Throw together a new head coach, two new captains, and 10 incoming freshmen and you get a Harvard men’s lacrosse team with a very new look.
A new look might be just what the Crimson needs after a statistically disappointing 2010 campaign. Entering last season ranked No. 12 in the nation and boasting the third-ranked recruiting class in the country, Harvard faltered in conference play, finishing 2-4 in the Ivy League.
After the unexpected departure of third-year head coach John Tillman in June to take the Maryland head coaching position, first-year Crimson coach Chris Wojcik, along with new co-captains Dean Gibbons and junior Kevin Vaughan, hope to keep the team moving in the right direction.
Wojcik—a former Harvard soccer and lacrosse standout—took the first step in that direction earlier today by announcing the team’s incoming freshman class. While this year’s class may not boast a standout individual player, its depth should be a great asset to the Crimson, according to Geoff Shannon, associate editor of Inside Lacrosse.
“This class is probably deeper across the board,” Shannon said. “In the last couple of classes, they’ve had one superstar. I don’t know if this class has that guy, per se, but they have guys [that can contribute].”
Three players Shannon expects to make an impact as soon as they step onto the turf at Harvard Stadium are defenseman John Rose, midfielder Eric Slingerland, and attackman Carl Zimmerman—three Under Armour All-Americans.
“Those are your three stars,” Shannon said.
While in high school, Rose anchored the defense for Deerfield Academy, a team that spent time ranked No. 1 in the country during his senior season. Along the way, Rose picked up three All-New England nods.
“[Rose is] up-tempo—he can push the ball,” Shannon said. “But he is a lockdown defender as well.”
Slingerland is expected to aid the Crimson’s midfield, which claims just six upperclassmen at the position. Slingerland, who reportedly boasts a strong shooting touch, should help Harvard offensively. While at Phillips Exeter Academy, the new Crimson asset notched a school record for most career points by a midfielder with 154.
Zimmerman should also add some pop to Harvard’s offense. The six-foot attacker described by Shannon as a “strong athlete” set a school record at Homer High School (N.Y.) with 188 goals and 267 points.
“Zimmerman could really come in there and work with [Jeff Cohen] and be effective,” Shannon said.
The Crimson’s latest class is rounded out by an additional three midfielders, two defenders, one attackman, and one goalkeeper.