Feb. 21, 2003
Following a second place finish in the Ivy standings and a 7-7 overall record, the 2003 Brown lacrosse team is poised to challenge for the Ivy title and a berth in the NCAA Championship. The Bears, who will open their 55th season of intercollegiate lacrosse, have shown steady progress under third-year head coach Scott Nelson, who is optimistic about the 2003 season with the return of Brown's top scorer from a year ago, senior Jon Thompson, and an All-American goalie, Mike Levin.
"Our program has made steady improvement in each of our first two years and our players recognize what we have to do to earn an NCAA Playoff berth," said Nelson. "We have improved tremendously from a defensive standpoint, and we have a strong nucleus on the offensive side to put us in the hunt for the Ivy title. Our schedule is ranked as one of toughest in the nation with10 of our opponents ranked in the Top 25 nationally."
Thompson headlines the Bears' attack after earning All-New England and second team All-Ivy honors last season. He led the Bears in scoring with 40 points, netting 28 goals and 12 assists. A dynamic dodger, Thompson scored four goals against both Princeton and Hartford, and netted three goals on three different occasions.
"Jon is a tough player and a great leader," said Nelson. "His game continues to improve due to a great effort every day. He's a lot of fun to work with."
Junior Brian Miller also returns to the Bears' attack after a solid season where he registered 24 points, scoring 17 goals and 7 assists. Brown's fourth leading scorer a year ago, Miller netted three goals against Hartford.
Also returning on the Bears' attack is junior Charles Towers (1 goal, 1 assist), the winner of the Tepper Award as Brown's most improved player, sophomore James Hahn (1 goal), and sophomore Chris Mucciolo, who scored 9 goals and 2 assists in 2001, and returns after sitting out last season.
Nelson will look to rebuild the midfield, with sophomore Chazz Woodson leading the way. Woodson displayed exceptional speed last year, and is expected to be a major contributor. He registered 7 goals, including two against Princeton, and handed out 3 assists for last season's squad.
Junior Richard Tuohey, sophomore Britton Derkac, and senior Matt Winkler will look to play key roles in this year's midfield. Tuohey earned several starts for the Bears, scoring 1 goal and handing out 6 assists. Derkac (1 goal, 2 assists), last year's Vincent Marinelli Award winner as Brown's top freshman, and Winkler (1 assist) saw considerable playing time. Also returning to the Bears' midfield are juniors Rick Whelan and John Urquhart, and sophomores Christian O'Mara, Kirk Teatom (23 groundballs), Tony Frick, Shane Wilkerson, and George Bassett.
Seven freshmen will be challenging for time in the midfield, including Rory Hyland, Kyle Wailes, who honed his skills in Canada, Grant Derkac, who will join his brother, Britton, as a middy, Ben Donoghue, Will McGettigan, Tom Pitcher, and Jordan Pryor.
The Bears are strong and experienced in goal with Levin, senior Alex Schultes and sophomore Nick Gentilesco all capable of defending the crease. Levin had a breakout season in 2002, earning honorable mention All-American honors as well as being a first team All-Ivy and All-New England selection. He turned in an outstanding performance against Syracuse, making 18 saves, including one in overtime. Levin also had a 20 save performance in a 9-8 overtime win over Cornell. Overall, Levin posted a 9.38 goals against average and .602 save percentage. Both Schultes and Gentilesco saw action in two games last season, and provide a strong presence in the Brown goal.
"Mike Levin is one of the nation's best," said Nelson. "He's quick and athletic, good in the crease and out, makes the big save, and gets the break going. Schultes and Gentilesco are excellent goaltenders, who give us one of the deepest goalie groups in the nation."
Coach Nelson also returns seniors Chris O'Brien and Josh Paster to lead the defensive effort. O'Brien a strong, close defenseman, picked-up 38 groundballs, fourth best on last year's team. Sophomore Dan Spinosa was also a solid first-year player, registering 40 groundballs for the Bears.
Sophomores Bryan Bennett and Matt Willse will all look to break into the starting defensive lineup. Senior Michael Fiorvanti is expected to see valuable time at defensive middie. In addition, Nelson has added four freshmen to bolster the defense, including high school All-American Robert Cotter, James Faello, an All-County selection from Manhasset High School, All-Nassau County selection Chris Kearney, and Ryan Seidman, an All-Baltimore County selection.
Taking face-offs for the Bears will be senior Matt Winkler and sophomore Kirk Teatom. Winkler, who also plays in the midfield, captured 71 of 165 attempts last season. Teatom won 84 of 151 attempts in 2002, and was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week after capturing 11 of 14 face-offs (.786 percentage) and picking up a game high seven groundballs in the Bears' win over Dartmouth.