Fall Snapshot: Hampton Pirates

(Photo Courtesy of Hampton 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: Chazz Woodson (Second Season, 2022-Current)

Hampton 2022 Record: 0-10 (0-5 SoCon)

Key Departures: Derian Williams-Sturdivant (A), Paxtin Powell (G)

Key Returners: Miles Fawcett (A), Ian Groom (FO), Taylor Whitt (D)

Transfer Additions: N/A

Since the program’s inception in 2016, the Hampton Pirates have been building towards and grasping to become successful in the DI realm. The Pirates best season came in 2019 when they went 6-5 overall against a schedule that features just two DI opponents.

Last spring marked the beginning of a new era of Hampton lacrosse as the Pirates were led by first-year head coach Chazz Woodson and entered a conference for the first time: the SoCon. Hampton went winless last spring and failed to reach double-digits in any of its games.

Heading into year two of the Woodson era, there is still much work to be done and it will take place in a new league as the Pirates join the CAA.

Burning Questions

Who Takes Over In Cage?

Paxtin Powell took over as the starter in cage last season and made 157 saves with a 46.7% save percentage. That included a 27-save performance against VMI. Powell once again made the goalie position a bright spot for a defense that was among the bottom half of DI, just as his predecessor in between the pipes Kevin Mondy, Jr. had.

Upon Powell’s graduation, the Pirates will be looking to find a replacement in between the pipes. And that answer will come from a very young and green goalie room. Sophomores Miles Shaw and Jacob Wilkerson saw limited action as freshman last spring. The same can be said for junior Demarieh Wesley.

Can Hampton Win a DI Game?

The question that has surrounded this program since its inception is when it will win its first DI game. Through five full seasons and just one full DI slate (2022), the Pirates have been unable to grab that much coveted first DI win.

Hampton’s closest call yet came during a Monday night meeting with VMI where the Pirates fell 15-6. The Pirates led 2-0 early in the contest and trailed just 5-3 at the half and 9-5 entering the fourth quarter. A Lonnie Jones goal cut the deficit back to three with just under 13 minutes remaining. A late-game VMI run squashed any hope for a Pirates’ comeback win.

Heading into the 2023 season, it must be asked again: is this the year that Hampton takes that next great step forward and wins a DI game?

Can Hampton Hang onto The Ball?

Ian Groom has served as a very solid faceoff man for the Pirates over the course of his career, being one of the few bright spots on that roster over the past three seasons in which the Pirates have played. Last season he went 96-for-200 (48%). Adding the success of Powell on top of that, and Hampton has been able to get those extra possessions and stops needed to generate offense. However, hanging onto the ball after possessing it proved to be the Pirates’ biggest weakness last season.

Hampton was last in the nation in turnovers per game, averaging 25 a contest. Moreover, the Pirates were also last in clearing percentage as they went 67.8% on the year in the clearing game.

If Hampton wants to progress after last year’s winless season, improving its ability to possess the ball will be crucial.

Freshman Class

Per the Lacrosse Bucket Recruiting Database, Hampton brings in a 12-man freshman class as result of its 2022 recruiting efforts.

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