With a roster filled with experience and youth head coach Jeff Cohen's 2015 edition of Clark University lacrosse is possibly poised for big things. They are coming off of the program's first-ever postseason berth in 2014 and return their top eight scorers from a season ago.
The Scarlet and White were picked tied for third in the New England Women's And Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) coaches' preseason poll which was released on Wednesday. Springfield College earned all eight first-place votes after winning both the regular season and tournament titles in 2014. Also ahead of the Cougars was Babson while they were tied with MIT and followed by Wheaton, Massachusetts Maritime, newcomer Coast Guard and Emerson.
Leader Of The Pack:
Entering his sixth season at Clark, Class of 2002 graduate Jeff Cohen has already etched his name as the best coach in program's 26-season history. He is the all-time leader in wins (33) and has won a pair of Coach of the Year Awards (2010, 2012). A former midfielder for the Cougars, Cohen still ranks tenth on the school's all-time goals scored list (64).
Turning The Page:
2014 saw Clark open up with three straight victories en route to the program's first-ever winning season. Along the way the Scarlet and White topped league rival Wheaton for the second time in the last four years and scored a season-best 22 goals in a win over Emerson in the regular season finale.
Fun While It Lasted:
Not only did the Cougars reach the postseason for the first time in school history in 2014, they set school marks for wins in a season (8), points in a season (267), goals scored (167) and assists (100).
Oh, So Close:
Clark played six games last season that were decided by one goal (2-4). They had a dramatic come-from-behind win over DeSales (10-9) in Florida and then dropped a hard-fought decision to Skidmore in the home opener (7-6). That was followed by a heartbreaking 11-10 loss to MIT to open league play and then a 12-11 overtime defeat to Plymouth State. The Cougars got back on the winning side against Wheaton in overtime (6-5) but the next time out let a late lead slip away in a 7-6 overtime loss to Babson.
Guess Who's Back:
Among the top eight goal scorers returning for Clark in 2015, four of them scored 20 goals or more. Nick Johnson (Amherst, Mass.) led the team with 30, while Rob Holden (Longmeadow, Mass.) added 29. John Goracy (Lumberton, N.J.) netted 26 and Ryan Moore (Hartford, Conn.) provided 22 of his own.
John Goracy was at his best against league competition during his freshman campaign a season ago. He led the NEWMAC in goals scored (16) against conference teams and was tied for second in man-up goals (3). In fact, he had at least two goals against five of the six teams in regular season action.
No Drop Off:
After being named the 2013 Pilgrim League Rookie of the Year following a season that saw him finish with 37 points (23 goals, 14 assists), Rob Holden had a strong sophomore campaign, finishing with 29 goals and 34 points, including four hat tricks.
Despite losing backline stalwarts Zach Duffy and Sam Johnson, the Cougars can still boast of defensive veterans Patrick Burke (New Canaan, Conn.), Nathan Donoso-Reddick (Berkley, Calif.), Bradley Paul (Manchester, Conn.) and Max Nyquist (Okemos, Mich.).