Brown - Three Star Recruiting Class - It is this simple: Brown will enter the 2013 season as a work in progress. The Bears will be talented but young in 2013. Their roster will include a total of seventeen players who are either freshmen or sophomores. That means more than the average number of new faces will be on the pitch for Brown in 2013. That's what happens when you have to replace seven starters including three who were First Team All-Ivy and two who were Second Team All-Ivy selections.
Goalkeeper Sam Kernan-Schloss, defenders Dylan Remick (2g, 7a), Eric Robertson (3g, 0a), and Ryan Mcduff, and midfielders Thomas McNamara (4g,4a), Bobby Belair (4g, 3a), and Kevin Gavey (1g, 2a) finished their tenure at Brown with an overall record of 48-15-15, an Ivy League title in 2011, and four consecutive trips to at least the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
When you must replace such a talented and experienced senior class a drop-off is to be expected. However, a significant drop-off is unlikely because Brown is the type of program that maintains a solid pool of talented players. Regardless, head coach Patrick Laughlin will have to count on a slew of younger less experienced players making a contribution in order for the Bears to finish at the top of the Ancient Eight in 2013 and keep their streak of consecutive NCAA appearances alive.
How long will it take Brown to get over the loss of such a productive senior class? Several factors will determine that. It is a huge plus that Brown is a tradition-rich program but the seniors must still set the pace for the younger players and reinforce the desired culture. The 2013 team will also need to establish its own identify. The underclassmen must help plug the gaps that exist and Laughlin will need to effectively merge the newcomers in with the returning players. He has added a seven member recruiting class with a solid record of competitive play that should help to ease their transition to collegiate game.
The Bears will likely experience some growing pains in the early going particularly with contests against non-conference foes like Washington and Indiana on the schedule but if everything goes according to plan this is a group that should gel and get stronger as the season progresses.
The biggest unanswered question heading into the 2013 campaign pertains to who will fill the shoes of Kernan-Schloss who was a two-year starter in goal and a 2012 All-Ivy Second Team selection. The starting netminder position looks to be up for grabs with senior Josh Weiner, junior Mitch Kupstas and incoming freshman Erik Hanson all competing for the starting role. Solid team defense has always been a calling card for the Bears as reflected in the fact that they only allowed a total of twelve goals last year. Clearly the level of play between the pipes will be a critical success factor for Brown once again in 2013.
Junior Alex Markes who has been a starter for the past two seasons returns to anchor the backline. He is among returning players who will likely be counted on to set the pace and assume a greater leadership role. Sophomores Tim Whalen (2g, 1a) and Jameson Lochhead (0g,2a) look ready to slot into the center back positions. Jasen Pesek is among the incoming freshmen who could challenge for playing time in the back from the get-go.
Despite the losses due to graduation the midfield looks to be a team strength heading into the 2013 season. Laughlin will have a lot of options regarding how he uses his linkmen. Sophomores Tariq Akeel (0g, 1a), Jack Gorab and Michael Comitis, and senior Jack Kuntz are among retuning central midfielders. Sophomore Eduardo Martin who missed a large portion of the 2012 season due to injury is now healthy and could be a difference maker in the midfield in 2013. Senior Pepe Salama and juniors Daniel Taylor (3g, 0a) and Tommy Arns (1g, 0a) are among the players who Laughlin will likely look to for offensive firepower on the flanks.
Brown will be without three of its top four point producers due to graduation. The good news is that junior Ben Maurey (5g, 2a) who led the Bears in scoring last year returns up top. Maurey, a 2012 First Team All-Ivy selection, is a physical target player with silky smooth moves. Senior Voltaire Escalona (1g, 5a) is among other returning forwards who will have the opportunity to play a key role in the Brown attack in 2013. Ditto that for highly regarded sophomore forward Will Cross who has the size and the touch on the ball to be an impact player. Freshmen Nate Pomeroy and Tyler Long are among the newcomers who could challenge for playing time up-top and contribute to the offense.
The Ivy League race looks to be interesting in 2013. Two schools in the Ancient Eight will have new head coaches and teams across the board with be without key starters. Cornell shook things up last year when they won their first Ivy League title since 1995. The Big Red led the country in goals and points per game but they lost a ton of offensive firepower due to the decision of All-American forward Daniel Haber (18g, 7a) to forgo his senior season to enter the professional ranks and the graduation of forward Tyler Regan (4g, 6a). Dartmouth head coach Jeff Cook resigned to accept another position after twelve very successful seasons at the helm of the program that included five Ivy League titles and seven NCAA Tournament appearances. Harvard will also be under new management since Cal Junot stepped down after three seasons as the head coach.
There are some big shoes to fill but Laughlin will enter his fourth season as the head coach at Brown with an established system of play that is aligned with the talents of his players. The departures require that some different players provide leadership but at the end of the day you can expect Brown to play solid, organized, and disciplined team defense and for Maurey and perhaps a new face or two to provide offensive firepower.
Josh Butler - Defender - Virginia Beach, Virginia - Frank W. Cox High School - Played for USSDA Virginia Rush team. Virginia ODP. Captain of Virginia Rush U-18 team.
Erik Hanson - Goalkeeper - Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania - Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School - USSDA FC Delco. Eastern Pennsylvania ODP team. Mid-Penn First Team selection.
Mike Leone - Defender - Warren, Michigan - De LaSalle Collegiate High School - USSDA Vardar SC Freiburg. 2011 Michigan Dream Team. All-State selection.
Tyler Long - Forward - Clarksville, Tennessee - Rossview High School - Played for Tennessee SC. Region III ODP team. Three-time All-State and All-Conference selection.
Jason Pesek - St. Louis Missouri - Chaminade College Preparatory School - USSDA St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri. NSCAA All-Midwest selection. All-State. All-Conference. All-Metro selection.
Nate Pomeroy - Forward - Groton, Massachusetts - Groton Dunstable Regional High School - USSDA FC Greater Boston Bolts - All-New England. NSCAA All-Region I selection. Three-time All-State selection.
Eric Sugarman - Midfield - Livingston, New Jersey - Livingston High School - USSDA New York Redbulls U-18 Academy. All-County. All-Conference. Captain of TSF Academy from 2009-2011.