s UConn Men's Lacrosse: Connecticut Huskies Gear to Improve on Last Year's Season

This article originally appeared at Pioneerlacrosse.com

As the 2003 spring season of the UCONN men's lacrosse team fast approaches, the team is gearing up to improve on last year's season. The 2002 season brought the team much success, going 12-7 overall, however Coach Davis feels there is much room for improvement. The team was dominant on the defensive side all year, allowing a stingy 6.0 GA per game, yet only could manage to score 8.3 GF per game.

"The games were just too close. The offense would allow less talented teams to hang in the game. We relied way too much on our defense," explained Coach Davis. "This year, we must put teams away fast."

This year, Connecticut has reduced the number of games it will play, but raised the caliber. The team will travel south to Atlanta during Spring Break. On the road, the team will face some great competition, including 25th ranked Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, and then finishing up at 10th ranked Virginia Tech. These teams are deep in their roster lines and very fast, so they look to give UConn a high level of competition to step up to in the first week of play for the team.

From then, the team should be game hardened and ready for the Pioneer League regular season. UConn will face the likes of Boston College, Stonehill College, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, University of Boston University, and many more. The team will play 14 regular season games.

The three games Coach Davis has circled on the calendar are Bridgewater State College, University of Rhode Island, and the University of New Hampshire. Each of these teams beat UConn last year, including a loss to UNH in the Pioneer League Championships.

"To get to St. Louis, we are going to have to get by these teams," says Davis. "This year, I believe we have the means to do it."

The defense is as strong, if not stronger then ever. With returning goalies Nick Borden and John Palazzo backed by two more promising freshman goalies, the goal will not be a problem. The team suffered a big loss with the graduation of Captain Jack Pirina on defense, however Captains Jon Dahlquist and Sean Manley are back to anchor the defense. Coach Davis expects great things from his freshman defense crop as well, including Paul Boyd, Matt Brady, and Pat Higgins.

The midfield was devastated by the graduation of Captain Chris Sidwa. Sidwa was not only the leading scorer of the team, but he was the leader of the offense. Captain Dave Salemme needs to step up huge this year, and needs help from other veterans Jeff Anderson, Ryan Gardrvits, and Scott Copertino. UConn got a great freshman crop of middies this year as well. Coach Davis will be looking for immediate contributions from Jake Gerson, George Rivera, and Keith Amann.

The majority of the scoring will come from the attack this year. With John Bonetti abroad this year, the attack opens up for some new blood to step in.

"Right now, the team does not have a starting attack," explains Davis. "We will see in the preseason who deserves the starting roles."

Overall, UConn is looking to have a great season. With some work, the team will qualify for the Pioneer League Playoffs, and hopefully win a trip to St. Louis to compete for the national title.

For more information, contact Head Coach, Tim Davis at timothy.davis@uconn.edu.

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