ROME, Ga. -- Expectations are high this season as the first-ever Berry men's lacrosse senior class looks to make a dash to the NCAA tournament. The Vikings will have their work cut out for them in the Southern Athletic Association, however, as competition is fierce.
Berry finished the 2013 season with a 13-5 record and its first winning season. The Vikings earned a share of the SAA regular season championship. BC lost in the inaugural conference title game in double-overtime. The only consolation to the game is that it would have been their last game either way, as the Berry team was not eligible for NCAA post-season play because of its recent transition.
Last season, the Vikes garnered nine All-SAA Conference Selections, and earned a share of the Southern Athletic Association Co-Championship. These are impressive feats when you consider 2013 was only the third year of the program.
The Coaching Staff
Head Coach Curtis Gilbert takes over the reins from Chris Delfausse.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity to lead these young-men into unchartered waters," said Gilbert. "Coach Delfausse left the cupboards full for me--along with a high-standard of accountability--and I look forward to sharing this 2014 season with the first ever graduating class."
Another newcomer to the program is Assistant Coach Travis Glennon. Ken Byers returns to the program again this season on the coaching staff.
Midfield Unit is Experienced
Leading the 2014 team in between the lines at the midfield are a pair of senior captains in Cal Supik (Cumming, Ga./Blessed Trinity) and Bryan Byers (Woodstock,Ga./Etowah). Other expected contributors to the midfield include: seniors Andy Kurila (Oviedo,Fla./ Paul J. Hagerty) and Nat Morey (Kennesaw, Ga./Harrison).
A promising junior class includes: Max Smerka (Hartford, Ga./Northgate), Clayton McGlasson (Nashville, Tenn./Ensworth), Michael Harper (Marietta, Ga./ Walton), Grant Phillips (Orlando, Fla./Lake Highland Prep), and Ian Gittings (Rowell,GA / Blessed Trinity). All-Conference middie Christian Akers (Roanoke, Va./Roanoke Catholic) looks to lead the BC sophomore class.
Hall Leads the Attack Group
This past fall saw a potent and effective attack unit lead by All-SAA junior Cory Hall (Suwanee, Ga./Peachtree Ridge). Hall led all Vikings in 2013 with 44 goals and 11 assists. Fellow junior Kyle Lombardi (Charlotte, N.C./Ardrey Kell), and sophomore Jake Emche (Berlin, Md./Worcester Prep) also impressed the coaches in the recent non-traditional season.
Berry Defense Will not Rest
The defensive end of the field returns senior captains Tommy Edgeworth (Suwanee, Ga./S. Forsyth), Mike Voso (Peachtree City, Ga./Starr's Mill) and All-SAA goalie Jordan Boreman (Wooster, Ohio/Wooster).
Boreman posted a 8.46 goals against averaged and a save percentage of .545 as a junior.
The junior class looks equally strong with Jack Chase (Marietta, Ga./Walton), Nate Mayer (Palm Harbor, Fla./Palm Harbor), Jake Lane (Marietta, Ga./Harrison), Patrick Towner (Roswell, Ga./Blessed Trinity), and Garrett Miller (Duluth, Ga./Peachtree Ridge). Sophomore goalkeeper Nick Voso (Peachtree City, Ga./Starr's Mill) will battle for time between the pipes.
Gilbert was impressed by the talent shown in the Freshmen class. Expected to make an impact at the offensive end are Miller Hollstein (Duluth, Ga./Peachtree Ridge) and Cody Sorrells (Acworth, Ga./Allatoona). The defense end could see contributions from James Kurila (Oviedo, Fla./Paul J. Hagerty), Cole Sommi (Knoxville, Tenn./Farragut) and Andrew Nix (Kennesaw, Ga./Kennesaw Mountain).
The 2014 Outlook
Coach Gilbert will rely on senior leadership for the team to accomplish their goals of an SAA Conference Championship, and a bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. Berry College looks to avenge their Double-OT loss against Sewanee, among other things this year.
"The SAA established itself with some great competition and play last year," said Gilbert. "I think all the coaches expect rivalries to continue to grow and the level of play to get even better."
The Vikings host non-conference opponent Huntingdon College to open the year. The game is at Ford Field on February 22nd at 1:00 pm.