After earning five wins in its inaugural season, the Utah lacrosse team looks to continue growing in year two.
"We're in our second year but we're in our fourth year as a program and we have seen continued development of culture and leadership," head coach Brain Holman said. "There seems to be much more intent, and I think the team understands what it takes every day to be a Utah lacrosse player. Are we more talented? I would hope so, but you don't know until you go out there and play somebody. Most important is the willingness of the guys to exhibit the lifestyle of a Utah lacrosse player. For us as a staff, that's the most important aspect of this whole thing and all else will grow from there. You can be as talented as you want, but if you don't have that, you're still going to be fighting an uphill battle."
"Our goal is to get better every single week," Holman continued. "To avoid the roller coaster feeling of taking two steps forward and one step back. If we can do that then the games will figure themselves out. I think last year we did a really good job of that, but last year there was a period where we definitely regressed."
Utah returns 21 players from last year's team, several who played a key role in the Utes' first NCAA season. The team captains for the season are junior goalie Liam Donnelly, senior midfield Aaron Fjeldsted, junior defense Seth Neeleman, senior attack Jimmy Perkins and junior attack Josh Stout.
Utah returns the majority of its offense. Josh Stout led Utah last year with 43 goals and finished second on the team with 48 points, recording five assists. His 2.87 goals per game ranked 22nd in the NCAA. Senior James Sexton scored a team-high 49 points and 25 assists, finishing second on the team with 24 goals. His 13 points vs. Detroit Mercy ranks tied for seventh all-time for the most points in a game in the NCAA record book and was the most in the NCAA in 2019. Perkins tied for second on the team with 24 goals and ranked third on the team with 31 points despite struggling with injuries. Sophomore Branden Wilson finished third on the team with nine assists last year and also had seven goals for 16 points. The Utes pick up a strong graduate transfer in Colin Burke, who scored 144 points (89 goals, 55 assists) over three seasons at Fairfield (2016-18). He was an honorable mention All-American as a freshman, 2016 CAA Co-Player of the Year and two-time All-CAA.
Aaron Fjeldsted ranked fourth on the team last year with 24 points, coming in second on the team with 13 assists and fourth with 11 goals. Several sophomores gained valuable experience last season as freshmen. Jonathan Rose had four groundballs and two caused turnovers last year. Ruben Santana had eight ground balls and four caused turnovers. Jack Zarnik scored six points last year with five assists. Easton Cecil and Steele Headden both had a role on the field last season. Sophomore Jack Barron transfers to Utah from Furman, where he scored six points (three goals, three assists) over 10 games last season.
At long stick midfielder, sophomore Rylan Lemons played in eight games last season with three groundballs. Sophomore Carter McDaniels played in 12 games with four ground balls and five caused turnovers.
Sophomore Sammy Cambere led Utah with 20 caused turnovers and finished second on the team with 52 ground balls. He was named to the College Crosse All-Freshman Team. Seth Neeleman led Utah with 54 ground balls and finished second on the team with 16 caused turnovers. Sophomore Nick Hapney was third on the team last year with 11 caused turnovers and had 16 ground balls. Senior Dan Tracy had five ground balls and two caused turnovers. Sophomore Dominic Mata played in nine games last season.
Liam Donnelly started 14 games in goal last year. His 11.86 saves per game ranked 24th in the NCAA (166 total saves) and he had a 13.41 goals allowed average. Sophomore Zack Johns played in one game last year and made six saves. Freshman Bryce Cheek also returns after redshirting last year.
Sophomore Donny Stock went 51-of-144 in face offs last year (.354 percentage) with 18 ground balls. A pair of newcomers will bolster the ranks of the faceoff crew. Freshman Cole Brams was a U.S. Lacrosse All-American at Portsmouth High School (N.H.) and won 95-percent of his faceoffs as a senior. Kellen Hoke of Skyline High School (Wash.) also earned U.S. Lacrosse All-America honors. Also available for faceoffs are Neeleman, who went 55-of-175 last year (.314), as well as Cambere (5-of-21, .238).
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The Lacrosse Network's "Going West" provided an inside look at the Utah lacrosse program as it prepared for the transition to NCAA Division I in 2019. The Utes became the most western team in college lacrosse, and the video series focuses on the coaches and local leaders who pioneered the way.
