CAA MEN’S LACROSSE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Corbyn Tao-Brambleby, Robert Morris
So., A, Coquitlan, B.C./Western Reserve Academy

Tao-Brambleby, a two-time Rookie of the Week and an All-CAA Rookie squad member in 2008, logs the league’s first Player of the Week honor in 2009 after helping Robert Morris to one of its most historic wins in school history.  The attacker notched three goals and three assists in RMU’s, 12-11, overtime win over Penn State.  The sophomore helped the Colonials pull within one goal of the Nittany Lions in the third quarter then scored the game-winner in the contest’s second overtime period.  In RMU’s two games this season Tao-Brambleby leads the squad with four goals and three assists.

 

CAA MEN’S LACROSSE ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Mark Manos, Drexel

Fr., GK, West Chester, Pa./Salesianum (Del.)

Manos earned the league’s first Rookie of the Week honor in 2009 after finishing the Dragons’ first game of the season with a save percentage of .567.  The rookie suffered the loss on the road at No. 2 Virginia, but surrendered just 13 goals while stopping an additional 17 shots on goal.  Manos’ 17 saves ranks atop the league standings in saves per game, while his save percentage is third-best among all CAA goalkeepers.

 

CONFERENCE NOTES

COACHES FAVOR HOFSTRA TO REPEAT AS LEAGUE CHAMPION IN 2009:  Hofstra, which has won two of the last three CAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships, was picked to repeat in 2009 as the conference champion according to a vote conducted by all seven league coaches.  The Pride, which picked up five of the possible seven first-place votes, edged out second-place Delaware in the poll.  Hofstra, ranked No. 13 in this week’s USILA Top-20, received four more total points than Delaware in the preseason coaches poll.  The Blue Hens, who are receiving votes in the Feb. 16 Nike/Inside Lacrosse Top-20, logged two first-place votes and finished with a total of 31 points.  Drexel, one of two 2008 regular-season league champions, was picked to finish third in the conference after recording 27 points in the poll.  Towson logged 20 total points in the poll to come in fourth, while Villanova, Sacred Heart and Robert Morris rounded out the preseason vote, respectively.

DICKSON EARNS PRESEASON RECOGNITION FROM COACHES; TEN FORMER ALL-CONFERENCE HONOREES AMONG PRESEASON SQUAD:  Delaware’s Curtis Dickson, one of three Blue Hen Preseason All-Conference picks in 2009, was named the league’s 2009 Preseason Player of the Year after a First Team All-Conference performance in 2008.  The Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, native and Preseason Third Team All-American by Inside Lacrosse, scored a league-best 46 goals while also passing out 15 assists in 2008.  A total of 10 former All-Conference picks were part of the 2009 Preseason All-Conference squad including Delaware’s Dickson, Martin Cahill and Pat Dowling; Drexel’s Colin Ambler, Greg Casey, Ryan West and Matt McCormick; and Hofstra’s Jay Card, Anthony Muscarella and Steve Prifte.

CAA MEN’S LACROSSE WILL HAVE A NEW LOOK IN 2010:  The CAA will add the University of Massachusetts and The Pennsylvania State University as associate members in the sport of men’s lacrosse beginning with the 2010 season.  UMass and Penn State will join Delaware, Drexel, Hofstra and Towson to form a competitive six-team conference whose champion will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship.  A realignment of men’s lacrosse conferences nationally – spurred by the Big East Conference and Northeast Conference’s new sponsorship of the sport – led to the changes in CAA membership. Current members Sacred Heart and Robert Morris will move to the NEC and Villanova will move to the Big East following the 2009 campaign.

TEAM NOTES

DELAWARE (1-1 overall): Delaware opened the 2009 season with a 13-2 win over Saint Joseph’s, Feb. 7, but followed it with a 14-9 loss to No. 11 UMBC, Feb. 14.  The Blue Hens’ game against Saint Joseph’s on Feb. 7 was the earliest start in school history.  The Hens have now won seven-straight season openers.  Delaware head coach Bob Shillinglaw garnered his 250th career win at Delaware with the victory over St. Joe’s.  Shillinglaw is one of only eight NCAA Division I coaches who have won 250 games at one school.  Curtis Dickson scored four goals while Martin Cahill and Pat Lombard each scored two against the Hawks.  Noah Fossner made nine saves in his first college start against Saint Joseph’s.  UMBC outscored Delaware 6-0 in the opening quarter and never looked back.  Dickson matched a career-high with five goals in the loss while Fossner made 12 saves and Tommy Lee went 19-of-27 in faceoffs.  The game against UMBC was first live webcast of a Delaware men’s lacrosse home contest in school history.  Former Blue Hen standouts Brett Manney, Evan Crowther-Washburn and Tommy Scherr provided the analysis.  Delaware travels to Fairfield, Feb.  21, for a 1 p.m. game.

