This week, lets recognize some deserving players who don't ordinarily get much recognition. These are good guys who make contributions on and off the field to make their programs better.
These unsung seniors bring energy, they understand the culture of their programs and pass it along, and they will be winners in life after lacrosse.
They might not appear in the box score, but they make an impact just the same.
Matt Barone, Marquette: Marquette plays Duke tonight in Durham. It's unlikely that backup goalie Barone will see action. However, the Golden Eagles are in the playoff hunt thanks to his unselfishness and team-first mentality.
"We win with people, not things," coach Joe Amplo said. "He's one of the best I have been around in terms of commitment to the team. What better example of sacrifice and commitment to the team than the backup goalie that happens to be a senior. This young man has sat on the bench for four years and is the reason why we have had success. He shows us every day what being a part of a team is."
Barone sets the standard and holds teammates accountable to that every day.
"Having been passed over for the starting job when we made a switch in goal earlier this season, Matt didn't complain," said Amplo. "He took our level of preparation a step higher. He made a shot chart for Cole Blazer, our starting goalie. Cole is an engineer, like Matt, and Matt understands how he thinks. He felt that by charting every shot that Villanova took during the year and giving each player a percentage of where they shoot he would help Cole. It did. Cole had the game of his career and led us to a significant win."
Barone summed it up: "I want to look back at the program and be proud of what I was able to create with my teammates, with the hope that the culture we've established is one that will live on for decades to come."
He's an engineering major with a GPA just under 4.0. As a hobby, he taught himself finance and earned a job after college at a major investment firm in Delaware. That's a smart hire.
James Chakey, Penn State: Chakey is Penn State's Swiss army knife. He runs defensive midfield, hustles on the wings of faceoffs and plays man-down defense with a long pole. All the while dealing with Chrohn's disease off the field.
"James is our team leader in community service projects as he started an uplifting athletes fundraiser this fall, reads in local schools, and has played wheelchair basketball," coach Jeff Tambroni said. "He's one of the hardest workers and most respected players on our team. A 100 percent selfless contributor and a compassionate role for the younger players, he never tries to take center stage and never takes a day off or play off."
Chakey was a very late recruit — he visited Happy Valley in the spring of his senior year of high school after a recommendation by his high school coach. He has been rock solid on the defensive end. Penn State is at Rutgers on Saturday.
Jeff Chase, Loyola: Chase's path hasn't been without roadblocks. His dreams have been crushed three times by injuries during his time at Boys' Latin and Loyola University. He could have easily just quit and walked away. His love of the game and love of his teammates pushed him through multiple rehabs back onto the field as a valuable midfielder.
"Jeff is talented and plays well in big games," coach Charley Toomey said.
Chase scored two goals in a win over Johns Hopkins. He scored a pair of goals against Lehigh when he stepped into the starting role for Tyler Albrecht. All the while competing with a smile because he understands how fragile sports can be.
"He's run on the second midfield helping to balance a young group," Toomey said. "He plays man up as well. His positive attitude is always present. He's an unbelievable role model for younger players in our locker room."
Patrick Conroy, Towson: Conroy has been the Tigers' primary long-stick midfielder for the past two seasons. "He's a true warrior," coach Shawn Nadelen said. "Pat has never taken a practice off or not giving his best effort. He leads with his actions and has become more verbal in his senior year."
The message can't always emanate from the coach. It resonates best when it comes from a senior. Towson responds to Conroy. His roots are blue-collar. "Pat was not highly recruited out of high school, having attended Dallastown Area High School in York, PA," said Nadelen.
Conroy is versatile. He took some faceoffs late in a 2015 win over Johns Hopkins. Towson is flourishing for a reason. "Pat has made himself a key impact player in our program now and for years to come, as those that have played with him and watch him compete on game day realize what he means," Nadelen said. "Pat will have a lasting impression for those that will follow his footsteps and he will be someone we reference back to frequently, fondly sharing stories of his passion, drive, competitiveness, and willingness to do whatever was needed to achieve success."
Patrick Fleming, Stony Brook: Stony Brook is battling for an NCAA tournament bid out of the America East conference. The Seawolves senior unsung hero is Fleming. He was MVP goalie of the Suffolk County Championship game for Sayville High School and made 18 saves against Garden City in the LI finals. Initially Flemming went to NYIT...and transferred to SBU after a year.
Fleming is supportive but also holds his teammates accountable to the standard.
"He is one of the hardest working, most positive kids I have ever coached," said Seawolves coach Jim Nagle. " He works harder than anyone in the weight room, is supportive to everyone, tough as nails, and accountable. Patrick wants to be a coach someday. He is an absolute treat to coach. I actually started him a couple of games on attitude alone."
Edwin Glazener, Notre Dame: Notre Dame is synonymous with defense. It's Glazener's job to keep the unit humming on the same page. Glazener was a low-end recruit who has yielded high-end production, by willing and working himself into a starting role. He understands how the scheme works and processes opponent's tendencies.
If defensive coordinator Gerry Byrne ever calls in sick, Glazener can run the show. I was on the field for the Irish win over Duke. Glazener is the voice of the defense, an air traffic controller and coach on the field, constantly talking to linemates. He has lined up a job at Citibank, where his outstanding communication skills will be put to work. For now, his focus is on capturing the NCAA title.