We're live with Head Coach Brian Holman as Utah Lacrosse transitions to a varsity sport on July 1! #goutesPosted by The University of Utah Athletics on Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Head coach Brian Holman joins Utah Athletics on Facebook live to talk about his journey to Utah and his plans for building the Ute program in the coming years.
Veteran coach Brian Holman is in his second season as Utah’s head coach. He is in his fourth year overall with the program, leading the Utes’ transition from club to NCAA competition.
Holman brings coaching experience with lacrosse powers Johns Hopkins and North Carolina to the Utes. Utah went 5-10 in its inaugural NCAA season in 2019.
Holman took his first collegiate head-coaching job with Utah’s club lacrosse team in 2017. He was named Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference Coach of the Year after leading the Utes to the 2018 RMLC Championship. Utah finished 16-1 overall in 2018 and had seven All-Americans and nine all-conference selections and finished fifth in the final coaches poll. The Utes made appearances in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association tournament both years of his club tenure, making just their second appearance in his first season in 2017 and earning a No. 10 ranking that year.
Before moving West, Holman spent eight years as an assistant coach at North Carolina (2009-16). Holman helped lead the Tar Heels to the 2016 NCAA Championship as well as the 2013 ACC Championship. UNC competed in the NCAA Tournament every year during his tenure and finished in the top 10 of the national rankings seven times, including a No. 1 ranking in 2013.
Holman served as the goalkeeper coach and defensive coordinator at Johns Hopkins from 1987-1990 and again from 1999-2000. The Blue Jays won the 1987 NCAA Championship. Goalkeeper Quint Kessenich (1987-90) was a four-time All-American, including earning first team honors twice during his career, and twice earned the national outstanding goalie award.
Holman was a three-time All-American as a player at Johns Hopkins from 1980-83. Hopkins won the 1980 NCAA Championship and finished as the runners up from 1981-83, recording a 50-7 record during his career. Holman’s .6288 career save percentage ranks third all-time in the Blue Jays record book and he had 432 career saves.
Holman has been involved in lacrosse for 40 years as a player, coach, and parent. The Maryland native and his wife Laurie have three children: Matt, Marcus and Sydney.
Professional lacrosse all-star goalie Adam Ghitelman is in his second season as an assistant coach at Utah. He is in his fourth year overall with the program, assisting with the transition from club to NCAA competition.
Ghitelman first made his way West as head coach of USC’s club program in 2016. He began his college coaching career at Harvard, spending four years with the Crimson (2012-15) and helping the team win the 2014 Ivy League Championship.
In the Premier Lacrosse League's inaugural season in 2019, Ghitelman had a 51.2 save percentage with 79 saves for Archers LC. He was nominated for the Jimmy Regan Teammate Award. Ghitelman previously played eight seasons in Major League Lacrosse with Atlanta (2016-18), Boston (2015), Charlotte (2012-14) and Denver (2011) after being selected in the eighth round of the 2011 draft. He is a two-time MLL all star (2012, 2017). He has also competed with Team USA, helping the U.S. win the 2008 ILF U-19 World Championship.
Ghitelman was a two-time All-American at Virginia and helped lead the Cavaliers to the 2011 NCAA Championship. He played four years at UVA (2008-11) and his 586 career saves ranks in the top 10 in ACC history and second all-time at Virginia.
Ghitelman is a co-founder of the Give and Go Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes international lacrosse growth and development, as well as G3 Lacrosse, which puts on goaltender camps and clinics throughout the country. He has traveled internationally to over 10 countries to teach and grow the game and was named the 2017 Ambassador of the Year by the Casey Powell World Lacrosse Foundation. Ghitelman is an active volunteer with Lacrosse the Nations and Fields of Growth, teaching the game overseas, and has worked with City Lacrosse in Southern California.
A native of Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y, Ghitelman earned degrees in psychology and economics from Virginia in 2011.
Professional lacrosse all-star Will Manny is in his second season as an assistant coach at Utah. He is in his fourth year overall with the program, assisting with the transition from club to NCAA competition.
Manny began his college coaching career at Wagner College and ran the offense during two seasons with the Seahawks (2015-16). Wagner set a school record for wins both years.
