It’s an axiom that’s repeated all throughout sports: Good teams don’t rebuild, they reload.
Sure, Salem State lost four key seniors, but they gained three transfers, two of whom have already proven themselves in MASCAC play.
“They’re just quality players,” said Salem coach Bill O’Neill, who is entering his 30th season in charge of the Vikings. “We’ll see how it develops.”
Joining the Vikings this year are sophomore Chris Costigan (Fitchburg State), junior Giancarlo Capodanno (Mass.-Dartmouth), and senior Josh Franklin, who played for three years at D-I Vermont. Costigan and Caopdanno each scored double digit goals last season, checking in with 30 and 22 points, respectively.
On top of the transfers, O’Neill’s squad will return senior goalie James LaCour (2.82, .906) , who was lost for the season after sustaining a concussion against Southern Maine on Dec. 10.
However, LaCour’s loss far from doomed the Vikings, as current sophomore Sam Avoine (2.28, .905) stepped in and ensured Salem State didn’t miss a beat the rest of the way.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever experienced that,” O’Neill said of losing his goalie midway through the season. “It really shakes up a team.”
In addition to LaCour and Avoine, the Vikings return sophomore Andrew Knight, as well as newcomer Ryan Sutliffe, who comes to the Vikings from the Helena Big Horns.
On offense, the Vikings return sophomores Casey Terreri (10-21) and conference rookie of the year Nick Lampson (17-13), along with senior Mike Genovese (11-6), who scored the game-winning goal against Fitchburg State in the MASCAC championship. Sam Cannata (1-14), who was member of the MASCAC second team as junior, returns on the blue line.
“We have a lot of guys back and a really good nucleus,” O’Neill said. “We’re looking forward to putting the team together. We’ve got good competition in terms of the number of players.”
While he’s encouraged about the Vikings depth, O’Neill recognizes his team may have to make some adjustments.
“Anytime you take four seniors out of the lineup, you’re going to try and do some of the same things, but maybe you’re going to have to do them differently. We’re going to try to get on the same page. We want to be competitive nationally on the Division III level.”