Editor’s note: After the success of our “Growing the Program” series last year, we knew we had to follow up with another league-wide update. So, this Fall we’re hitting the streets in search of new information about teams around the MCLA. We’re asking questions about try-outs, players to watch, team promotion, coaching changes and everything this side of the Mississippi. With that, here come our Fall Ball Reports!
Each report will feature a different MCLA team, touching on the importance of Fall Ball and anticipation of the 2012 season – which is just a few months away!
Today we’re speaking with Coach Michael Shanhals of Hope College.
MCLA Fan: How many players attended team tryouts this Fall?
Coach Shanhals: 27.
What is your team’s Fall practice schedule?
We have twelve dates within five weeks including a mini camp, one scrimmage, and an alumni game. We also have voluntary drop ins once a week.
What is your team’s Fall game/tournament schedule?
October 14 we scrimmage Central Michigan University, and on October 15th we have our alumni game and that concludes our official fall activities.
What aspect(s) of your team do you hope to most improve upon from last year?
We hope to improve on our performance vs. top teams. Losing to Davenport, Grand Valley, and Briarcliffe was difficult last year and we have work to do to try to get competitive with those types of programs.
Who are the top 5 players we should be paying attention to this season?
#21 Will Franken will move to attack this year from O middie last season… Will was our third leading scorer behind Weber and Campbell. We are looking forward to seeing what Will can do this season.
#18 Ben Weber is our returning goalie. He is a sophomore out of Ann Arbor, MI and is a dynamic performer between the pipes.
#6 Caleb Digison will be another solid returner for us. He has looked very good this fall after playing box lacrosse all summer.
#31 Michael Schofield returns to take faceoffs for us again and he will anchor us at defensive midfield.
#4 Keegan Aguilera is our senior captain and he has led the way for us so far with our team goals.
Josh Kamstra will get a chance to play with his younger brother Jake Kamstra and when Josh gets healthy we are looking forward to seeing the brothers on the field together.
Have there been any changes to your coaching staff? If so, please fill us in…
Allen Campbell joins the coaching staff this year. After a stellar career as a player we are looking forward to having him in the coaching ranks. We are anticipating that Andy Palkowski will move to take over the reigns of a local high program.
What are you doing to promote your program on campus and in the community?
With the school announcing our move to NCAA DIII status we are very excited to be hosting more recruits and looking to grow our program.
What are your program’s top 3 goals for the upcoming 2012 season?
1. Emphasize the team, team, team.
2. Enjoy each day at practice and work hard to become better players.
3. Perform well in the CCLA and hopefully get back to the MCLA Tournament.
Thanks for speaking with us, Coach Shanhals. Good luck this season!