Klepacki receives fourth CCC Coach of the Year award
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (April 26, 2019) – The Western New England University men's lacrosse team was heavily represented when the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) announced its major award winners and All-CCC selections on Friday afternoon.
Senior attackman Jared Ward (Littleton, Mass.) was named the Offensive Player of the Year, while sophomore Mitch Weiss (Westfield, Mass.) earned Defensive Player of the Year honors. Additionally, freshman attackman Mike Bannon (Edmond, Okla.) collected Rookie of the Year recognition and head coach John Klepacki received his fourth Coach of the Year award.
Ward, Weiss and Bannon were among seven All-CCC selections for Western New England, along with sophomore midfielders Matt Greer (South Windsor, Conn.) and Jared Newall (Stratford, Conn.), junior long-stick midfielder Oskar Djusberg (Abington, Mass.) and senior faceoff specialist Hunter Cocks (Walden, N.Y.).
Sophomore defenseman Kevin Faustich (Seymour, Conn.) and freshman midfielder Murphy Hartmann (Anthem, Ariz.) garnered second team accolades, while freshman defenseman Josh Salem (Dracut, Mass.), junior goalie Sean McCusker (Northport, N.Y.) and senior attackman Tim Breau (Lima, N.Y.) were voted to the third team.
Ward earns Offensive Player of the Year honors after producing a career-high 68 points (38 goals, 30 assists) during the regular season, which led the team and ranked second in the CCC. The Littleton, Mass. native recorded multiple points in 13 of the 16 games he appeared in this spring, including a season-high ten-point effort (5 goals, 5 assists) in Western New England's 20-8 win at Nichols on April 4.
Weiss started all 17 contests and anchored a defensive unit that allowed just 8.25 goals per game in CCC play, good for second in the league. He compiled 57 ground balls and caused 12 turnovers, which both ranked second on the team.
Bannon was an immediate contributor for the Golden Bears during his rookie campaign, 22 goals and 31 assists for a total of 53 points (2nd on team). Bannon was a consistent performer throughout the season with multi-point performances in all 17 games.
Klepacki earns CCC Coach of the Year honors for the fourth time after leading Western New England to a perfect 8-0 record in league play, marking the third time in the past four seasons the Golden Bears have gone undefeated in conference action. Now in his 18th season at the helm of the Western New England men's lacrosse program, Klepacki has a career record of 237-102 (.699) with seven CCC titles since 2008.
Greer and Newall were among Western New England's top offensive threats this season, as they ranked third and fifth on the team in points, respectively. Greer was the top distributor in the CCC during the regular season with a league-high 36 assists to go with 16 goals, while Newall generated 35 points with 26 goals and nine assists.
Cocks was selected as the CCC's top faceoff specialist following a senior campaign in which he went 244-of-378 at the X (.646) and ranked second in the conference with 151 ground balls. Cocks also contributed offensively with eight points (five goals, three assists).
Djusberg started all 17 contests and recorded 40 ground balls and eight caused turnovers as a key member of the WNE defensive unit.
Faustich earns All-CCC honors for the second time after starting all 17 games and totaling 34 ground balls with a team-high 13 caused turnovers, while Hartmann made significant contributions as a freshman with 23 ground balls, seven caused turnovers and three goals in 16 games.
In his first full season as a starter, McCusker was strong in the cage with an 11.44 goals against average and a .486 save percentage. His numbers were even better in CCC play with an 8.25 goals against average and a .529 save percentage against league opponents.
Breau was a threat both as a scorer (10 goals) and a facilitator (10 assists) en route to his first All-CCC selection, while Salem totaled 21 ground balls and ten caused turnovers as a regular defensive starter during his rookie season.
Western New England (12-5, 8-0 CCC), which earned the top seed and a first round bye in the upcoming CCC Tournament, will host the lowest remaining seed in a semifinal matchup on Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Golden Bear Stadium.