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Athletics

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Men's Lacrosse

Overview

After playing in the NESCAC championship quarterfinals their first two years in the conference, the Hamilton College men's lacrosse team aims to take the next step and advance to the semifinals in 2014. NESCAC all-conference midfielder Bryan Hopper '14 and defenseman Dylan Lahey '15 return to lead the team this year. John Zimmerman '15 ranked fifth in assists (21) and 15th in points (37) in the conference in 2013. Meanwhile, Will Driscoll '15 ranked third in the NESCAC with a 7.50 goals against average and .597 save percentage and was fifth with 151 saves. Mike Fiacco '13 -- another all-conference defenseman who played in the U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Division III Senior North-South Game -- graduated and will be missed. Hopper and Chad Berger '14 are the 2014 team captains.

The NESCAC is one of the top athletic conferences in NCAA Division III, and men's lacrosse is no exception. The 2013 conference champ reached the national quarterfinals last year, and four NESCAC teams played in the 2012 NCAA championship and one advanced to the semifinals. The NESCAC boasts four NCAA titles and four national runner-up finishes in men's lacrosse. The conference tournament champion receives an automatic bid to the NCAA championship.

Hamilton plays its home games at Steuben Field on the site's artificial grass surface, which was installed in 2009. The Continentals open the 2014 home schedule against Wesleyan University on March 1. Other NESCAC home games include Bowdoin College (March 15), Bates College (March 29), Middlebury College (April 2) and Senior Day against Tufts University on April 5.

Defense was Hamilton's strength in 2013 when the Continentals ranked second in the NESCAC with a 7.44 goals against average and 85.7 percent penalty-killing percentage and ended up third with a .600 save percentage. Hamilton finished with an overall record of 9-6 and tied for fifth place in the conference standings at 5-5. The Continentals went 5-1 at home and 2-2 against ranked teams. The season ended with an 8-6 setback at second-seeded Connecticut College in the NESCAC championship quarterfinals.

The first year in the NESCAC was a good one for Hamilton. The Continentals advanced to the 2012 NESCAC quarterfinals and ended up 9-6 overall with half of those six losses coming by one goal. Jon Leanos '12 was voted the NESCAC player of the year and selected a first team All-American by the USILA. Luke Sadoff '12 was named to the all-conference second team and he and Leanos played in the USILA Senior North-South Game. Hamilton won eight out of its last nine regular season games and defeated two ranked opponents.

The Class of 2012 won 33 games at Hamilton. Leanos finished fourth all-time with 179 points and tied for fourth place with 92 assists. Henry Burchenal '12 ended up third with 106 career goals, and Max Vaickus '12 made 473 saves in his career to land in fourth place on the program's all-time list. Paul Citarella '12 won 339 faceoffs, Sadoff scored 50 goals and Garrett Akie '12 owns the team's record for lowest goals against average in a season.

The Continentals ended 2011 with four straight wins, including a 9-8 upset of nationally ranked No. 11 Skidmore College, and finished the season with a record of 11-3. The 11 wins were the most for the team since 2006, and they went 7-1 at home. Defense led the way for Hamilton in 2011. The Continentals posted a 6.21 goals against average and a penalty kill percentage of 82.9 percent. Hamilton practiced at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill during spring break.

Hamilton enjoyed plenty of success in the Liberty League from 1996 to 2011. The Continentals ran off six straight winning seasons starting in 2001 and made appearances in the league's postseason tournament in 2003, 2004 and 2006. Hamilton won the 2003 league title with a 4-1 win against Skidmore and earned a bid to the program's first NCAA championship. Hamilton posted a record of 10-4 in 2010 and the team was an impressive 7-1 away from home.

2003 was a watershed season for the program. Hamilton won a team-record 15 games and two players earned All-America honors. The Continentals won their first league title and advanced to the NCAA championship for the first time. Hamilton prevailed 11-10 at home in sudden-victory overtime against Eastern Connecticut State University in an NCAA first round game. The Continentals took on national powerhouse SUNY Cortland in the quarterfinals and lost by one goal.

The program was created in 1949 and Hamilton has won more than 300 games since then. Legendary coach Manfred von Schiller guided the Continentals to 184 of those victories from 1960 to 1996. He is ranked in the top 25 on the all-time wins list for men's lacrosse coaches. Hamilton made three trips to the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) championship under von Schiller. The Continentals made their first postseason appearance in 1975 when Hamilton posted a 9-4 record and played in the ECAC championship. The 1982 and 1983 teams combined to win 24 of 27 games. The Continentals made the ECAC championship and finished with a record of 10-3 in 1988.

Six players have received eight All-America honors since 2002. Attackman Jack Newton '06 scored 108 goals from 2003 to 2006 and was an All-American after his senior year. Long-stick midfielder Andy Laskowski '04 and attackman Matt Silverio '03 garnered two All-America awards apiece. Silverio finished his career as the program's all-time leader in goals (219) and points (281). He was drafted to play in a professional lacrosse league after graduation. Gary Mahood and Don Kepler, Jr. were the program's first two All-Americans in 1962 and 1963, respectively.

Six student-athletes earned a spot on the 2013 NESCAC Spring All-Academic Team. Each NESCAC all-academic team honoree has a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.35 and must have reached sophomore academic standing at his institution. Fiacco made the USILA Scholar All-America Team after his senior season in 2013. Corbin Brown '11 formed Hamilton Against Hunger, which donates food not used by campus dining halls to a shelter in Utica.