After taking a look at the Division I schools in Maryland, let’s take a spin with the Division III teams. Today’s entry is the third of a week-long series taking a look at each of the seven Division III programs in this state according to alphabetical order. Tomorrow’s subject will be Salisbury, but today is McDaniel’s turn.
Overview: In three years under coach Matt Hatton's tenure, the Green Terror has compiled a 23-22 record with one appearance in the Centennial Conference Tournament. Qualifying for that tournament is the objective this year and beyond. The graduation of seven starters would seem to post a huge roadblock, but Hatton is confident and hopeful that the team has enough firepower to fill the void left behind.
Reason for optimism: It never hurts when last year's leading scorer returns as a preseason All-American candidate as senior attackman and McDonogh graduate Gibbs Preston (team highs with 34 goals and 32 assists) is doing. Preston will be flanked by sophomore and Boys' Latin graduate D.J. Rickels (23, 6). The third spot was occupied by junior Deane Mellor (11, 7), but he underwent surgery on his ankle during the offseason and hasn't practiced in the fall or winter. Sophomore J.S. Duke and freshman Zach Woods (Boys' Latin) are in line for the third starter's position. "The attack is probably our strength on offense," Hatton said. "We're going to have to have those guys step up."
Reason for pessimism: The graduation of Mike Hatton (32, 11) and Bill Warner (17, 23) gutted the midfield. Junior and Severna Park graduate Jed Barnes (4, 7) is the lone returning starter, and he will likely be joined by redshirt sophomore Nick DiBernardo (Calvert Hall) and freshman Skippy Clary (Catonsville). But can all three fill the stats sheet the way Hatton and Warner did? "We don't have one guy who's going to come in and score 40 points from the midfield," Matt Hatton said. "It's going to be by the numbers. ... It's not going to be quite as individualistic as it was last year. We're going to hopefully have the scoring spread out and let different guys do different things for us."
Keep an eye on: The competition to succeed goalkeeper Kenny McHugh has boiled down to senior K.R. Schultz and sophomore Brad Motley. Motley, a Fallston product, is fundamentally sounder in the net, while Schultz is the excitable leader. "We're just letting them battle to see who's going to rise to the top," Hatton said. "I feel pretty comfortable in that position. It's just a matter of one of those two guys taking the job by the reins, and that's going to play itself out."
What he said: On improving on last year's finish -- a 9-8 loss to Haverford in the Centennial Conference Tournament semifinals -- Hatton said, "We'd like to figure out a way to get into the NCAA Tournament. Our conference is certainly a challenging conference, and you need to put yourself in a situation where you're playing on Sunday in our conference tournament. So first and foremost, we need to figure out a way to get into the top four like we did this past year."