Underclassmen Pave the Way for an Up-and-Coming Men's Lacrosse Team
Feb 28, 2015 | None
DUBUQUE, Iowa – The University of Dubuque men’s lacrosse team seeks its first program and conference win in its second year of existence behind a youthful and hungry squad. UD looks to turn some heads after being picked to finish sixth in their inaugural season of College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) play.
CCIW Preseason Coaches Poll
|6||Univ. of Dubuque||7|
The Spartans will rely heavily on its freshman and sophomore contingent that makes up nearly 80% of its roster. Newly minted recruits dominate a roster that brings back six of 11 primary starters.
Sophomore Tyler Svoboda leads the way as UD’s top returning scorer after netting five goals and two assists a year ago.
The versatile midfielder, sophomore Josh Berey-Wingate, and senior Andrew Poncer back up Svoboda as three of the top four returning scorers from last year’s team. Starting all 12 game, Berey-Wingate did-it-all after netting four goals, three assists, and led the team with both 57 groundballs and 83 faceoff victories. Poncer started nine games and scored three goals with two assists and 14 groundballs.
“Tyson Svoboda is our top returning scorer from last year and I expect him to make a jump forward this year, newcomer Icle Freeland will be a key player for the offense, and Josh Berey-Wingate is our main face-off guy and a big part of gaining possession,” said Head Coach Tyler Simmons on his key players.
Junior Icle Freeland, a transfer from Rock Valley College (Ill.) and native of Poplar Grove, Ill., will utilize his quick 5’9” frame to add some pop on the offensive side of the field.
Defensively, sophomore Efrain Rodriguez and junior Connor Kern anchor the backline after starting a combined 21 of 21 games in 2014. Rodriguez claimed 35 groundballs and caused 10 turnovers while Kern snagged 11 groundballs and forced one turnover.
After fielding an independent team in 2014, the Spartans join the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) consisting of Carthage, Carroll, Elmhurst, Augustana (Ill.), and Illinois Wesleyan. It will be a conference loaded with schools that are within the first five years of their programs’ existence.
The Spartans open their inaugural CCIW conference slate at Carthage on March 25 and conclude their season at conference foe, Elmhurst College, on April 25.
After hosting one game a year ago, the Spartans welcome four home matches (*weather permitting) on newly turfed Oyen Field starting March 7 vs. Hope College (Mich.).
“I feel that we have a solid base with a great group of young men who will be able to be both leaders for the program and community as we look to build the roster and grow the game in the Dubuque area,” said Coach Simmons on his final thoughts.
Despite falling in their season opener, 17-4, at Rockhurst University on Monday, February 22, the Spartans look for a bounce back win against the only other official NCAA team in the state of Iowa on its schedule, Cornell, this Tuesday, February 24 at 5:00 p.m.