DREXEL (0-1 overall): Drexel dropped its season opener on the road at No. 2 Virginia, 13-7, Feb. 14.  Kevin Stockel led the way for the Dragons with a career-high three goals in the loss, while Kyle Bergman and Scott Perri each added a goal and an assist.  Making his collegiate debut in goal, CAA Rookie of the Week Mark Manos stopped 17 shots from Virginia.  Ryan West, the league’s preseason pick at the faceoff specialist position, finished the game at UVA going 7-for-10 in faceoffs.  The Dragons placed four on the 2009 Preseason All-Conference squad including junior Colin Ambler, who recorded 21 goals and 21 assists in 2008.  Junior’s Greg Casey, West and Matt McCormick also appeared on the preseason squad for Drexel.  Casey, a Second Team All-League honoree in 2008, finished his sophomore season with 13 goals and five assists. West, a 2008 First Team All-Conference honoree, finished last season 69-of-114 (.605) in faceoffs.  An Honorable Mention Preseason All-America selection by Inside Lacrosse, McCormick was a 2008 First Team All-Conference pick after playing a vital role in Drexel’s top-ranked defense (7.15 goals/game).  The Dragons will host nearby rival Penn, Feb. 21, at Vidas Field.  Opening faceoff is set for noon.
No. 13 HOFSTRA (0-0 overall): The 13th-ranked Pride will open their 61st season of men’s lacrosse, Feb. 21, when they host No. 20 Massachusetts at 1 p.m.  Saturday’s game against UMass will mark the rematch of last season’s opener for both squads.  The Minutemen posted a 10-4 victory in last season’s meeting, as Hofstra has won just three of its last 11 season openers. Favored to repeat as the CAA Men’s Lacrosse Champion, Hofstra returns all three attackers from last season, in addition to Preseason All-Conference midfielders Anthony Muscarella and Steve Prifte and Preseason All-CAA goalkeeper Danny Orlando.  Muscarella, an Inside Lacrosse Preseason Honorable Mention All-American and First Team All-CAA honoree last season, ranked eighth in the league with an average of 1.75 goals per game (28 goals) and had 14 assists on the year.  Prifte, a unanimous Preseason All-CAA selection, was a Second Team All-League pick in 2008 after logging 40 groundballs and causing eight turnovers.  Orlando, an Inside Lacrosse Preseason Honorable Mention All-America goalkeeper, finished 2008 with a 8.56 goals-against average and had a save percentage of .491.

ROBERT MORRIS (1-1 overall): Robert Morris fell in its season opener to North Carolina, 16-4, Feb. 7, but bounced back with a 12-11 win over Penn State, Feb. 14.  CAA Player of the Week Corbyn Tao-Brambleby led the way for the Colonials in their 12-11 win over the Nittany Lions.  The sophomore scored three goals and had three assists in the game -- Tao-Brambleby pulled Robert Morris to within one in the third quarter, then netted the game-winner in the contest’s second overtime period.  Patrick Smith also scored a hat-trick in the win over Penn State, while adding one assist for a four-point game and Trevor Moore added one goal and three assists to also score four points in the victory.  In RMU’s first two games, Sal Barcia has accumulated 32 saves for a .552 save percentage, while Tao-Brambleby leads the offense with four goals and three assist.  Robert Morris hosts Bellarmine, Feb. 21, at 1 p.m.

SACRED HEART (0-1 overall): The Pioneers fell in their season opener at No. 20 Massachusetts, 15-6, Feb. 14.  Timmy Katz led Sacred Heart with a hat trick in the loss to the Minutemen. Saturday’s loss marked the fifth time in the last six years the Pioneers have lost their season opener -- their only win in their last six season-openers came last season against Wagner.  Sacred Heart welcomes back nine of it Top-10 scorers from last season including Bobby Rushton, Dan Casciano, Evan Morgan and Katz.  One of the top offensive midfielders for the red and white throughout his career, Rushton scored 14 goals last year and was fourth on the team in scoring.  Casciano and Katz each scored 22 goals last year, tops on the squad.  Katz finished the season with a team-leading 37 points as he added 15 assists to go along with his goal scoring output. Morgan has an all-around game as he distributes and scores, tallying 11 goals and 12 assists last season. The Pioneers host Bryant in their home-opener, Feb. 22.  Opening faceoff is slated for 1 p.m.

TOWSON (0-0 overall):  The Tigers open their 51st season of college lacrosse, Feb. 21, when they make the short trip down Charles Street to face long-time rival Loyola College at 1 p.m.  The game at Loyola will be televised on WMAR-TV in Baltimore and ESPNU nationally.  Towson’s season-opener will mark the first of four televised appearances during the regular season for the Tigers.  Since the beginning of the 1999 season, the Tigers have played 32 televised games, and will appear on WMAR-TV and ESPNU three times this season.  The Comcast Network will also broadcast Towson’s conference battle with Drexel, March 28, which marks four total television games in 2009 for the Tigers.  Towson head coach Tony Seaman begins his 11th season as the Tigers’ leader, having compiled an 82-65 record at Towson.  Seaman  needs just four wins to reach 250 for his career, and ranks among the active Division I leaders with career victories (246) and career winning percentage (.641).  The Tigers will play 10 games away from home this season, the second-most total in NCAA Division I (Air Force, 11-of-13 away from home).  Towson and Air Force will square off Feb. 28, in Denver, Colo.

VILLANOVA (1-0 overall): Villanova went on the road to win its season-opener, 8-4, at Rutgers, Feb. 14.  Tim Driscoll led the way for the Wildcats against the Scarlet Knights with three goals, while Paul Webber recorded three assists. Goalkeeper Andrew DiLoreto, who picked up the win, recorded 13 saves in the contest.  Villanova’s defense was superb, limiting Rutgers to just one goal per quarter and shutting out the Scarlet Knights’ five man-up opportunities.  Eddie DiDonato was selected as a 2009 Preseason All-Conference honoree at defense, after logging 26 groundballs in 2008.  Villanova, which finished tied for fourth in the league standings in 2008 and advanced to the semifinals of the league championship, was picked to finish fifth in the conference this season.  The Wildcats will travel to Lafayette, Feb. 28, for a 1 p.m., contest.