With a new season comes new leadership for St. John's and the Johnnies have selected their captains.
“We are very excited about the 2012 season,” St. John's coach Derek Daehn said. “A big part of that is our captains for this year.”
Lucas Gellerman – Senior – long-stick midfielder and 2011 MCLA 2nd team All-American: Luke has been a standout defender since arriving at St. John’s his freshman year. Gellerman made an instant impact during his first two years with the Johnnies being named to both the 2009 and 2010 MCLA All-Tournament Team in Denver, Colo.
“I have pushed Lucas to get better every year," Daehn said. "He has always led by example but this year he has taken it to the next level and should continue to shutdown the MCLA’s top talent at midfield.” said Daehn.
Gellerman also knows he will need to give his all during the 2012 season for the Johnnies.
"Although we have had success in the three years I've been playing at St. John's, I feel that we have underachieved in all 3 of those seasons," Gellerman said. "This is my last chance to dance and I truly feel confident that we have the key pieces in place to make it happen.”
Alexander Fulton – Senior – midfielder and the only returning captain from the 2011 season. Since coming to St. John's from Mahtomedi High School (Mahtomedi, Minn.), Fulton has worked to become one of the best offensive players in the program's history.
Through three seasons and 44 games, Fulton has amassed 104 points (63 goals, 41 assists) and the Johnnies expect him to continue the high-scoring production.
“Alex has been a very consistent player for us each year," St. John's assistant head coach Kyle Klossner said. "He has drawn the opponent's best defensemen as an attackman the past two seasons. We are excited for a big year for him (at midfield).”
While Fulton is changing positions on the field, his passion for his team holds steady.
"St. John's has always be recognized for its lacrosse program but the past few seasons we have fallen short of our team's potential at the national tournament," Fulton said. "We have great group of returning players, and, with the talent and work ethic of our incoming freshmen, we have the potential to make a run in the national tournament this May."
Tyler Safranek – Senior – midfielder and undoubtedly the team’s workhorse.
When he arrived in Collegeville four years ago, Safranek was a defenseman. A need for defensive midfielders drove him to pick up a short-stick and Safranek has excelled ever since.
“Tyler has done it all since arriving at St. John’s,” Klossner said. "Except for jumping in-between the pipes."
Safranek was the bright spot in the Johnnies' season-ending loss to Dayton during the MCLA National Tournament. In the quarterfinal game, Safranek tallied five of the eight total goals scored by St. John's.
"The only thing we truly have any control over during each season is the amount of work we put into being the best team in the nation," Safranek said. "In my lacrosse career, I’ve never been on a team that’s worked so hard as this one. I’m confident this hard work will translate to goals and stout defense when it counts."
Michael King – Junior – goaltender and 2011 MCLA 3rd Team All-American.
While the postseason honor was a welcomed one, players and fans alike questioned King's spot on the All-American list.
“Mike outplayed the 2011 MCLA 1st team All-American (goaltender) in both matchups last season,” Daehn said. “I expect Mike to be a vocal leader of our defense.”
Earning respect from performance and attitude, King is up to the challenge.
"We have guys bringing it everyday and the results are clear," King said. "We will have more guys carrying the load across the board – that's offense, defense, physicality, groundballs, and leadership alike – than any team I've seen at this level so far. That said, the MCLA and UMLL are both getting better by leaps and bounds every year.
"We have our work cut out for us, but I like to think we're getting better faster than everyone else."
St. John’s opens the season with a scrimmage against Minnesota State University - Mankato on Friday, Feb. 24, at the Vadnais Heights Dome, in Vadnais Heights, Minn.
“Our season is a little shorter than years past," Daehn said. "But we have a tough schedule facing Davenport University and Grand Valley State University as well as our rivalry game against the University of St. Thomas.
"We're excited and ready to get going.”