Review & preview: McDaniel

A look at the 2013 season for the Green Terror and a glimpse into 2014

June 17, 2013|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

Here is the third installment of a series that checks in with the eight Division III programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Teams are scheduled to appear according to the chronological order in which their seasons ended. Friday’s visit was with Frostburg State. Monday’s visit is with McDaniel.

REVIEW

The good: After enjoying a season in which the 2012 squad went 11-7 overall and 5-3 in the Centennial Conference to lock up the fourth seed in the league tournament, the Green Terror took a tumble this past spring, managing just a 5-11 record and a 2-6 mark in the conference which produced an eighth-place finish. The team bade farewell to a sizable senior group (more on that later), but coach Matt Hatton pointed out that he was pleased to see the emergence of a fair number of sophomores and freshmen. “We were pretty young and we were certainly younger this year than in years past,” he said. “If nothing else, I would say that it was nice to see some of the younger guys – some of our freshmen and some of our sophomores – step up into a bigger role and hopefully, we can parlay that as we move into the future and they get more battle-tested.”

… One of those aforementioned young players was freshman midfielder Jason Lawrence. The Fallston native and graduate paced the offense in both assists (20) and points (38), and his development will be critical in the program’s rebound. “I thought Jason Lawrence had a real nice year for us,” Hatton said. “He’s a freshman, and he led our team in points. Anytime you play our schedule and you’re a midfielder and you’re scoring almost 40 points, that’s pretty productive. I thought he did a nice job for us. Obviously, like most freshmen, there were times when he could have been better, but it’s a learning curve.”

… One player often overlooked by many, but not by Hatton was Ryan Gillen. The senior faceoff specialist won 57.1 percent (184-of-322) of the draws that he took and scooped up 68 ground balls. Gillen was rarely a threat to score after a faceoff win (two goals in 2013), but that did not dilute his importance to Hatton. “I felt like he gave us a lot of chances to win some games that we may or may not have won with the way things shook out,” Hatton said. “But I can tell you that if it wasn’t for him, it would have been a lot worse. So I thought he did a really nice job for us.”

The bad: Considering that the team had graduated the entire starting attack and two starting defensemen from last year’s squad, perhaps this season’s fall was not wholly unexpected. And hardly anyone could have predicted the emergence of Franklin & Marshall, which advanced to its first Centennial Conference tournament final in school history. But try telling that to Hatton, who had thought that there was still some potential for the 2013 team to make some waves in the league. “I felt like we had the talent to make a little bit of a run in our conference, but it didn’t go the way we were hoping it would go,” he said. “So we’re going to flip the page and wait for that next group to take the next step forward.”

… The offense improved by 1.3 goals per game from last season, but the defense took a step back. That unit surrendered an average of 10.2 goals, which is almost two goals more than the 8.4 average allowed by last spring’s team. Senior defenseman Alex McCoy (26 ground balls and 18 caused turnovers) headlined a unit that included a pair of sophomore defensemen in Alec Schunk (23 GB, 22 CT) and Zac Bitzer (31 GB, 8 CT) and junior goalkeeper Christian Dallmus (9.62 goals-against average and .543 save percentage), but the unit clearly suffered from the graduation of Nelson Hannahs (43 GB, 25 CT) and Nick Sicuranza (37 GB, 30 CT). “I think graduating our two best defenders from a year ago as far as flexibility of matchups hurt us a little bit,” Hatton said. “We moved some people into different positions, and some of those guys really excelled and there were some growing pains as well. We started a senior probably every game and then either a freshman and a sophomore or two sophomores at close. There were times when both sophomores played really well, and there were times when both sophomores were not so good. I think we were a little bit limited in our depth compared to two years ago. Getting those guys battle-tested with another year under their belt will hopefully help us get back and give us a better opportunity to win.”

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