The 2020 Season is just around the corner and that means it\'s time to start looking at how conferences around the area are going to shape up! As the first conference to have the preseason form filed out, we are going to start with the Boy\'s South Wake Athletic Conference (SWAC).
Historically, this has been one of THE most competitive conferences in the state. Since the NCHSAA has sanctioned lacrosse, a member of the SWAC has represented the East Region for six (6) of the ten (10) seasons. The last couple years have seen a shift in the teams with Green Hope, Panther Creek, and Athens Drive moving to the Tri-7 conference. This year they also have lost Fuquay-Varina.
That leaves just 5 schools left in a once 9-team conference: Apex, Apex Friendship, Garner, Holly Springs, and 3-time defending conference champion Middle Creek.
Apex comes off as second place finish in the SWAC in 2019. They will enter the 2020 season without their two leading scorers in Christian Ceccini (72pts, Tampa) and Carter White (75pts). Additionally they will be without do-it-all midfielder Preston Lallicker (VMI).
Despite the losses the Cougars return some very pivotal pieces in senior goalie Zach Vigue (Richmond), attackman DJ Batton (62pts), and a pair of Air Force commits in midfielder Gabe Swanson and defender Matt Gulley.
On Top of their home/away matchups with Middle Creek and Holly Springs, the Apex non-conference schedule includes Page, East Chapel Hill, and Myers Park.
Friendship comes off a winning season in which they were lead by, now junior, attackman Jack Flynt\'s (51pts). The Patriots will have to go without Dan Ritcey (128 career points) and Dominic Miracola (115 career points). Friendship will also have to fill a big hole in goal after graduating two seniors who combined for over 200 saves in 2019.
The 2020 team will be lead by senior Zach Criddle (20G/11A) and junior Zach Umstead (73GB). They will look to Jack Parker and Jake Mullins to step up and support Flynt on offense. Umstead will lead the defense along with Austin Tingin and Connor McElroy.
The Patriots have big non-conference games against Jordan, Heritage, and Panther Creek.
Garner finished 3-15 in 2019, enduring the brutal schedule that comes with playing in the SWAC. The Trojans graduated 5 key players including their entire back line of defense and leading scorer Conner Kocher (50pts).
This year the Trojans will look to Juniors Tyler Leighton (23pts) and Avery Benjamin (19pts) to lead the offense. Senior Ricky Canavan will be tapped to lead a young defense in the 2020 season.
Garner has non-conference match-ups against Wake Forest, Sanderson, Fuquay-Varina, and a home/away series with cross-town rival South Garner.
Holly Springs comes into the 2020 season after ending 2019 at 8-7. The Golden Hawks return all seven of eight of their leading scorers from the 2019 campaign. Sophomore Nick Calleri will look to follow up his All-Freshman performance and build on his 61 point season. Senior Colin Butler and Junior Kolson Huff round out a solid offensive unit.
Defensively, Holly Springs returns a strong core lead by senior, and Marist commit, Noah Arneson. He will be flanked by Loyola commit Joey Annetta, his younger brother Josh, and Senior William Schwab returns between the pipes.
Sophomore Luke Popow returns as the Hawks leading face-off specialist after a 66% Freshman campaign.
Holly Springs has a strong non-conference schedule including games against Wakefield, Heritage, Leesville, and East Chapel Hill.
Middle creek enters 2020 as 3-time defending SWAC champions. However this will be the first time in five years the Mustangs won\'t have someone named Caputo in the line up. Jake Caputo (107pts) has moved on to Duke. This will also be the first time they will be without stellar Face-Off Specialist Graham Schwartz (UNC) and gritty attacker David Baird.
Returning for the Mustangs is Seniors Ben Lever (Furman) and Nate Greenberg (52pts, Hobart) to lead the defense and offense, respectively. Tate Jones (74pts) will look to play an even bigger part of the offense after a stellar Freshman campaign. Seniors Lance Skelton(G) and Luke McDonald will partner with Lever to create a very experienced defensive unit.
The Mustangs match up in big non-conference games against: Broughton, Lambert (GA), RJ Reynolds, Northwest Guilford, and Jordan.
Pre-Season Conference Ranking:
- Middle Creek
- Holly Springs
- Apex Friendship
It is a good show of camaraderie that the entire SWAC has scheduled former conference foe Fuquay-Varina!
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