Head coach Kyle Hannan looks to improve upon years past
The Mercer men’s lacrosse team enters their third competitive season in 2013. With several new faces, including first-year head coach Kyle Hannan, the team looks to improve upon their losing efforts in years past and move forward in a winning direction.
The team returns several players from last year’s squad that competed well for the Bears in 2012. The two most notable returners in attacking positions are juniors Cole Branch and Zack Ward.
Ward had an outstanding season on the field in his first year as a Bear. Ward led the team in goals with 19 and assists with 12. Ward proved to be a potent attacking player after transferring from Salisbury in his sophomore year.
Cole Branch led the Bears during his freshman year in goals, but took the backseat to Ward in his sophomore season. Despite not scoring as many goals as the year before, Branch proved to be an attacking presence for the Bears on the field. Branch scored 12 goals and registered seven assists placing second in both categories to Ward.
The combination of Branch and Ward should be an exciting one going into the 2013 season as both have experience playing with each other and both are upperclassmen.
The midfield for the Bears looks to be a promising one led by juniors Eoin Collins and Brett Eisenmann.
Collins and Eisenmann were third and fourth respectively in goals and Eisenmann ranked third in assists.
The Bears have a competitive schedule going into the 2013 season.
“After accepting the job in late August, one of my major concerns was the schedule and how it was going to pan out for 2013,” Hannan said. “When I came on board it was half complete, but I’m very excited about what we ended up with.”
Mercer begins the season at home in Mercer’s newest edition, The William H. Anderson II Family Field.
“The ideal way to start this season is in the new stadium, given the commitment that Mercer has made to our program,” Hannan said. “It’s nice to be able to have that first true game at home in front of fans, students and administrators here at Mercer.”
The Bears are playing some of the nation’s top competition during the 2013 season including the likes of Duke University, who is consistently an NCAA tournament team.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to go Duke and compete against one of the top programs in the nation, year-in and year-out,” Hannan said. “I think it’s great for Mercer and the lacrosse program and we’ll become a better team from making that trip.”
Hannan is more than excited for his first season as Mercer’s head coach.
“We were able to work out a schedule that is very balanced with six home games and seven away games,” Hannan said. “We’re going to be able to travel and show Mercer University off in nine different states. The way the schedule works out, we travel a lot early and then play predominantly south-region teams towards the end,” Hannan said. “We’re excited to match up with very good teams in the south and see how we’ll do.”