With the 2015 MLL season starting this weekend, the teams have announced their final 25 man rosters. Unfortunately, 19 of the 25 listed will only be allowed to dress.
For the first time since the start of his career in 2011, Adam Ghitelman will not start between the pipes for Charlotte, nor will he dawn a Hounds uniform. Other top players in the league that are unable to put on the blue and gold are attackman, Garrett Thul (Army), who is currently serving our military, LSM, Mason Poli (Bryant), who was placed on the MLL Inactive list, and midfielder, Mike Chanenchuk (Maryland) is on the PUP list. Coach Mike Cerino can only anxiously await the return of Chanenchuk and Poli to the lineup this season.
Goalies: Last year, they started with Mike Gabel in net due to Ghitelmans coaching duties. Now, Charlotte has three goalies on their 25-man roster in Pierce Bassett (johns Hopkins), Jack Runkel (Loyola) and Sean Aaron (Union). Bassett earned three starts in 2014 before Ghitelman returned. With both of them no longer on the team, the trio will have to battle it out if they want the starting position.
Attack: Josh Dionne (Duke), Mike Sawyer (Loyola), Billy Ward (Syracuse), Justin Ward (Loyola). Sawyer has been dominant for Charlotte, even when running from the box. With Danowski gone from the start, he will be the top guy down low. Fellow Greyhound, Justin Ward, stepped on the MLL field and blew his team away. In only 10 games, Ward finished the season leading Charlotte in points and he will look to do the same going into 2015. Dionne and Billy Ward will look to fill that third spot. Ward had the 2OT winner vs UNC in 2014 and showed that he can bring it from outside. Dionne didn’t see time last year as he remains don the Collegiate Inactive list throughout the season due to his torn ACL. However, he was one of the top attackmen in the NCAA during his career and hopefully had a successful and full recovery form his injury and can make the impact for Charlotte that they want.
Midfield: Thomas DeNapoli (Towson), Greg Edmonds (Johns Hopkins), John Haus (Maryland), Terry Kimener (UMBC), Jake Tripucka (Duke), Alex Zomerfeld (Bryant). Haus and Tripucka led the way for the Hounds at the midfield, combining for 43 points. DeNapoli didn’t explode on to the scene last year as hoped but he did tally some points and it’s hopeful that he will make a bigger impact going into 2015. Kimener comes over from Denver for FOGO Snider. Terry comes in as the veteran midfielder, replacing the presence of Peet Poillon that was lost last season. Edmonds was picked up out of the player pool and Zomerfeld selected in the supplemental draft. Both will have the chance to make an impact for the Hounds this season.
SSDM: Casey Cittadino (Towson/Team Israel), Kevin Drew (Syracuse), Josh Hawkins (Loyola), Pat Laconi (Loyola). With a defensive midfield lineup like this, you know they’re going to be tough. Hawkins and Laconi join forces for another season together. Drew has a full season with Charlotte under his belt and will be an even bigger threat after he gained the All-Star label a year ago. Citation played for Team Israel in the FIL World Games last summer and did not see much time with the Hounds. After the run Israel made at the FIL’s, Casey should be fired up and ready to go with Charlotte.
FOGO: Brendan Fowler (Duke), JP Dalton (Loyola). Two NCAA National Champions at the face-off X for the Hounds this year. Unfortunately, Dalton hasn’t seen any action at the MLL level yet. Fowler went 40.3 percent last year in place of the absent Geoff Snider. Fowler will most likely gain the label as the main guy at the X for Charlotte, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dalton step in and take some draws early in the season for the coaching staff to get a feel for each player.
Defense: Joe Cinosky (Maryland), Mike Ehrhardt (Maryland), Ryan Flanagan (North Carolina), Henry Lobb (Duke), Steve Meagher (Robert Morris), Brett Schmidt (Maryland). Talk about an ACC defense! Three Maryland grads, plus North Carolina and Duke. Not to mention a very fierce defender from Robert Morris. This defense will be tough to go up against as all these players have made a name for themselves throughout their careers. With veteran leadership in Cinosky, Schmidt and Flanagan, the younger defenders will have a lot to learn from and work with going into 2015.
College In-Actives: With the NCAA season going in full motion, Coach Cerino and the Hounds can’t wait to get their drafted players on to the field. Offensively, they bring in Joey Sankey (North Carolina), Kip Orbin (Princeton), Tyler German (Virginia), and Ryan Belka (Drexel). On the defensive end, joining the highly touted defensive middies is Duke’s Will Haus, who is a huge threat in transition. They also bring in Johns Hopkins defender, John Kelly. Oh, and they add another incredible FOGO, who you may have heard of, in Kevin Massa (Bryant).
After making the championship game two years ago, the Hounds fell to a 4-10 overall record in 2014. Can Charlotte bounce back from a deflating season? We will see this weekend as they take on the runner-ups in 2014, Rochester Rattlers in a 1pmshowdown on Sunday, April 12, at home.