Monmouth University Finalizes Incoming 2014 Class

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. - First-year Monmouth University men’s lacrosse head coach Brian Fisher announced the final group of incoming student-athletes who will comprise the Hawks' roster and compete for the Blue and White in 2014. Fisher and assistant coach Andrew Geison have received commitments from incoming freshmen Dan Bloodgood (Jackson, N.J./Freehold Township), Neil Ruppert (Chester, Md./St. Mary's) and Ryan Wright (Jamesville, N.Y./Jamesville DeWitt), while transfers John Castellano (Scarsdale, N.Y./Iona Prep/Curry College), Ryan Horsch (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township/Brookdale C.C.), Zach Johannes (Sparta, N.J./Pope John XXIII/Franklin & Marshall), Jordan McElligott (Spencerport, N.Y./Spencerport/Genesee C.C.) and Ryan Schwartz (Corning, N.Y./Corning East/Onondaga C.C.) will join the program as well.

"I am excited to welcome the newest members of our inaugural class here at Monmouth," said Fisher. "This latest group of student-athletes will add some depth, experience and leadership to our first class.”

“Throughout the recruiting process this past year we spent our time getting to know each player in the class and found a group of student-athletes that possess the same drive, passion and vision that our staff and University have for the future of our program. This group that we spent our first year recruiting will comprise the core of our team for the next few years and I am looking forward to their arrival next month so that we can get to work."

A 2013 All-American, first-team all-state, First-Team All-Shore and lacrosse MVP at Freehold Township, Bloodgood set school records as a senior with 76 goals and 115 points, while notching a school-best 245 career points. Bloodgood, a four-year letterwinner in lacrosse, registered 152 career goals and 93 career assists for the Patriots, and competed in the Gill Gibbs All-State Game and the All-Shore Game in 2013. Bloodgood, who helped guide Freehold Township to a pair of division championships, including one in his senior campaign following a 15-3 record, was a Second-Team All-Shore and first-team all-division player in 2012. Bloodgood, who earned three varsity letters in football, was a first-team all-division player on the gridiron in 2012.

“Dan is a shore area player who comes from Freehold Township, a few miles from Monmouth," said Fisher. "He is an athletic and tough attack-man who played in the Shore Conference All Star game this past spring.”

Ruppert, a long-stick midfielder, played varsity lacrosse at St. Mary's High School in Annapolis, Maryland, and also earned varsity letters in wrestling, soccer and cross country.

“Neil is an athletic long stick midfielder who adds depth and skill to our defense," noted Fisher. "He plays with a lot of energy, has a very good stick and is very good off the ground.”

A four-year varsity letterwinner in lacrosse at Jamesville DeWitt High School, Wright helped lead the Red Rams to an undefeated (25-0), state championship season as a sophomore. Wright notched 21 goals and six assists as a junior, guiding JDHS to a 19-4 mark and a state semifinal appearance. Wright, who was part of a nationally-ranked program at JSHS in 2013, played with Team United club team and was a member of the Central Team for the Empire State Cup. Also a four-year varsity letterwinner as a quarterback on the football team, Wright led the 2012 squad to the Section 3 Championship Game in the Carrier Dome, behind an 11-1 record.

“Ryan comes from a very good program in Jamesville Dewitt and brings athleticism to our attack position," said Fisher. "He was the quarterback for his high school football team and is a natural QB on the lacrosse field as well.”

Castellano, who was a two-time second-team all-league performer at Curry College, netted 56 goals and 58 assists for 114 points in two seasons for the Colonels. A three-year varsity letterwinner at attack for Iona Prep, Castellano notched 111 career goals for the Gaels and was tabbed first-team all-league as a junior and senior. Castellano, who 105 goals and 81 assists (191 points) in his final two seasons at Iona Prep, was named the Attackman of the Year as a senior. Castellano, who played defensive back, also earned two varsity letters for the football team, which lost in the state semifinals in 2010 and advanced to the state championship game during his senior campaign.

Fisher said, “John is a versatile and smart lacrosse player who has a high lacrosse IQ. He has a very good skill set, sees the field very well and a knack for making plays around the goal.”

Horsch joins the Hawks after a very successful two-year stay at Brookdale Community College, where the Jersey Blues won consecutive Region 19 Championships and he was honored as a two-time First-Team All-Region 19 defenseman. A 2013 team captain, Horsch was the Region 19 Tournament MVP and BCC team MVP last year. A three-year varsity letterwinner in lacrosse at Freehold Township High School, Horsch compiled over 200 ground balls, 75 take-aways, 10 goals and six assists in his career. As a senior captain, Horsch recorded a team-best 82 ground balls and 42 take-aways, while being named First-Team All-A North, First-Team All-Shore and first-team all-district. A two-time A-North Division Champion, Horsch played in the 2011 Conference Senior All-Star Game.

“Ryan is one of our more dynamic defenders who can play close defense or at the LSM position," noted Fisher. "He spent the past two years playing at Brookdale and will provide leadership and athleticism to our team. He has a high lacrosse IQ and is more of a playmaking defender all over the field.”

Johannes, who appeared in every game in his two seasons at Franklin & Marshall, posted five goals, four assists and 27 ground balls, while being named the Freshman of the Year for the Diplomats in 2012. A four-year varsity lacrosse player and three-year starter at Pope John XXIII, Johannes was a two-time team captain to registered 84 goals and 67 assists during his tenure. A two-time First-Team All-New Jersey Herald selection, Johannes was named First-Team All-Risk Division, First-Team All-NJAC and second-team all-state. Also a two-year member of the football team, Johannes was a safety and wide receiver on the Lions' league championship team as a senior and posted an 11-0 league title season in 2008.

“Zach is a New Jersey native who was a two-time captain of his team at Pope John XXIII," said Fisher. "He is a pure athlete that will bring speed, athleticism and experience to the midfield for us.”

A first-team all-county defender at Spencerport High School, McElligott played two seasons at Genesee Community College in Batavia, New York, where he helped lead the Cougars to a combined 29-7 record and consecutive Final Four appearances. McElligott was named first-team all-region back-to-back years as well.

“Jordan is an all-around solid defenseman from another very good junior college program," noted Fisher. "He plays good team defense, has a good stick in the clearing game and relies on good positioning making him hard to get by.”

Schwartz, whose Onondaga Community College team set a record with 70 consecutive wins, won back-to-back NJCAA National Championships in 2012 and 2013. A four-year varsity letterwinner at Corning East High School, Schwartz was part of a program that went a combined 67-15, as the attackman was a two-time all-section pick and the 2011 Team Offensive MVP.

Fisher said, “Ryan brings a wealth of experience from one of the most highly recognized names in the junior college ranks. He has good hands, finishes in tight spaces around the goal and brings poise, leadership and skill to the attack position.”

Monmouth, which will start Division I men's lacrosse action in 2014, is a private, mid-sized, coeducational, comprehensive University founded in 1933. It serves residential and commuter students in eight schools and is less than a mile from the Atlantic Ocean on the Jersey Shore in West Long Branch, New Jersey. The 156-acre campus features 54 buildings, including historic landmarks and state-of-the-art facilities.

On December 14, 2012, Monmouth University announced its acceptance of the invitation of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) to join the conference, effective July 1, 2013. Monmouth, which fields 21 NCAA Division I athletic teams, will begin competition in the MAAC during the 2013-14 academic year.

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