Saturday afternoon, Connecticut College and sixth ranked Middlebury College will renew their rivalry in the season opener for both sides in Middlebury, Vt.
Under the direction of Head Coach Dave Cornell, the Camels have qualified for the NCAA Championship in 2010 and 2012.
As he celebrates his 10th season at the helm of the program this spring, Cornell will count on the leadership and experience of senior Bobby Bleistein (pictured) in goal. Bleistein, a 2013 USILA All-American, has made 571 saves in his first three years with the program to rank fifth on the program's all-time leader list.
The Camels return experience at the face-off midfield position. Sophomore Ben Parens garnered All-NESCAC honors in a productive rookie campaign that saw him win 62% (195-for-313) of his battles at the X, collecting a team-best 110 ground balls to lead the Camels and rank fourth in the NESCAC.
On offense, five of Cornell's top six scorers return to the turf. Junior Ross Thompson is a skilled attackman, who posted a team-best 41 points in 2015, scoring 21 goals and assisting on 20 others. Senior attackman Max Luing (12 goals, 3 assists, 15 points) and junior midfielder John Cunningham (10 goals, 4 assists, 27 gbs) are reliable players in Cornell's rotation. Sophomore midfielder Tucker Mscisz (13 goals) and junior Max King (8 goals, 4 assists) provided valuable contributions in 2015.
Senior midfielders Wyatt Tompkins (6 goals, 5 assists) and Penn Sednaoui (3 goals, 6 assists, 19 ground balls) are experienced players for the Camels, who can execute in transition and unsettled situations.
In the defensive midfield, sophomore AJ Vazquez gained valuable experience in his rookie campaign, collecting 16 ground balls while inducing three turnovers.
On close defense, senior Evan Gaudio (12 gb, 5 ct) along with juniors Tim Covel (7 gb, 5 ct) and Cormack Mulshine (13 gb, 4 ct) and sophomore Reid Leveillee (12 gb, 5 ct) have all contributed significant minutes in the back.
The best news for Camels fans this year is that they can catch plenty of action right here in New London. After playing10 games on the road a year ago, Cornell and the Camels will host nine games here in the Whaling City this spring.
The Camels would also like to congratulate All-American midfielder Chris Capone '97 M '02 on his upcoming induction into the Connecticut College Athletic Hall of Fame.
After opening the season in the Green Mountain State against Middlebury Saturday, the Camels return home to New London to take on Vassar College in their home opener Wednesday at 4.