BEREA, Ohio – The defending Ohio Athletic Conference champions Baldwin Wallace University men's lacrosse team aims to repeat as OAC champs. The team will take the field for the first time on February 19.
Under the direction of first year head coach Tony Tatro, the team returns 23 letterwinners, seven All-Ohio Athletic Conference players and seven Academic All-OAC players from last year's squad that won the OAC Regular Season Title with an overall record of 13-2 and a 9-0 record during conference play. The Yellow Jackets add seven newcomers who look to make an immediate impact.
The BW attack will be led by sophomore All-OAC attacker Jake Nanosky (Medina) who led the team and was second in the OAC with 39 goals, 27 assists and was third in the OAC with 66 points. Junior All-OAC attacker Kyler Byerly (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny) will look to build on his career-best season in which he scored 17 goals and added 15 assists for 32 points. He also collected 20 ground balls and caused five turnovers.
Strengthening the attack is junior Academic All-OAC Kaleb Delaney (Buffalo, N.Y./Akron) and sophomore Rhys Leach (Canton/GlenOak). Freshman Jake Schorling (Westerville/Central) will look to crack into the offensive rotation.
The midfield is ushered by junior All-OAC Jonas Aquilla (Westlake/St. Edward) who had a career-best 17 ground balls and nine turnovers. Aquilla also added a career-best one goal. Junior All-OAC and Academic All-OAC Declan Tubbs (Stow/Stow-Munroe Falls) adds to the midfield and faceoff circle with a career-best 16 ground balls and a career-best one goal and one assist. Joining the tandem will be junior Olin Ferguson (Tulsa, Okla./Booker T. Washington) who was third on the team with a career-best 15 assists, he scored a career-best 12 goals and collected a career-best nine ground balls.
The midfield will be bolstered by senior Academic All-OAC performers Nolan Connelly (Rocky River), senior Academic All-OAC John Schulte (Grosse Pointe, Mich./South) and senior Eric Bechtel (Westlake), juniors Jake Branton (Marysville) and Zach Marinello (Wooster) and sophomores John Bartolotto (Fairport, N.Y.), Noah Bartos (Lancaster, N.Y.), Hunter Boehm (Delaware/Olentangy), Niccolas Spotti (Mars, Pa.) and Keaton Trout (Pickerington/North). Freshman Gabe Hudas (Massillon/Jackson), Casey Kujawski (Farmington Hills, Mich./Orchard Lake St. Marys) and Ryan Yanssens (Lexington, S.C./River Bluff) will look to earn immediate minutes.
On the back end, the Yellow Jackets are guided by junior All-OAC and Academic All-OAC defender Neil Randall (Manhattan Beach, Calif./Palos Verde) who led the team and was second in the OAC with 24 caused turnovers, he collected a career-high 29 ground balls and scored one goal. Junior All-OAC defender Adam Blose (Butler, Pa./Butler Area) led the team with 38 ground balls and was third on the team with 15 caused turnovers.
The defense will be reinforced by senior Clay Kolke (Medina), junior Academic All-OAC Richie Roskoph (Strongsville), junior Academic All-OAC JT Schroeder (Arlington, Wash.), juniors Ethan Rutowski (Pittsburgh, Pa./Upper St. Clair) and Brian Saulsberry (Memphis, Tenn./Houston), sophomores Will Lasch (East Lansing, Mich./Lansing Catholic) and Zak Taylor (Granville). Freshmen Suri Phillips (Arnold, Md./Broadneck) and Cameron Redhead-Antoine (Baltimore, Md./St. Paul) look to play a factor on defense.
Joining Tubbs in the faceoff circle will be freshman Luke Demmerle (Strongsville).
In the cage, junior All-OAC goalkeeper Joe Storner (Louisville, Ky./St. Xavier) looks to be a wall as he was fifth in the OAC with 145 saves, third in the OAC with a .617 save percentage, and was tied for the OAC lead with 12 wins. He also collected 16 ground balls and forced one turnover. BW will look to get support from junior Zach Noll (Miamisburg) and sophomore Samuel LoPiccolo (Mason/William Mason).
The Yellow Jackets start the season on the road as they travel to Granville to take on Denison University on Saturday, February 19th on Deeds Field inside Piper Stadium at 12:00 p.m. OAC play is slated to start on March 26 as the team travels to Bexley to take on Capital University.