The 2021 season was a season in which grad transfers and fifth-year players seemed to dominate the landscape. However, as usual, there were freshmen at every position that broke through and shined during their first season of college lacrosse.
While it has taken a bit longer for teams and conference to get their schedules together for the 2021 season due to the Coronavirus outbreak and various restrictions surrounding the virus, Schedule release schedule has finally begun!
Andy Whitley and the Bellarmine Knights got some good news on Thursday, as Southern Regional, N.J., junior defenseman Nathan Committee announced that he would be taking his talents to Louisville in a few years. The defenseman also considered Wagner and had interest from both Hartford and Fairfield.
Andy Whitley and the Bellarmine Knights picked up a commitment in the 2022 class on Friday night, as Salesianum, Del., attackman/midfielder Kaleb Russell announced that he would be taking his talents to Louisville.
Last Friday, Trinity, Ky., senior attackman Gavin Noland announced that he would be staying home and taking his talents to Bellarmine to play for Andy Whitley and the Knights. Noland’s commitment came just over a month after St. Xavier, Ky., attackman Ben Hubbs announced his commitment and joined the Knights’ 2021 recruiting class.
It was a chilly one in Louisville,Ky as the Detroit Mercy Titans defeated the Bellarmine Knights in a tight back-and-forth contest. It was a Matthew Vangalen goal that secured the win in the final seconds for the Titans.
Detroit Mercy was led by Matthew Vangalen and Brett Erskine on the offensive end. Vangalen notched 8 points (3G,A), while Erskine tallied 6 points (5G,1A) in the win. Alex Jarzembowski was the difference in this game, winning a school record 27-33 faceoffs for the Titans. In goal, Logan Shamblin made 9 saves on the day.
Bellarmine was led by Riley Seay as he tallied 7 points (5G,2A). Ian Miller tallied 4 points (2G,2A) and Blake Roshkowski had a hat trick as well. Jordan Dondoyano made 20 saves for the Knights.
This game started off quickly with Ian Miller putting the Knights on the board first. Matthew Vangalen answered just a few minutes later for the Titans to make it a 1-1 tie. A three goal run for the Knights put them up 4-1 with 3:33 in the first. Riley Seay had two goals during that three goals run. Two goals from Titans late in the first cut it to a one goal 4-3 Bellarmine lead heading into the second.
In the second it was a very back-and-forth game of runs with a lot of transition play. Bellarmine started out with two goals early to go up 5-3. Detroit Mercy answered with two inside goals to make it a one goal game. Bellarmine ended the half with a lot of energy after getting two late goals to go up 8-5 at the half.
Detroit Mercy took over in the third as they were winning in every facet of the game. The Titans were able to use their successes on the defensive end to fuel a great offense showing.
After Bellarmine got the first goal of the third, Detroit Mercy went on a three goal run to cut the Bellarmine lead to 9-8. Brett Erskine caught fire, scoring two of the three goals for the Titans during that run. Riley Seay was able to stop the bleeding for the Knights, but the Titans answered quickly.
Another three goal run for the Titans midway through the third gave Detroit Mercy their first lead of the game, going up 11-10 with 4:09 left in the third. It was Seth Mendell that got hot during that Titans run as he scored two of the three goals. Morgan Mack tied the game at 11 for Bellarmine late in the fourth.
Fans inside Owsley B. Frazier Stadium were on the edge of their seats throughout the fourth quarter with each team striking back and one another. Brett Erskine gave the Detroit Mercy the lead back 12-11 with an early fourth quarter goal.
Bellarmine gained a ton of energy midway though the fourth with a few great defensive stops and momentum changing saves from Dondoyano. Blake Roshkowski got Knights fans up and on their feet with two huge outside rips to give Bellarmine the 13-12 lead. The Titans striked back with two goals courtesy of Seth Mendell and Brett Erskine to take back the lead 14-13 with 6:35 in the fourth.
After some huge stops from both defenses the Bellarmine offense woke up with a Riley Seay goal to tie things up at 14 all with :45 in the fourth. Detroit Mercy won the faceoff and was able to get the ball inside for a Matthew Vangalen for the game winning goal with :9 on the clock. The Titans walked away with the very close 15-14 win.
Both squads will be in action next week as Detroit Mercy travels to Air Force on March 6th and Bellarmine travels to Utah on March 9th.
As the Bellarmine Knights and the Wagner Seahawks took the field on Saturday afternoon in Louisville, KY it was the beginning of a new chapter for both programs. Jim Mitchell at Bellarmine and Bill McCutcheon at Wagner were both entering their first game as a head coach.
The Wagner Seahawks came out on top in overtime of this very defensive heavy game. Goalie Matt Sefcik led the way for the Seahawks as he made 16 saves off of 22 shots on goal, including a huge one to keep the game alive in overtime. Spencer Kaufman tallied 3 goals, including the game winner, for the Seahawks.
