The Anderson University men's lacrosse team is scheduled to battle Trine University on Wednesday at 4 p.m. in Angola.
In the program's second season, Anderson expects to make the Heartland Collegiate Lacrosse Tournament (HCLC) Tournament and take a shot at the conference title.
"Looking at our goals for this Spring, we intend to make our conference tournament and push to win the conference championship," Coach Jacob Ashton said. "Despite being very young and only in our second season, we push to be the best, and I don't want to limit our team's abilities and say what we 'can or can't do.'"
A LOOK AT THE HCLC
Anderson is slated third in this year's HCLC preseason poll after being picked to finish fourth in the previous season. Transylvania University was picked to earn the program's sixth-consecutive conference title dating back to when Transylvania was an independent and first joined the Ohio River Lacrosse Conference in 2015. The Pioneers collected 24 points and four-first place vote. Hanover College was projected second with 21 points and the final first-place vote. Anderson came in third with 11 points and was picked to finish ahead of Mount St. Joseph University (10) and Earlham College (9), which rounds out the preseason poll.
Anderson finished 1-12 with a 0-8 conference record last season. The Ravens bring in 10 freshmen to boost Anderson's roster size to 17, offering a greater amount of talent and depth to contribute to the 2020 season.
"This year we are more well-rounded in terms of offense and defense, and I believe we are going to be quite competitive," said Ashton, who enters his second season as head coach of the Ravens. "We definitely improved in all areas in terms of our freshman class & our returning squad is showing a lot of growth. If I had to say an area we would be much more improved in, I'd say defensively we are going to see the biggest improvement from Year 1 to Year 2."
A LOOK AT THE RAVENS
Logan Lawrence returns to the Ravens after being limited to four matches last season due to injury. The sophomore attacker from Westfield tallied seven points on five goals and two assists for an average of 1.75 points per match.
"Logan had an injury-riddled campaign his freshman year, but I believe he has the potential to be an all-conference player this season at Attack. He returns as a captain, and with his leadership, I believe he will do some big things on the offensive end for us."
Tristan Wilbrandt started 12 matches for the Ravens last year. The midfielder from Fishers notched team-highs of 19 goals, 10 assists and 29 points.
Gage Jones returns to the Ravens after starting all 13 matches last year.
Eric Fisher contributed 301 minutes, 48 seconds in goal last year and saved 65-of-150 shots for a .433 save percentage. The sophomore goalkeeper from Indianapolis also collected 20 ground balls and caused six turnovers.
Josh Ekberg played and started in three matches last season. He recorded 11 ground balls and four caused turnovers to post match averages of 3.67 ground balls and 1.33 caused turnovers.
Levi Vick started in a match for Anderson last season.
RAVENS ON THE RISE
Colt Comiskey, Michael Ertel, Johnathan Havener, Davis Kessler, Grant Miller, Gavin Monaghan, Landre Stemick, Alex Warren, Cole Whatley, Seth Yunker and Kevin Zarubaiko each look to make an impact in their first seasons with the Ravens and bolster Anderson's defense.
"Defensively, we have a handful of newcomers such as defender Colt Comiskey showing leadership on the defense and long stick midfielder/defender Gavin Monaghan showing why offensive player's hate being matched up against him. We are mostly freshmen at the defensive position, but very talented."
The Ravens take on Trine, which compiled a 7-5 record during the 2019 season.
"Trine is a solid program. I know they graduated a lot of contributors on both the offensive and defensive sides, but they will be aggressive and well disciplined. Trine will be tough, but a great opportunity for our young squad to test what we are capable of."
The Ravens battle Wilmington College in a key matchup on Feb. 29 at 1 p.m. in Wilmington, Ohio. Wilmington fought past Anderson with a 16-11 victory at Macholtz Stadium last season.
"I'm looking forward to our matchup versus Wilmington again; we were very close with them last year, and it should be another competitive game."
In the conference season, Anderson is slated to take on Earlham and Mount St. Joseph in two matchups apiece. The Ravens face Earlham on March 25 and April 11. Anderson battles Mount St. Joseph on April 4 and April 22.
"Conference foes Earlham and Mount St. Joseph were two other teams we were very competitive with in Year 1 and I believe will be again this season."
KEYS FOR SUCCESS
As a program in their second season, the Ravens are emphasizing building a winning culture.
"We need to trust each other, trust the process of what building something from the ground up looks like. We earned a taste of what winning looks like last season, and it was hard. So this season, we have a lot to prove, both to ourselves and to the lacrosse world as to what Anderson University Men's Lacrosse is capable of. Our Culture is still at the forefront to our success. We are constantly preaching to our young squad, the importance of accountability, self-discipline, attitude and effort, patience; our young squad is starting to see when you act in a selfless way, guys want to work harder for each other in turn. It's been very exciting to watch them grow thus far, and success in terms of 'winning' will start to take shape."
Wednesday, Feb. 19 – Anderson vs. Trine, Angola (4 p.m.) – (Live Stats)