Yeomen Dominate Adrian College Bulldogs in Season Opener


OC Athletics

Senior Reese Koburov scored 24 goals and collected 12 assists last year. He scored once in the Yeomen’s season-opening victory against Adrian College last Saturday and intends to continue dominating on the offensive end when Olivet College comes to Oberlin tomorrow for a 1 p.m. matchup.

In a 19–3 season-opening victory over the Adrian College Bulldogs Saturday, the men’s lacrosse team displayed the offensive weapons, impenetrable defense, and depth necessary to turn a good team into a great one.

Last spring, the team went 6–9 overall and 2–6 in North Coast Athletic Conference play, but expectations have risen. College senior and captain Steve Kelleher said he believes this might be a special year.

“I think we have a great chance to make it to the conference tournament this year,” Kelleher said. “We pretty much return our whole defense from last year, and a lot of the offensive players have been playing together for a few years. We have a lot of experience, and the new coaching staff has done a great job of getting the younger guys up to speed. I have the utmost confidence in our group, so I’m really excited for the next couple of months.”

The Yeomen got off to a strong start Saturday afternoon, with 14 different players — six of whom are first-years — finding the back of the net.

Head Coach Topher Grossman said fans can expect to see a variety of players earn points throughout the spring, rather than just one or two star players.

“I think having so many players contributing to the offense on Saturday can be attributed to the way we would like to play in general,” Grossman said. “We would like to run more players than not, so we can get the freshest legs on the field whenever possible.”

Kelleher said he credits the team’s overpowering offensive performance to camaraderie.

“I think the offense is building a lot of chemistry together, even early in the season,” Kelleher said. “We all like playing together, and that’s when we’re at our best. We don’t see ourselves as first-years, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. On the field, we’re all just teammates trying to win and score as much as we can.”

Kelleher and first-year attack Tom Decker bagged their first hat-tricks of the season. Decker also recorded three assists in his impressive collegiate debut. He said he has a lot of confidence on the field thanks to the support he receives from his teammates, especially the returners.

“I felt welcomed immediately when I stepped on campus, even before we put on our pads for the first practice,” Decker said. “[The upperclassmen] also are all people I personally look up to and have tons of respect for. As well as being welcoming, the guys on the team are great role models, mentors, and teachers. I owe much of my success to my fellow teammates, both upperclassmen and [underclassmen].”

Although the team lost its most valuable offensive weapon in Eric Hager to graduation last spring, last season’s second and third top scorers return in junior Jay Messina and senior Reese Koburov. Messina, who earned 37 points last year with 21 goals and 16 assists, picked up where he left off Saturday, scoring once and contributing three assists. As a junior, Koburov scored 24 goals, good for second best on the team, and collected 12 assists for a grand total of 36 points. He began what one would expect will be an excellent senior campaign with a goal.

Other players who scored Saturday include seniors Ian McCague, Daniel Pardee, and John Sutherland; juniors Jake Parentis and Dan Nerenhausen; and first-years Thomas Berle Carman, Alec Palmiotti, Joey Edell, Griffin Cappelletti, and Max McAllister. First-year Jack Stevens dished out three assists.

Decker said as long as everyone continues contributing and finding small ways to improve, the team should experience massive success.

“[My] first collegiate game gives me a lot of confidence in our offense, since we had a plethora of scorers,” Decker said. “As long as we run the offense and trust the process, I think we will have a high-powered offense with many talented players coming off the bench and adding depth to the roster.”

Grossman advised that opponents and fans also look out for sophomore Regan Chasney, who recorded 16 goals and started in eight games last year.

The Yeomen’s faceoff man and defense deserve just as much recognition as the offense.

McAllister, the first-year faceoff specialist, has big shoes to fill this spring, replacing three-time All-NCAC selection Kinori Rosnow. However, members of the crowd caught a glimpse of what should be a wonderful career as McAllister won 18 of 21 faceoffs last weekend. He also collected a team-high 14 ground balls.

“Max is a really good athlete and a really hard worker,” Grossman said. “Facing off can be a team game as much as it is individual, but there is no doubt that he is going to be a big piece of the equation at the faceoff [position] for us.”

The duo of Pardee and sophomore Erik Zeug is expected to hold down the defense. Pardee played in every game in his first two years at Oberlin and was featured in 14 out of 15 matchups last spring, collecting 13 ground balls and causing one turnover. Zeug played in all 15 games as a long-stick midfielder, scooping up a team second-best 37 ground balls and causing 14 turnovers, also a team second-best. Both players collected two ground balls against Adrian. Pardee and Zeug will find help throughout the season from junior midfielder Elie Small, who scooped up 23 ground balls last year and caused nine turnovers, and defender Max Scott, who collected 25 ground balls and caused 15 turnovers.

Sophomore goalie Cal Filson showed a ton of promise just a year ago — starting in all 15 matches and accumulating 145 saves — and is expected to continue improving. Against Adrian, he was challenged 20 times and made seven saves.

“Cal has certainly matured on and off the field in the off-season, but it is nice that the growth process isn’t over yet,” Grossman said. “His athleticism can help spark our transition game, which is also exciting.”

The Yeomen look to begin a winning streak when Olivet College comes to campus tomorrow for a 1 p.m. matchup.