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Brockport men’s lacrosse prepares to bounce back


Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 11:10


File photo, spring 2012

Junior midfielder Riley Austin will return to play for the men’s lacrosse team in its 2013 season. Austin was a top scorer for the Golden Eagles in 2012, which Brockport finished 5-10 overall and 1-5 in the SUNYAC.

The 2013 College at Brockport men’s lacrosse team is looking to put a tough 2012 season behind it as it prepares for its season opener against Alfred University Saturday, March 2.

For the Golden Eagles, the 2012 season was full of ups and downs. They finished with a 5-10 record overall and a 1-5 record in the SUNYAC, which tied them for last in the standings with Potsdam.

Looking back on last season, Head Coach Ben Wineburg noted three changes that needed to be made in order to improve in 2013.

“First, we need to have better goaltending,” Wineburg said. “Second, we need to have better success at faceoffs. The third thing was putting together a better coaching staff and we know we did that.”

Wineburg hired former Brockport High School men’s lacrosse coach Jon VanHuben to the staff as an assistant coach. He said he already notices a major difference with the team.

“Jon is better with the guys,” Wineburg said. “The kids respond better to him.  That’s the No. 1 thing — guys are having a good time playing for him.”

With only a few days left until the season opener, Wineburg said he hasn’t decided who his starting goalie will be just yet. Seniors Cory Banwaree, who started all 15 games for Brockport in 2012, will compete with fellow senior D.J. Eckert and sophomore Shane Hutchins to see who will get the starting position.

There is also competition at attack and midfielder to see who will replace the departure of four out of the top eight scorers from last year. The team’s third-leading scorer from 2012, Brendon Rothfuss, decided to stick with hockey instead of playing both sports, while Matt Andon-Mclane, Nate Thomas and Brad Weber all graduated.

“Brad Weber and Nate Thomas are two kids that were great for the program and great for the college,” Wineburg said. “Matt Andon-Mclane was another senior that did a lot of scoring for us.  He’ll be tough to replace but I think Brad and Nate are the biggest losses for us.”

Brockport does return its top two scorers in senior attacker Jesse Elliot and junior midfielder Riley Austin. They will be given the opportunity to lead the team, as Wineburg said he’s going to give his freshmen some time to develop.

“There are a couple [freshmen] that will have potential to get some playing time, but they’re still a little bit away from getting on the field,” Wineburg said. “We’re going to be able to allow our juniors, seniors and sophomores to carry the team.”

One of those seniors looking to step up is midfielder Zach Malecki.

“Personally, I’d like to improve my offensive numbers,” Malecki said. “I’ve come up short each of my first three seasons here and I take a lot of responsibility for our shortcomings. Hopefully if I can turn my own game around, the other guys on the squad can elevate theirs as well.”

Banwaree is also looking to step up his game as this will be his last season in collegiate sports.

“I simply want to reach the conference finals and have a winning season,” Banwaree said.  “I have been playing this game for 13 straight seasons and I want to leave here feeling content and satisfied.”

For Malecki, he said anything less than a SUNYAC berth will be seen as a disappointment.

“We’ve only done it once and we’re not just satisfied with squeaking into the fourth spot,” Malecki said. “The other seniors and I are working hard to achieve a 10-win season. I think anything less than that can be viewed as a missed opportunity for the group that’s graduating this year.”

To help further prepare for the season, the team has been training hard since the fall semester. Malecki said he has already seen positive results.

“Guys have been in the weight room and on the wall improving our sticks in groups everyday,” Malecki said. “Each of the 40 of us is stronger and faster than we were during fall practices.”

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