WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – In just its second season of men’s lacrosse, Monmouth University finished its 2015 campaign with six victories and a league postseason berth behind a nationally-ranked defense, guided by senior goalkeeper Garrett Conaway (Marriottsville, Md./Liberty), who led the nation in save percentage and ranked third in goals-against-average.
The Hawks, who finished 6-8 overall, while claiming the No. 4 seed in the MAAC postseason tournament under second-year head coach Brian Fisher, finished fourth in the NCAA in scoring defense, allowing 7.64 goals per game (the NCAA leader was national champion runner-up Maryland [7.05]). In addition, the Blue & White ranked eighth in man-down defense (.717) and 18th in saves per game (11.86).
“Coach [Andrew] Geison has done a great job working with and developing our defensive personnel since we began two years ago,” stated Fisher. “Under his direction, the attitude and work ethic that they brought to practice certainly set the tone each day.”
“I have to give credit to our guys themselves as one of the main reasons behind our success,” Fisher added. “The defensive personnel and all of our midfielders recognized that it was an area that we could be very good at and bought into our style of play.”
Conaway, a First Team All-MAAC goalkeeper, and the 2015 MAAC Defensive Player of the Year, led the NCAA with his .614 save-percentage and ranked third in goals-against-average (7.49). Conaway, who made double-digit saves in 10 of the Hawks’ 14 games this season, was named to the USILA North-South All-Star Game.
Fisher noted, “Garrett is very talented and was great in the cage for us all year. Having someone in the net who can steal saves at any moment not only takes pressure off of your defense but also can make it difficult for the opposing team to gain any momentum.”
Fisher added, “The experience and overall gains that our guys made over their first year also had a lot do with our cohesiveness, communication, poise and overall effectiveness this past spring on the defensive side of the ball.”
Monmouth, selected seventh in the preseason poll and with a roster of 37 underclassmen, picked up the program’s first victory in 2015 with a 10-9 win at Rutgers on February 28, its first MAAC triumph with a 5-4 win over preseason favorite Siena on March 21 and qualified for the program’s first postseason. Joining Conaway on All-MAAC teams were senior defenseman Ryan Horsch (Freehold, N.J./Freehold), who was added to the Second Team, while attackman Bryce Wasserman (Southlake, Texas/Grapevine Faith) and midfielder Dylan Schulte (Southampton, N.J./Bridgeton Academy) were named All-Rookie.
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