A five-time professional all-star (2019 PLL, 2015-18 MLL), Manny led the league in the inaugural Premier Lacrosse League season with 35 goals and 50 points for Archers LC. Manny competed six seasons in Major League Lacrosse and ranked among the top 10 in the league in points his last four years in the league. He was a nominee for the 2018 MLL Man of the Year Award, named the New York Lizards Offensive Player of the Year and was also named All-Star Game MVP after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime.
He was originally drafted in the second round by Boston in 2013 and spent four seasons with the Cannons before being traded to New York midway through 2017. Manny was named Boston’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016 after leading the team in points and was the team’s Most Valuable Player in 2016 when he also led the team in goals. Manny was part of the 50-man training roster for Team USA leading up to the 2018 World Games.
Manny earned first-team All-America honors and was one of five finalists for the 2012 Tewaarton Trophy. The 2012 Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year helped lead UMass to an undefeated regular season, No. 1 national ranking and CAA Tournament title that season while totaling 77 points (44 goals, 33 assists). The four-time All-CAA player (first team in 2012) was also the 2010 CAA Rookie of the Year. He was also the 2012 New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Player of the Year and a three-time first-team All-NEILA player.
A native of Long Island, N.Y., Manny earned his degree from UMass in resource economics in 2013 and received his MBA in management from Wagner College in 2016.
Professional lacrosse all-star Marcus Holman is in his second season as volunteer assistant coach at Utah. He is in his fourth year overall with the program, assisting with the transition from club to NCAA competition.
Holman is a six-time professional all-star (2019 PLL; 2014, 2018 Team USA; 2016-17 MLL). He led the Premier Lacrosse League in its inaugural season in 2019 for Archers LC with 23 regular season goals, had seven assists for 32 points, was nominated for the Eamon McEneaney Attackman of the Year award and earned All-Pro honors. Including postseason, he had 33 total goals to finish second in the league. Holman competed six seasons in Major League Lacrosse for the Ohio Machine after being drafted in the second round in 2013. He helped lead the Machine to the 2017 MLL Championship and was named Most Valuable Player.
Holman helped Team USA win gold at the 2018 FIL World Lacrosse Championship in Israel, finishing second on the team with 17 goals scored. He also helped the U.S. win a silver medal at the 2014 World Championships and was part of the bronze-medal winning team at the 2015 World Indoor Lacrosse Championship.
Holman was a three-time All-American at North Carolina, earning first-team honors as a senior in 2013. He was one of five finalists for the 2013 Tewaaraton Trophy. The 2013 ACC Player of the Year, Holman was two-time All-ACC (2012-13) and earned league rookie of the year honors as a freshman in 2010. He led the Tar Heels to the 2013 ACC Championship and was the tournament MVP while his 80 points that year led the ACC and ranks second all-time in a season at UNC. Holman finished his career with 213 points, which at the time broke a 40-year old school record and currently ranks second all-time in the Tar Heel record book.
After graduating from UNC Holman co-founded Attack 101 Lacrosse, hosting camps and clinics. He served as an assistant coach at Durham Academy (2014-15) and Cary Academy (2016) along with coaching at Bucktown Lacrosse, a club program in Raleigh, N.C.
Holman, who is originally from Baltimore, Md., earned his degree from North Carolina in communication studies in 2013. He is the son of Utah head lacrosse coach Brian Holman.
Former collegiate All-American Tim McDermott is in his second season as Director of Operations for the Utah lacrosse team, handling many of the day-to-day logistics of running a program.
McDermott also works as a mental performance coach. He previously spent two seasons as an assistant coach and Director of Operations with Utah’s club team. McDermott was a volunteer assistant at Virginia for two years (2013-14), helping the face-off specialists and goalies. He also worked with players at Cortland State (2012) and Deep Run High School in Richmond, Va. (2011-12) as well as Loyola (Md.).
McDermott was a two-time All-American at SUNY Geneseo. The two-time first-team All-SUNYAC player (2006-07) ranked second in the NCAA in face-off win percentage (.726, 241-of-332) as a sophomore in 2006. McDermott transferred to Loyola University Maryland for his senior season and ranked ninth in the NCAA with a .586 face-off win percentage (109-of-186).
McDermott was a reserve player for Major League Lacrosse’s Chicago Machine, playing in one game in 2010. The Cortland, N.Y., native earned a degree in business administration from SUNY Geneseo in 2007 and an MBA from Loyola in 2010.