LAKELAND, Fla. – The Florida Southern men’s lacrosse coaching staff is excited for the upcoming 2022 season in which the Moccasins will take on a 17-game regular season schedule starting this Friday, Feb. 4 on the road at Anderson. The 2022 Mocs are an experienced squad in terms of being part of the Florida Southern program for a number of years but only a handful have played a full collegiate season wearing FSC jersey due to a pair of shortened season impacted by CoVID-19.
Head coach Marty Ward believes his team has the most depth he has had since stepping foot on the Florida Southern sidelines. He believes the team has grasped the system in which his staff would like the team to play and has begun to play at the tempo both offensively and defensively that the coaches have encouraged.
Ward admitted that the past two years have given him and his staff a chance to really look at their program and really improve the way they have coached as well as communicated. Both the staff and the team are hungry for a new season and full schedule of games. The staff has really felt a sense of urgency from the team and have seen the student-athletes competing hard day in and day out to prepare for the upcoming campaign.
Matt Maccario is serving as the defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator and has done a tremendous job bringing in some talented newcomers to the program during a very difficult recruiting period. Shawn Ewert will serve as the offensive coordinator and has done a tremendous job implementing the offensive schemes.
Ward believes everyone knows the expectations for the team within the program. The Mocs are poised to put the past two years of hard work to good use as they strive to put together a championship season.
Two transfers who will look to make an immediate impact on the squad are Jay Minor and Vinh Dawkins. Minor joins the Mocs from Stevenson and will slide into a midfield role for FSC. Dawkins spent the previous two seasons at NCAA Division I St. John’s University and will play at defensive midfielder.
Ward believes the trio of Jeff Atlas, Thomas Frank and Sean Nolan up top is one of the best attacking units in all of NCAA Division II. Atlas is coming off a season in which he was named Second Team All-Sunshine State Conference while maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA in the classroom. He led the Mocs with 23 assists while also scoring 17 goals. Frank will move into a bigger role in 2022 after seeing action in three games last season and netting four goals. The final piece of the trio, Nolan, scored a team-best 20 goals last season in just eight contests. A newcomer to keep an eye on will be Brydon Robichaud, a freshman from Alberta, Canada.
In the midfield, Edward May, Minor, Andrew Medeiros and Kevin Dyer will be the upperclassmen to lead the way. May picked up Second Team All-SSC honors a season ago while scoring 15 goals and dishing out six assists. Minor joins the Mocs for the first time this season but is an experienced collegiate athlete. Medeiros, the glue that holds the midfield together according to coach Ward, saw action in six games last season with one goal and a pair of assists. Dyer has been with the program since 2017 and is the most experienced Moc on the roster. He missed last season but scored five goals and had five assists in six games in 2020. A relative newcomer who could make an early impact in the midfield could be Brendan Glasser, who was on the team last season but did not burn a year of eligibility by seeing action on the field.
Coach Ward believes he has some of the best defensive midfielders in the conference as Craig Connor, Jack Frazee, Jordan Long, Aiden Hickey and newcomer Dawkins hold down the position. Connor, Frazee and Long all saw a majority of the action in 2021 while Hickey will look to make a bigger impact in 2022 after seeing action in two games as a sophomore. Dawkins will look to slide into the lineup to help bolster the midfield.
Three athletes will look to fill the long-stick midfield role with Griffin Phillips, Cole Williams and newcomer Joey Shaughnessy all looking to make an impact in 2022. Phillips, who coach Ward mentions is a great athlete, started all eight contests for the Mocs in 2021 while maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA in the classroom. Williams, who coach mentioned is the most improved player on the roster, saw action in six games last season. Shaughnessy joins the Mocs from Port Jefferson, N.Y., and could see early playing time.
Some names to look for on the defensive end of the field include Zac Fitzgerald, Nick Shannon, Jake McDevitt, Ian Wallace and Philip Chevrette. Fitzgerald started seven of the eight games in 2021 while Shannon saw action in five games. McDevitt is a converted long-stick midfielder while Wallace started seven games on defense last season. Chevrette will look to elevate his role in 2022 after seeing action in just one game last season, a start against Rollins.
In goal, Maxwell Freestone returns after starting seven of the eight contests last season. Freestone is an outstanding goalkeeper and single-handily won games for the Mocs last season, according to coach Ward. Michael Simone has been pushing Freestone in practice and could see some action this season between the pipes.
At the face-off spot it will be Kevin Horwitz who is coming off a Second Team All-SSC selection in 2021. Coach Ward believes he can be the best face-off specialist in the SSC in 2022.
Coach Ward believes he has a very balanced team with an outstanding offensive attack along with a veteran defense that is anchored by a very experienced and talented goalkeeper. All over the field, coach Ward can turn to experienced veterans whether that be attack, midfield, defense, goalkeeping or face-off.
The 2022 schedule looks to be one of the toughest in Division II this season with a pair of roadtrips to the Carolinas to face four South Region foes, a home-and-home battle with SSC preseason favorite Tampa, defending National Champion Le Moyne visiting Berend Field and several other tough non-conference and conference contests.
The Mocs begin the season playing five of their first six games on the road. The five road games account for over half the road contests for the entire season (8). FSC will take on Anderson and Catawba on their home fields to open the season. The Mocs will then open the home portion of their schedule with a non-conference clash with SSC preseason favorite Tampa who also ended last season ranked ninth in the country. Florida Southern will then head on the bus once again for a pair of games at Belmont Abbey and Limestone. Belmont Abbey finished 2021 ranked 13th in NCAA Division II while Limestone finished one spot behind in 14th. The opening stanza ends with a road trip to in-state foe Flagler on Saturday, Feb. 26.
The Mocs spend the entire month of March at home with contests against nationally-ranked Lindenwood, Young Harris, defending National Champion Le Moyne, conference foe and nationally-ranked Lynn and concluding with nationally-ranked Frostburg State.
April begins with the final home contest in a streak of six-straight with a visit from Embry-Riddle. The Mocs then hit the road for a pair of games at Saint Leo and at nationally-ranked Tampa before returning home for a SSC game with Rollins. The Mocs final road contest takes place April 16 at Florida Tech before FSC closes out the regular season at home versus Palm Beach Atlantic on April 23.
The 2022 Mocs open the season this Friday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. on the road versus Anderson.