POTSDAM - Two-hundred fifteen schools inhabit NCAA Division III mens lacrosse, and a little over 10 percent of those teams have yet to play their first game.
Thanks to some cold weather last Monday, the Clarkson University mens lacrosse team counts itself among the 29 schools that have yet to play a game this year, and the Golden Knights will get an even tougher opening test now when they have to travel to play nationally-ranked SUNY Cortland this afternoon.
The game between the Knights and the second-ranked Red Dragons was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but the contest was moved to Wednesday for more hospitable conditions as the cold weather begins to break in the Northeast.
Cortland has played two games thus far, beating Albright and Union College by a combined score of 19-10. The Red Dragons have done the majority of their damage in the first half, allowing only two goals and scoring 11 times in the opening two quarters. Cortlands offense has been diverse, with 12 different players scoring at least one goal. The only player for the Red Dragons to have scored more than twice this season is Nate Garbarino, who has already amassed seven points on four goals and three assists. Cortland goalkeeper has played well thus far, sporting a .643 save percentage and a 5.17 goals against average.
Clarkson was receiving votes in the USILA Preseason poll and has done nothing to confirm or deny the thoughts of voters as of yet. The Knights first game on Wednesday could prove little or a great deal depending on the outcome against one of the top teams in Division III.
Leading the offense for Clarkson, junior Corey Herrington (Camillus, NY) was picked as a Liberty League All-Star for the second straight year and earned a USILA All-American nod in just his second season. Herrington is 12 points shy of 100 for his career already, and led the conference in assists per game (1.69). Classmate Matt Gold (Pittsford, NY) was in the top 10 in the conference in goals and senior Peter Goss (Jamesville, NY) added in 25 points, including 18 goals. Another junior, Dylan Broomfield (Clinton, NY), ranked third in the league in groundballs and was a top faceoff man in the conference. Overall, five selections for the 2013 Liberty League All-Star squad, including the above three juniors, return for the Knights.
While Clarkson will have plenty of offense, it is the defensive side of the ball where the Knights could truly shine. Clarkson possesses a strong corps of defensive specialists that will limit the opportunities for the opposition. Junior JD St. Croix (Camillus, NY) was a Liberty League First-Team All-Star and senior Rick Clement (Cotuit, MA) was chosen Honorable Mention for the conference all-star team. Additionally, senior Brian Freeland (East Berlin, CT) started all 16 games last year, creating a formidable group that has plenty of familiarity and experience from the past two seasons.