Last season was a year of major injuries and some sloppy play, which left the Rams under .500 and out of post-season play for the first time in three years.
2007 begins with some disappointment, alongside some great surprise and optimism. Although some veteran players have not returned for ‘07, two players lost last year are back and ready to go. In last years opening game, senior Mike Cullen suffered a double compound fracture and dislocation of his ankle. He has healed well and the NCAA gave him back his senior year of eligibility due to his season-ending injury. Also lost early last season was junior Joe Meola, who sprained his ACL in a collision with the goalie in the Rams overtime victory against Lasell. Joe was given back his junior year of eligibility and after working through knee rehab over the past months, he is healthy and ready to resume being the team’s playmaker.
This year’s team is anchored by a very strong and talented defense. Returning players include senior captain Rob Hattenrath, juniors Mike Butler Jr. and Rudy Joseph and sophomores Sean Rose and Jeff Thompson will be strengthened with the addition of sophomore transfers Joe Philbin and James Vaz, along with freshmen Bryan Schmerler, Tom Dluginski, Greg Harrington, Lenny Mormino and Philip Dichiara. Between the pipes, the Rams will be led by senior veteran Kevin Winters, sophomore Danny Keegan and junior transfer Val Stauder.
All-Skyline player and senior captain Ryan LaFlare will lead the midfielders, along with returning junior Jay Berndt and sophomore Anthony Jacobi. Joining these veterans will be transfers Kyle Buchberg (sophomore) and Chris Fiorenzo (junior) with freshmen Paul Randazzo, Rich Longarello, Charlie Timpanaro and Nate Larrea. Returning junior and go-to face-off man Joe Gritser is back and looking quicker, striving to be more of a vital role in the offense. He will be challenged by freshman Nick Gigante, who is sure to make this face-off duo a force to be reckoned with.
The attack will be directed by junior captain Joe Meola, junior Jeremy Goohs and senior Mike Cullen. This trio will be aided by sophomore Jon Benish, sophomore transfer Sean Maxwell and freshmen Jared Baglietto, Jon Trama and Jason Jeanes.
The team will make a run for the 2007 Skyline Championship. The defense should keep the opponents scores to a minimum while the offense should produce many scoring opportunities. The Rams always look to continue advancing in the rankings and become a dominant Division III team.