COAST GUARD ACADEMY LACROSSE LOOKS TO BREAK OUT WITH THE "OLD BAY" CREW
By: Sean M. Cross
Updated: 04/19/2010 at 9:45 AM
New London, Conn – As basketball and football are often associated with the states of Indiana and Pennsylvania, shellfish and the sport of Lacrosse are synonymous with the state of Maryland. What’s the line from The Wedding Crashers? ”Crab cakes and lacrosse, that’s what Maryland does!”…something
like that. In keeping with the Maryland theme, it appears as if Coast Guard Academy head lacrosse coach Brian Krautler (Arnold/ Broadneck and Key School) and his staff have inherited some talented players from “The Old Line State” – players that the Coast Guard Academy hopes will lead them to a PCLL D2 Championship in 2010. The 40-man 2010 Coast Guard Academy Men’s Lacrosse team roster includes nine players from Maryland, including a core group from the Class of 2011. The defense is anchored by a pair of Marylanders in team captain, Greg Bernstein (Baltimore/The McDonogh School) and crease-clearing Paul Junghans (Damascus/The Heights School). Last season’s offensive leaders, juniors Kyle Ennis (Mayo/ DeMatha High School) and Matthew Chase (Baltimore/Loch Raven) also hail from “The Old Line State.” Like a yellow and blue tin of Baltimore’s Old Bay seasoning, this core group of players has added a distinct impact and flavor to the Bear’s lacrosse program.
The “leader” of the group, Bernstein usually draws the assignment to cover the opponent’s best attackman or midfielder. His cat-like reflexes and lacrosse IQ have allowed him to literally shutdown some of the best scorers in the conference. His defensive prowess the last two years earned him PCLL Division 2 All-Conference – Second Team honors in 2008 and First Team honors in 2009. This summer Bernstein will spend six weeks in Palmer, Alaska as the Team Leader for the Coast Guard Academy expedition at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) before reporting aboard USCGC TERRAPIN (“Fear the Turtle” – how appropriate), an 87-foot Coastal Patrol Boat out of Bellingham, WA to finish out his training. Junghans is another Maryland-component of a physical defensive unit which carries on the proud CGA tradition of venerable long poles. Paul is known for his field vision, wit and ability to lead the fast break with finesse not normally found in a crease defender. Junghans will spend his summer training aboard USCGC GALLATIN, a 378-foot high endurance cutter out of Charleston, SC.
The “character” of the group is definitely Matt Chase – somewhat “xenophobic” about all things not from Maryland, Chase refuses to purchase lacrosse equipment anywhere except inside of the Baltimore city lines. He once pondered on his Facebook page that purchasing gear outside of Baltimore could result “in no offhand and a severe lack of flow” – things no self-respecting lacrosse player can tolerate. A prolific scorer, Chase has become an integral piece of the Bears offensive attack. Chase was second in the league in goals (25) with multiple 4+ goal games and #8 in points despite regularly drawing the opposing team’s best defender. A talented and consistent player with skills that were respected around the league, Chase ranked #117 in points per game nationally and was selected 2009 PCLL Division 2 All-Conference – Second Team. Chase will spend a portion of his summer as an intern at the National Security Agency (NSA) before reporting aboard USCGC STATEN ISLAND, a 110-foot Patrol Boat out of Atlantic Beach, NC to finish out his training program.
CGA is hoping to have Kyle Ennis back at some point in the season, following an ACL injury last year. Ennis is considered the best pure athlete on the Coast Guard Academy Lacrosse team. Selected to the MCLA D2 All-American Honorable Mention team, Kyle was the only PCLL player recognized that was not a member of the PCLL D2 Champion Stonehill College team. He was second in the league in points per game with 29 points in only 6 games. In addition, he ranked #36 in points per game nationally and had big games against D1 UConn and in the 4OT thriller against PCLL D2 Champion Stonehill College. He was a highly effective scorer either in one-on-one isolation situations or in the team unit as evidenced by balanced goal and assist statistics. In addition to his lacrosse accolades, Ennis plays linebacker for the Bears football program. In 2008-9, he led all NCAA Division III schools with 7.43 solo tackles per game. Ennis will spend his summer aboard USCGC KINGFISHER, another 87-foot Coastal Patrol Boat out of Jacksonville, FL. Epitomizing the term student-athlete, Chase and Ennis were both named to the 20-member 2009 MCLA Division 2 Academic All-American team chosen from across the country. As Electrical Engineering majors, Chase earned a 3.30 GPA while Ennis earned a 3.52 GPA for the 2008-9 Academic Year. Incidentally, the team’s fall semester grades just came out. The team earned a 3.02 average, with ten guys over 3.5 and not a single player under 2.0.
In addition to the Class of 2011 foursome, Coach Krautler’s roster consists of several other veteran contributors from the state of Maryland, including senior Craig Velencia (Columbia/ Atholton) and sophomores Nick Zablotny (Annapolis/Broadneck) and Brian Muldoon (Solomons/Patuxent). Moreover, the “Old Bay” pipeline keeps flowing as Coast Guard welcomed native-Maryland newcomers Andrew Ray (Ellicott City/Wilde Lake), Michael Cooper (Baltimore/Boys Latin School), and Austin English (Stevensville/Kent Island). ”English and Ray have been huge additions to this team with their versatility,” said Chase. “They’ve taken a lot of pressure off me and Kyle to score goals because defenders have to pay them equal attention with their ability to pass and score.”
Due to the large number of roster players hailing from the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area, the Bears will once again travel over Spring Break (March 6 & 7) to face NCLL club teams from that region. Club teams from Towson State University, the United States Naval Academy and the University of Maryland – Baltimore County make up this year’s competition. Last year, NCLL Division I Navy tied for 1st place atop the always tough Chesapeake Division and competed in the NCLL National Tournament. Coach Krautler is enthusiastic about the opportunity to play in Maryland, saying “I grew up in the Annapolis area and learned how to play the game there. It was tough to leave Maryland to go play college lacrosse at the Coast Guard Academy, in Connecticut, but I knew it was the right decision. With about a quarter of our team hailing from the area, it just makes sense to make the trip back to Maryland each year and play in front of friends and family. It’s a real thrill for the team and the coaches to get back to Maryland and play lacrosse.” Bernstein and the rest of his teammates believe that they have a promising future as they start the season, but they recognize that “it all starts in Maryland.”
This article and photo appeared on the front page of www.collegelax.us the week of March 4, 2010.
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