RANDOLPH, NJ- The Randolph boys’ lacrosse team will have plenty of experience in the offensive end of the field in 2017, where they hope to benefit from the luxury of returning four of their top five scorers from last season.
Graduating one of the most decorated and prolific scorers in program history ( Jake Southren ) would be a big setback for many teams, however the Rams return plenty of firepower in the likes of Luc Swedlund, Max Pinillis, and Matt Holland to provide scoring punch.
“We understand losing Jake leaves big shoes to fill,” said Captain and last years’ leading scorer Luc Swedlund.” “Rather than one of us take the role, we are going to focus on playing as a group on offense as much as possible. We are learning that if we move the ball effectively we will be able to find easy goals.”
Southren is the only key cog not returning to the Attack corps this season, meaning the Rams will have a wealth of experience to draw upon at that position.
“We have more veteran players on offense this year,” said coach John Naslonski when asked about his teams’ biggest strength. “Our defense is younger, but so far they are doing very well.”
Goalie Scott Kimiecik returns to the cage to anchor the defense, having logged the majority of the minutes in 2016 while posting an 8-5 record and making 111 saves.
“We expect big things from Scott this year,” said Naslonski. “We do have the luxury of having two quality goalies in Scott and Sam Wanatick. They are constantly pushing each other which makes them both better each day.”
The Rams will look for Kimiecik to be a vocal leader on defense.
“My role is to talk to them as much as possible, and coach them through situations they haven't necessarily seen yet,” said Kimiecik when asked about the young core in front of him. “I am looking for sophomore defender Jack Greco, and Defensive-middie Tony Fodali to step up and take charge.”
Juniors Ben Gellert and Dean Cobiabchi, along with senior Dylan Minihane will round out the defense.
The roster also lost some valuable players up the middle, where multi-year Varsity starters such as Brian Gleeson ( midfield ) and Wyatt Todd ( Long Stick Middie ) have also been lost to graduation. Senior captain Matt Potter will be the veteran leader of this years’ midfield group, where he will team with newcomers Dom Scali (attack / midfield ) Fodali, who is also a captain, and Sebastian Cross.
Swedlund referred to Scali as the Swiss Army Man, stating, “He does it all... attack, midfield, defensive-middie; and is one of the hardest workers out there.”
Pinillis, who enjoyed a dynamite freshman season at attack but played mostly midfield last season, has proven he can be a major force for the Rams at either position. The versatile junior was also selected as a team Captain, and looks to be a key component on the field as well as a leader off it.
“We have a couple guys who are stepping up big for us in pre season, including Dean Cobianchi at LSM ( Long Stick Middie ) and sophomore Andrew Dickson,” said Swedlund. “Tony Fodali is taking the role of Brian Gleeson, he does everything out there, faceoffs, short stick middie, even clearing.”
The 2016 team finished 12-8 under third year head coach John Naslonski, posting 210 goals, the highest season total in over 7 years. Naslonski described his squad as having “Good team unity and good leadership.” With the weapons in place for 2017, the Rams are primed to improve upon that and reach new heights this season.
The boys opened their season with a 9-5 victory over Morris Knolls on Wednesday Mar. 29.
Dom Scali started the season out with a bang, finishing with five points on three goals and two assists, while Max Pinilis added two goals and two assists. Swedlund added two goals, and Matt Holland picked up one goal and two assists for the Rams, who face Morristown Beard next on Friday Mar. 31, home at 4 p.m.