Seventeen seniors return with a single mission – taking MSJ to the MIAA A playoffs

by Nelson Coffin
COACH: Stephen Berger, 24-30.
TOP RETURNERS: Griffin Corbett (Sr., M, Jacksonville); Kyle Decrispino (Sr. A, Drexel); Kyle Botsford (Sr., G, RPI); Brendan Baeck (Sr., M, York); Eben Ordakowski (Sr., M York); Brennan Banks (Sr., M, Florida Tech).
KEY LOSSES: Alex Pupshis (Lynchburg), Sam Monaco (Coast Guard).
TOP NEWCOMERS: Brett Callahan, Soph., M; Cole Trippett, Jr., M; Zach Rozgonyi, Soph., M.
OUTLOOK: Despite winning only 15 games against MIAA A Conference opponents in the last decade, the Gaels are supplying a number of reasons why this season could be different.
First, Berger returns 17 seniors who have been through some hard times and are seeking better results this spring.
Three of them will start on defense — Hayden Toth, Will Targonski and Kyle Lacey — with junior Wesley Chairs to protect Botsford in the goal.
Botsford began the season with a 16-save performance in a 14-5 loss to St. John’s (D.C.) and then made 17 stops in a 12-6 triumph over Our Lady of Good Counsel.
“Having a big senior class like that really helps,” said Berger, a St. Joe alum and a six-time Major League Lacrosse All-Star after a brilliant career at Washington College.
The midfield also boasts veterans in Corbett, Baeck, Ordakowski and Banks with Callahan and Rozgonyi adding youthful flavor to the mix.
Faceoff specialist Trippett, Berger said, “will be a game-changer for us at the X.”
Decsripino will anchor the attack for a team that knows how competitive the conference can be.
“To a degree, you have nothing to lose as the ‘underdog,’ “ Berger said. “But you also have something to prove. We take pride in being workhorses and a lunch-pail group. We talk about working hard and doing the little things, whether it’s in the weight room, doing yoga or team building.”
Although a scheduled game against Westminster was wiped out by the snowstorm, the Gaels are slated to meet neighborhood rival Catonsville on Saturday and will host John Carroll on March 29 in the A Conference opener for both schools.