One game away from reaching the illustrious Final Four in the NCAA Division III Tournament, the Lions ended their season with a seven-game winning streak and a wildly successful 16-3-1 season. Head coach George Nazario is surprisingly blunt and confident that this season will be just as successful as last year’s breakout run.
“I expect to compete and win the NJAC tournament and then, depending on how the season’s going, make the Final Four.”
The 2005 season was a stark departure from the four preceding mediocre seasons, as the team managed to only stay above .500 in two out of those four years.
Nazario is in good shape heading into this season, losing only four seniors. However, three of them were defensemen. On paper, this is going to be the team’s weakness and the biggest question mark going into this year.
“If you can get the guys to be on the same page early and they can make the transition to the college game early it won’t be that bad,” Nazario said.
The coach noted that junior goalie Matt Kasperavicius might have to bark orders more than usual to keep his defense tight, but remains confident that he can get the job done behind these new defensemen.
The defense will not have to worry too much, as the offensive side of the ball remains a strong point for a team scoring 2.18 goals per game last season.
“You have to have a little bit of bench,” Nazario said. “I think we do have some more depth that we’ve added this year.”
On the whole, the Lions have 10 members that are either sophomores or freshmen, yet Nazario expects three or four freshmen to start right off the bat.
“You have to have luck,” he said. “If we end up getting the little bit of luck we need, we can wind up winning this thing.”