Thursday April 4, 2013 | By:Michael J. Petro | Sports
Dylan McDonald is St. Francis’ top returning attackman and part of a large senior class of 14 players this season.(Photo courtesy of Ron Larson)
Playing at a highly competitive level will not be a problem for St. Francis this season.
In addition to being a group that should be able to challenge many of its opponents on the scoreboard, a senior-laden team will also be an imposing group with its physical and aggressive nature.
Second-year head coach Greg VanRemmen expects that will translate into being a more winning team than last season’s 10-7 squad that was knocked out of the Monsignor Martin playoffs in the semifinals after losing to eventual champion Timon.
“Being a new coach last year and with these guys being mostly seniors, they all now know the deal and expectations,” VanRemmen said. “We’ll be a tough bunch to play against. The strength of the team will definitely be on defense but as a group, we’re also very athletic.”
Among 14 seniors, the Red Raiders return an experienced midfield which includes Brett Benzinger and Alex Misterman, who will both attend Mercyhurst next year, Scott Doser (Clarkson) and Tyler McTigue (Fredonia). Dylan McDonald, who will attend the University at Buffalo, is a key returning piece to the attack.
Tim Biddle, a returning junior, will lead the defense, along with sophomore newcomer Connor Harmon. Junior Tim Galley assumes the starting spot in net. Also new to the team is senior attackman Jared Dolegala, who will play football at Mercyhurst next year.
St. Francis’ biggest loss to graduation was leading scorer Cooper Stefaniak, who’s now playing at Division I Hobart.
In St. Francis’ first win of the year, a 15-9 defeat of Iroquois 15-9 before the spring break, Dolegala broke out with five goals, while Misterman and Benzinger each notched three tallies and McTigue and fellow senior Bradley Whitford added two.
The Red Raiders, now 1-1, will return from the break and immediately be tested with a non-league game against Western New York power and Section VI Class C defending champion Silver Creek on Wednesday, April 10.
“It’s a good chance to see how we match up against the best,” VanRemmen noted.
St. Francis will also get a chance to play some tough competition in league action as the Monsignor Martin will feature the likes of perennial-power Timon, along with improving St. Joe’s and Canisius squads.
“The league is going to be very competitive; we hope to finish better than last year,” VanRemmen said. “And you’re always looking for a championship.”