With one day until men's lacrosse training camp opens the coaches are wondering where the chips may fall.
The Excalibur finished fourth in the east in 2013 and lost out in the quarter finals 11-8 to eventual semi finalists - Queens Gaels. They will return a record high 26 players from last seasons squad.
As of print there were 53 players on the tryout roster. Players will be competing to make the 35 man roster, which is the CUFLA max.
Head coach Geoff McKinley touched on the recent increase in numbers,"At the end of last season we felt there were some holes that we needed to fill. We made a concerted effort to tackle the recruiting circuit early and get some elite travel field players and players from our premier box leagues. We also had several players who were not on our radar contact us about playing, and I think that is a testament to where the program has come."
Trent will be entering its eighth full year as a CUFLA member after 2 years of exhibition seasons prior. Trent was able to progress quickly finishing at the top of the east division twice in 2008 and 09 recording a 10-0 and 8-2 seasons respectively. Since then Trent has finished with four consecutive losing seasons. They have made the playoffs in all but one season in their history.
"It takes time to build a program, we came out of the gate strong but many of our premier guys were in their junior and senior years at that point. Combined with some academic issues, we saw a real drop to our core moving forward from that point. It has been a somewhat long road back. We need to be able to get to the point where we don't have to rebuild we just need to reload, hopefully were there" laughed McKinley.
Training camp will consist of 8 dates and as of today one exhibition game. Trent will play Team Ontario's U-19 squad August 27th at Fleming fields as part of their pre-season exhibition. 2014 Trent commit and Lakefield (ON) native Thomas Hoggarth will be representing Ontario on this team, he is also a member of the Peterborough Jr. A Lakers. He is a very talented player who can both ends of the field at middy and can also play attack and take face-offs.
"We have definitely beefed up our midfield core and added depth with our guys who face off. We also will have 4 goalies at camp."
Clarington's Liam Wynne had a strong showing in the high school season winning LOSSA with the St. Stephen Royals and came up one goal short of winning AA OFSAA Gold. He was also the starter for the Clarington Jr. B Green Gaels. Austin Cairns backstopped Heart Lake Secondary and Northern Lax Elite travel team. "A great compliment for him was when Angus Dinely (Team Canada, St. Mike's College) raved to Coach McKinley about Austin's performance during the annual Jammer classic. Returning will be Mitch Martin who backed up Brett LaFonte for the Peterborough Jr. A Lakers this year and Luc Hill.
Other notables at camp will be NCAA D II transfer (Ohio Valley) Bryce Watson (Courtice, ON) who will excel in the face-off circle and at the attack position.
Nick Finlay (Ottawa, ON) was Gloucester Jr. B Griffins rookie of the year, his high school male athlete of the year, and plays for the Ottawa Capitals Lacrosse Program. He is an athletic middy who not only excels on the field but in the classroom as well.
Math Smith (Brampton, ON) played with the Jr. B Excelsiors all year and is also a standout middy with Northern Lax. He received several NCAA scholarship offers but ultimately chose Trent.
Johnny Lynch (Peterborough, ON) was perennial powerhouse St. Peter Saints MVP and anchored the backend for the Jr. C Lakers. He is a midfielder that can also play both ends of the field and adds a scoring touch.
Zack Wainman (Peterborough, ON) will add some quickness and goals to the attack core. He won 3 AA OFSAA Gold Medals with the Holy Cross Hurricanes and also added a Schmalz Cup Jr.C trophy to his resume this past winter as goalie for the Lakefield Chiefs. He is a kid that knows how and what it takes to win.
Ethan Schott (Whitby, ON) who plays with the Donald A Wilson Gators and Clarington Jr. B Green Gaels and is a multifaceted player that will add depth. He grew up playing midfield but made the conversion to close defense in high school.
The Excalibur open up their season Sept. 6 at 5pm vs the Carleton Ravens. All home games will be played at Justin Chiu Stadium.
Trent enters the season with an overall regular season record in CUFLA play of 36-31 (54%). The have twice made the National Semi-Final game and once played in the National quarter game. They have made the playoffs in all but one season. They will play a 12 game regular season this year with the addition of Ottawa U to their East CUFLA division. The Baggataway Cup National Championships will be played at Oshawa Civic Fields November 7-9, 2014. All schedules, results, and statistics will be found for the 2014 season on CUFLA.ca.
A full list of 2014 recruits can be found at laxpower.com
Article written by Darren Flannigan