2011 Kennesaw State University Lacrosse Preview

January 26, 2011

The Kennesaw State University Owls are looking forward to another exciting season on the lacrosse field in 2011. Last season the Owls fell short by two goals in the Southeastern Lacrosse Championship game 12 - 10 to Elon College. During the preseason, the Owls have been ranked #11 in two different national polls. A strong foundation has been established during the past five seasons in preparation for this year's KSU squad. A lot of talent graduated last year and there will be many new faces on this year's team. A number of strong returning veterans, quality freshman recruits, three out of conference MCLA games, and a trip to Florida give this year's team a lot to look forward to. Even after last year's loss in the SELC Championship game possibilities existed that KSU could earn a spot in the Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association National Tournament held in Denver, Colorado. In the end however, things did not work out in the Owls favor, as the selection committee did not choose them. 2011 has the Kennesaw State University Owls believing that they have to "win it to be in it." The Owls anticipate competing hard in each and every contest as they have in past seasons. The work and effort needs to be put forth and the chance at winning the championship is well with the Owls reach this year.

The Kennesaw State University defensive corps will be challenged this season. They are expected to overcome and play sound defense after the dust settles in 2011. The team lost some key players to graduation and academic issues but will put forth their best possible effort. One returning standout is MCLA All American Tom Mudrak. He is considered one of the best defenders in the SELC. KSU has five goalkeepers on the roster. Returning goalies Noah Rosenblum and Kyle Hansen will battle for time against two transfer players, Andrew Flood and Mike Grazanti. Anthony Tsirigos is a steady backup. The starting close defense will use a rotation with Mudrak, Tyler Schrampfer, Rory Keown, and James Faucette. Playing long stick midfield for the Owls will be Kyle Teasdale and Spencer Heitt. Short stick midfielder Justin Griffith returns after leading the team in ground balls last season. This defensive unit will keep the Owls in every game and make it very difficult for opponents to score goals this season.

The Owls midfield looks stronger and should be more productive in 2011 than in seasons past. The Owls depth and scoring ability have improved from the experience earned last season. The Owls first group of midfielders will have SELC All Leaguer Isom White teamed with Justin McKay and freshman Keith Bassett. The second unit will place Casey Newton, Richie Greenbush and Anthony Winters together. The third line looks to be led by senior Jon Slutzky, Keith Lamb and newcomer William de Keyzer. Positions will change as each midfielder finds his role on this year's squad. Jack East, Taylor Gipson, Justin Isbrecht, Robert Manton and Walter Mertins will challenge each other for playing time. The large number of midfielders that are on the KSU roster is a luxury for the Owls going into the 2011 season.

In 2011, the spotlight is again on Scott Schulze. He was chosen as a 2009 and 2010 MCLA All-American. He was voted 2009 "Offensive Player of the Year" by SELC coaches. He is a national leader in goals and assists every year. KSU will start Brad Jones and Andrew Congleton to complement Schulze. The team is expecting both players to create opportunities and score goals in 2011. Eric Wells, Bryce Mazor, and Kyle Foster are all in the mix and will add the needed depth to the offense. Accurate shooting will be the key for the Owls offense to be successful. Scoring goals has never been a problem for KSU in the past and hopefully this holds true this season as well!

KSU Coach Ken Byers has built the Owls into a nationally recognized lacrosse program. The Owls finished 2010 ranked in the Top 20 for a second consecutive season. Preseason polls have high aspirations for this year's squad. US Lacrosse awarded the Jim "Ace" Adams Sportsmanship Award to the Owls in 2010. This award is given to deserving programs that demonstrate the highest level of sportsmanship and class on and off the field. The Owls continue to receive support from the KSU administration in both their academic and athletic careers. The team is proud to call "Owls Nest" facilities home. The Kennesaw State lacrosse program is based on a "student first, athlete second" philosophy and teammates help each other towards academic success during their required study hours. Coach Byers adds, "Folks know about us, we cannot be content with last season's effort, we need to compete and win this thing." This season the Kennesaw State University Owl Lacrosse Club is ready to "win it to be in it."

The 2011 season is expected to be another exciting lacrosse season for the highflying KSU lacrosse Owls. Come out and cheer them on!