Kean’s lacrosse looking forward to 2014 season

By Gerald Lima

Men’s Preview

The Men’s Lacrosse team looked strong throughout the entire season last year, ending up with the most wins in school history with a record of 15-3, and the seventh best record in the nation.
The Cougars reached the Skyline Championship game, but came up short losing to its conference rivals Montclair University 16-7.

Head Coach Shelly Sheiner is entering his 11th season with the Cougars, and is looking forward to a very cautious optimistic season.

“My focus is preaching the defense, All- American and All- Conference middle field,” Sheiner said.

The Cougars had three All-American players last year, including Nicholas Cestaro, Richard Cheifitz, and Zach Williams. Although some seniors may be gone from last year, Sheiner will need other players to step up in bigger roles.

“Younger guys will need to step it up,” Sheiner said. “Including four sophomores, Anthony Carpenter, Anthony Perrotta, Matt Speciale, and Mike Cestaro. The key to our success is to play more minutes.”

The Cougars attack, middle, and defense all look solid according to Sheiner for this upcoming season, yet there is still concern.

“A lot of bugs to be fixed and a little bit of concern,” said Sheiner. “Seniors have been through the program already, so hopefully we can succeed from that.”

The words that Sheiner kept referring to were “cautious” and “optimistic.” He made it clear that he wants to have a good season, however he is trying to do it step by step.

“We are a unique team (with) a lot of good senior leadership among us,” Sheiner said. “We are young and old. We are a very diverse team, which can also give us an edge because we have veteran players, whom the younger players can look up to.”

Sheiner doesn’t seem to have been bothered by the weather these past days. The Cougars still have practice when they can, and still prepare, even if that means practicing outside in a half-plowed field or inside the gym.

“Preparation is huge physically and mentally,” Sheiner said. “I feel as we are all on the same boat with the weather. There is no advantage, but as a team we need to be focus and not let distractions get to us. The mentally tougher team will be the team that will be good throughout the course of the year.”

The Cougars will host their first game of the 2014 season against Castleton State College on February 22 at 2 pm.

Women’s Preview

The Women’s Lacrosse team hasn’t had a winning record in four years until last season under first time head coach Jordan Trautman. After having a record of 13-6 last season, Trautman is looking forward to another successful year.

“It was very exciting,” Trautman said. “We had a really special group of kids and this is my first head coaching job and they sort of made everything easy for me. It is a team that will always be special to me as a first time head coach.”

Senior captain Ciara Mastrodomenico is ready for another season, and has her mind on winning it all.

“We had a new head coach and it was actually a big turning point for our program. She really turned the program around,” Mastrodomenico said.

The Cougars are getting prepared for another season, and have an optimistic mindset toward its every goal.

“I’m expecting to go all the way. We are going to grind out every game and hopefully go all the way,” Mastrodomenico said.

Senior captain Julie Knodt sees a lot of potential in the team for this upcoming season as well.

“I think we can definitely win every game and every opponent we come up against,” Knodt said.

The Cougars lost some key starters last year, but according to Trautman the team looks strong and dedicated.

“I’m really excited about this season,” Trautman said. We have a good number of upper-classmen, strong players coming back as well as a lot of newcomers some coming from other sports such as soccer and basketball. We have a really high level of athleticism coming into this season.”

However, Trautman believes the most important aspect is playing well as a team.

“The best part about this team is that we are doing it together,” Trautman said. “The way we are going to be most successful is by doing it as a unit.”
The Cougars had its first full off-season under Trautman, beginning back in September.

“The kids worked their tails off this fall,” Trautman said. “Coming into this season, this is probably the best shape some of these kids have been in.”

Marisa DeAngelis and Meghan Scheneck both suffered ACL injuries last season and are working hard to get back into shape.

“We are working on things with them and giving them the reps they need,” Trautman said. “They are probable starters for us.”

The Cougars are looking stronger this season and Trautman believes this is a huge advantage for the team, giving them a competitive edge.

“I can push the kids a lot more to do things on the field,” Trautman said.

The Cougars will start off the season with an away game at Lycoming College February 26 at 3 pm.

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