Reason for optimism: A year ago, the defense loomed as the largest question mark after it graduated all three starting defensemen. But then-sophomores Michael Ehrhardt and Brian Cooper and then-freshman Goran Murray helped the unit rank ninth in Division I in average goals allowed (7.9), and those three – along with senior long-stick midfielder Jesse Bernhardt and senior short-stick defensive midfielder Landon Carr – are back to patrol the area in front of junior goalkeeper Niko Amato, a two-year starter. "That experience, you hope, is a strength," Tillman said of the defense. "Last year, we just had a lot of young guys out there, and at times, the game was pretty fast for them. Luckily, the emphasis was just get better, get better, get better and as the year went on. I think the game did slow down for them. We tweaked some things towards their strengths. We got a little better feel at what the kids were good at, and at times, offensively, we were able to protect them and give them some confidence. So I think to have a group of guys that has been on the field while we still have some guys that we're trying to work in and create that depth, it is hopefully something that will pay off for us this year."