After lining up primarily as a short-stick defensive midfielder in his first two years for the Mount St. Mary’s men’s lacrosse program, Jack Mangan opened this past spring as a starter on the offensive midfield.
But after the first two games of the season, the junior was shifted back to defense. He led the Mountaineers in caused turnovers with 21, ranked second in ground balls with 50, and added nine goals and four assists. Coach Tom Gravante would have preferred to keep Mangan on offense, but recognized that he was more valuable in aiding the team’s clearing game and transition offense.
“I thought we pushed the ball in situations we shouldn’t have pushed it in or we took bad or low-angled shots that we shouldn’t have taken,” Gravante said. “So I moved Jack down there to shake things up a bit so that guys would wake up because it put them on the hot seat. We tried as best we could with the guys we had at short-stick to take care of business. It worked offensively, but we ended up suffering defensively. So I had to get Jack back down there to really do what he’s best at, which is creating situations from defense to offense. He’s a ground ball machine, he never takes a play off, he doesn’t quit.”
That being said, Gravante said he has not abandoned his plan of eventually converting Mangan – who was named the team’s Most Valuable Player of the Year for the second year in a row – into a full-time contributor on offense.
“I still would like Jack to play offense for us, but I just know how valuable he is at that end of the field and especially on faceoffs,” Gravante said. “We just can’t do that just yet until we have more guys develop and have that mentality that he has. It’s coming. It’s just going to take some time with the kids.”