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Goucher men's lacrosse can't shake injury bug that plagued 2015 campaign

Lacrosse

The upcoming year represents a chance for Goucher to turn the page and bury the memory of last spring, but a familiar issue has reared its ugly head again.

After enduring season-ending knee injuries to then-junior defenseman Nathan Cain and then-junior faceoff specialist Tristan Morris, a balky hamstring that nagged then-junior attackman Conner Annunziato, and a stomach bug that sidelined 12 players at one point, the Gophers are battling more ailments this preseason.

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"We're a little dinged up," coach Brian Kelly said. "I think we've got some talent. But right now, we've got some guys that are nursing some injuries from the fall. So we're not 100 percent healthy and we don't have everybody that we feel like are going to be the go-to guys available to us yet. But the good news is we do have some depth this year pretty much at all the positions, and the guys that are healthy are getting a lot of looks right now."

Without naming names, Kelly acknowledged that the Gophers have been working out this preseason without two of their three projected starting attackmen and two of their three projected starting defensemen. But Kelly said the absences haven't hampered the team's ability to practice.

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"We've got some depth," he said. "We've got 42 guys on our roster. Having five or six guys – even though they may be guys who have contributed in the past – out, we have guys that have been around and know Goucher. And we've got some freshmen that we feel like could have an impact once we get into the season."

Goucher won't have the benefit of giving the injured players much time to heal. The season opens this Saturday at 12 p.m. at home against former Landmark Conference rival Washington & Jefferson, which jumped to the Ohio River Lacrosse Conference after posting a school-record-tying eight wins in 2015.

Despite going through the strain of injuries again, Kelly refused to bemoan the situation facing him or the program.

"If you let your mind go there, that's a defeatist mentality," he said. "We've got a strong roster in my opinion. So it's my job as the coach not to look to the things I can't control, but the things that I can and try to coach the guys who are out there to the best of my ability and get these guys prepared to play Goucher lacrosse. Fortunately, we have a roster where with injuries, we can still field a team and hopefully, it will be a strong team."

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