Joe Guidarelli, Fairfield: Guidarelli has emerged as Fairfield's best defensive midfielder. The Stags sit atop the CAA and their rise up the charts is directly related to the improvement of that unit.
He is no average Joe.
"He does it all — plays tough on-ball defense, communicates well, picks up ground balls, competes on the faceoff wing, helps in the clearing game and always competes," coach Andy Copelan said.
Chris Hampton and Pat Karole, Denver: The Pioneers are a favorite to win their way to Philadelphia. Their roster is stocked with stars, but Hampton and Karole are two under-the-radar role players who deserve recognition.
"Chris is an integral member of our team and has served various roles without much notoriety," said coach Bill Tierney. "He's fast, tough, plays great defense and is a ground ball machine."
In 2014 Chris was the team MVP during the end of the season. He handled all the face-offs, dominated in the Big East tournament and was outstanding in Denver's run to the Final Four. He's been a three-year starter at defensive midfield.
Pat Karole has been a three-year starter on defense, thriving in the shadow of Carson Cannon and Christian Burgdorf. "He's strong, can cover, has played both pole and close, and is our best off-ball defender," says Tierney. "He's quietly been a solid performer for us and has covered many great attack men." Karole has been out recently with an injury but is expected back for May.
Korey Hendrickson, Hofstra: Hendrickson is a fifth-year senior midfielder who has scored 25 goals and added seven assists this spring.
"He has been a leader on the practice field and on game day," Pride coach Seth Tierney said. "Korey takes the lead on community service projects, does well in the classroom and will leave a positive impression on our program."
Hendrickson is a key component for Hofstra as the Pride goes after the CAA title.
Chris Mahoney, Ohio State: When you nickname a defender "Steady Eddie," that's a compliment.
"Chris is overshadowed by Robby Haus in the media but is having a great senior year," coach Nick Myers said. "He is playing and leading with urgency and is an incredible teammate. Chris always has smile on face and is excited about the process. His positive outlook rubs off on other guys and compliments our team dynamics."
Mahoney is a shepherd to his teammates and leads the team in caused turnovers. "He leads his class in community service hours all four years and is an incredible big brother to Willie Klan a current freshman," said Myers. " Chris is a true Buckeye."
Luke Morrison, Penn: The senior from Loyola Blakefield walked-on at Penn. He did not see any game action in 2013 or 2014. Last year he played in the Lafayette game and scooped up one ground ball. He could have easily walked away to focus on his books.
Morrison's experience on the team and impact isn't defined by the stats.
"Luke is important because he is as respected as anyone on our team, because he works so hard and always does things the right way, on and off the field," Penn coach Mike Murphy said. "He carries a lot of influence. Luke's sole role is man-down and does it very well."
Shea Mullins, Army: The Cadets play at Loyola on Friday night. They are in a battle for the Patriot League title. They lean heavily on midfielder Mullins.
"His toughness, leadership and unselfishness stand out," Army coach Joe Alberici said. "Shea is not big in stature but I quickly came to realize in his freshman year both the physical and mental toughness that he brought to every practice and game."
Mullins has evolved into a first-line midfielder who speaks loudly with his stick and is a leader on a team of future leaders.
"He is a man of few words preferring to be one of action," said Alberici. "His teammates have great respect for him and his approach of bringing the 'lunch box' every day. You would never know if Shea had two goals or was shut out — his mood is dictated by whether we won or lost. His unselfishness goes off the field also in just always being there for the younger players. West Point can be difficult at times, so having seniors like Shea invested in his younger teammates is not just a necessity, it's what makes our family."
Kevin Porzelt, UMass: Position changes often spark growth. Porzelt entered UMass as an offensive midfielder. After a year he was switched to close defense.
"Kevin is a solid leader and heady player on the field," coach Greg Cannella said. "He has a knack for nuggets [knock downs and picks], and is very good in transition up the field."
Steve Winsor, UMBC: Watch UMBC compete. Winsor rarely comes off the field.
"Steve is important to the program because he plays both offensive and defensive midfield, takes wings on faceoffs, and plays man-down defense," coach Don Zimmerman said.
Steve has a selfless attitude, is a grinder always willing to do whatever it takes to advance the team.
"He's soft spoken, letting his play on the field speak for itself," said Zimmerman. "Steve has the respect of both his teammates as well as our coaching staff."
John Yozzo-Scaperrotta, Brown: For three years, Yozzo-Scaperrotta warmed the bench at Brown. After two years as an offensive midfielder, he was moved to defensive midfield. It took him a year to learn the system. The senior is quickly growing from "Who's he?" to "Who's who."His perseverance when playing time was in short supply is noteworthy.
"Through the years as a backup, he always remained an energizing, invigorating voice," coach Lars Tiffany said. "He has the personality to lead no matter his status as a starter or backup. He's an integral member of our team despite not being a name anyone would have recognized two months ago."
He defines the cliché "trust the process." Trust the process and someday you will contribute. At 6-foot2, 210 pounds, Yozzo-Scaperotto is the classic multi-sport athlete in high school, who needed time to develop.
His physical style defines Brown. He has a big voice, is big fun and plays like a big man. "He has become our best short-stick defensive midfielder," said Tiffany.
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Quint Kessenich covers college sports for ESPN and writes weekly for The Baltimore Sun during lacrosse season.
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