Bellarmine saw Ian Reilly make 13 saves off of 20 shots on goal to lead the Knights defense. Attackmen Morgan Macko and Landon Trout lead the Knights offense with two goals a piece.
With a 2-0 lead heading into the second quarter the Knights looked to be somewhat in control on both sides of the field as they were penetrating Wagner’s defense and not letting their offense get any decent looks. Landon trout made it a 3-0 Bellarmine lead with 9:44 in the second.
Coming off that Knights goal the Seahawks would win the faceoff and get a quick goal by way of Dominic Branda to put them on the board. That Branda goal was the start of a three goal run for Wagner where they chewed the Bellarmine defense to make it a 3-3 game heading into the half.
The third quarter started off pretty slow on offensive side of the ball. Both defenses stood tall early on as neither offense could find the back of the net. Spencer Kaufman would finally get the Seahawks rolling with 9:55 in the third to make it a 4-3 Wagner lead. Less than a minute later Landon Trout would net his second of the day to tie it up at 4-4.
Late in the third Stephen Dwyer would find the back of the net for Wagner and Morgan Macko scored for Bellarmine to make it a 5-5 game heading into the fourth. Stephen Votto put Bellarmine back up 6-5 early on in the fourth. After a few minutes of defensive heavy lacrosse Matt Cechini found the back of the net for Wagner to tie it up at 6-6 with 9:01 in the fourth.
The fourth quarter would end with some very aggressive defensive play from both sides as the ball constantly in the middle of the field. There were some very big hits that the sidelines didn’t like, but in the end both held strong as the game headed to overtime.
Right off the bat Matt Sefcik made a huge save for Wagner to keep the game alive early on in overtime. The Knights ride prevailed as they were able to get the ball back very quickly but they could not convert. As Tim Schmidt was falling down he pulled off a pass to Stephen Kaufman who buried it past Ian Reilly for the Wagner win.
When you look up past rosters for the Bellarmine Knights Canadians fill the page and you find a few American players scattered around. Players like Dillon Ward, Shawn Evans, Kyle Sorenson, and Taylor Stuart all played at Bellarmine before moving on to being great players in the NLL.
The Bellarmine Knights were built off of Canadian imports such as those guys mentioned above, as well as others. Bellarmine actually has had the most Canadian players amongst college lacrosse teams in the NCAA, 20 of which have played or are currently playing in the NLL.
While the Knights still grab talent north of the border each year, five on the 2019 roster, another pipeline is starting to emerge as first year head coach Jim Mitchell and his staff have started to grab more and more players from Georgia.
Currently there are just two players from Georgia on the Knights 2019 roster, sophomore midfielder Trent Thomas and senior attackman/midfielder Ian Miller.
Bellarmine has eight players signed in the 2019 recruiting class. Out of those eight players two are from Atlanta area, attackman Benjamin O’Rourk and attackman Preston Rhodes. O’Rourk has been committed since 2017 and assistant coach Stephen Soriano was the main coach who recruited him. Rhodes committed this fall after Mitchell was hired at Bellarmine.
In the 2020 recruiting class Bellarmine has two players committed so far and both are from Georgia and committed back in December.
North Atlanta (GA)/LB3 – 2020 defenseman Tommy Fialkowski and Walton (GA)/Thunder LB3 – 2020 midfielder Tate Harran are the two players currently committed to Bellarmine in the 2020 class. Both players committed to Bellarmine while having reported offers or interest from schools such as Jacksonville, Richmond, North Carolina, Marquette, and others.
Since Jim Mitchell arrived at Bellarmine over the summer the Knights have gotten six combined commitments in the 2019 and 2020 classes and had only one player decommit. Eight of those six commitments came from players that are from Georgia.
One of the big things to note is that Mitchell is getting players that may have not come to Bellarmine in the past. Under the past two regimes Bellarmine was a mere afterthought for most high school players. Some players that played at Bellarmine claimed they had never even heard of the school until they got an offer.
It’s good to note that some of those players ended up being pretty darn good in a Knights uniform as well.
Mitchell is changing the recruiting landscape at Bellarmine and it seems to be paying off at the moment. I’ve seen kids tweet graphics of their commitments and there is now the hashtag #SwingYourSword that has been use in recruiting with the Knights. It’s a whole new shakeup that has more of an Ohio State, or should I say Rutgers feel as Mitchell does come over to Bellarmime after being an assistant at Rutgers.
While the number of Canadians that have played at Bellarmine will always be something Bellarmine fans can brag about, there has been a new flag planted down south in the Peach State.
As the season gets underway the recruiting usually slows down, but don’t be surprised if you see more players in the 2020 class commit to Bellarmine.