT) were all full-time starters at close for the Mountaineers’ defense last spring for the first time. Ward was the only one of the group who came into the season with gam experience, playing in nine games and starting in two during the 2021 season.

In addition to those three aforementioned poles, Mount St. Mary’s saw goalie Griffin McGinley assume the role of full-time starter for the first time in his career, as well. He had started the first two games of the 2021 season. The same can be said about defenseman Jake Wright (28GB/7CT) as had only appeared in two games before emerging as a key pieces in that rotation of poles for the Mountaineers’ last spring. D/LSM Steven Schmitt (17GB/12CT) is the only pole who came into last season with a great deal of experience, having been a key piece at LSM since his freshman season in 2020.

Coming into the 2023 season, there are some holes on this defense and especially so at the defensive midfield spot. But with as much talent returning from last season, where this unit allowed 12 goals per game, it’ll be interesting to watch if this defense can take a step forward.

What Does The Attack Unit Look Like?

Jared McMahon (22G/10A) is back for a fifth season of college lacrosse after leading this Mountaineers’ offense a year ago. Along with McMahon returns Cormac Giblin (12G/3A), who started the first eight games of the year at attack before suffering a season-ending injury. Justin Weick (5G/10A) and Brendan Lantieri (15G/6A) each saw multiple starts at the attack spot and are both gone.

McMahon and Giblin, assuming he is 100%, gives this Mountaineers attack unit, and offense in general, a solid foundation. But who may assume that third attack spot and how productive this unit will be remains to be seen.

On its roster, Mount St. Mary’s has 10 attackmen. Half of them are freshmen: Carson Fuchs, TJ Gravante, Kevin Whitty, Jr., Jack Pilla, and Ian Plott. Of those other returners, graduate student Jeremey Wilson (1G/5A) has the most experience as he started each of the first nine games last spring.

Does The Man-Down Success Continue?

Last spring, Mount St. Mary’s was in the top half of DI in man-down defense. The Mountaineers ranked 37th nationally in the category, coming up successful on 64.9% of such opportunities (48-for-74).

With a defense with many returning faces, Mount St. Mary’s will be looking to keep that trend going in the positive direction as it concerns it’s man-down defense unit.

Potential Breakout Player

Kyle Kullen, Midfield, Junior

As a sophomore in 2022, Kullen played in 13 games and saw starts in three of those contests. In that action, he netted five goals and four assists. He also five ground balls and caused three turnovers. Kullen could be a player who sees much more production this spring.

Freshman Class

Mount St. Mary’s brings in an 18-man freshman class with its 2022 recruiting efforts.

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