Pace Men’s Lacrosse: Season Preview


NE10 Men’s Lacrosse Preseason Coaches’ Poll (Twitter: @TheNortheast10)

Amine Kassaoui, Feature Editor


PLEASANTVILLE, NY –  The Pace University men’s lacrosse season officially starts in three weeks, on Feb. 28 at home, while the preseason commences this Saturday, Feb. 11, also from the friendly confines of Pace Stadium.


Pace plays two scrimmages prior to the start of the regular-season, one at home and one on the road. The Setters host Western New England University this Saturday at noon, then are on the road the following Saturday, Feb. 18, for a 2 p.m. meeting with Amherst College.


Pace ranked #4 in the Northeast-10 Conference preseason Coaches’ Poll and #13 in the national United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Division II Preseason Poll. The three teams ahead of Pace in the conference are Le Moyne, Adelphi, and Saint Anselm.

Three Setters were named preseason USILA All-Americans: Attacker Jake Veres, midfielder Anthony Caputo, and goalie Louis Ragusa.


Pace will compete in 14 regular-season contests, 10 of which will be conference matchups.

Qualification for the NE10 Championships will be based solely on the team’s conference record, while a potential a NCAA Tournament berth will factor in the squad’s overall mark. Four of Pace’s first five games will be versus non-conference opponents, followed by nine straight NE10 battles.

The Setters’ regular season begins with a home opener against Molloy on Feb. 28. The NE10 portion of the season starts in Pleasantville as well, with a March 15 tilt with Saint Michael’s.

The major test of the season presents itself in the form of a three-game stretch in late March/early April that is bookended by encounters with two top-five nationally ranked programs, perennial powerhouses Le Moyne and Adelphi.

On March 28 the 15-time NE10 Champion Dolphins pay a visit to Pace Stadium. After an Apr. 1 trip to Southern New Hampshire University, the defending champion Adelphi University Panthers welcome the Setters to Motamed Field in Garden City, N.Y. The Dolphins and Panthers were last season’s championship finalists.

The end of the regular season brings forth back-to-back home matchups with Pace’s eternal rivals, Bentley University (Apr. 15) and Saint Anselm College (Apr. 19), followed by the finale at The College of Saint Rose (Apr. 22).


The Blue & Gold went 11-4 in 2022, which was their third most wins in school history. Pace succumbed to Bentley in the NE10 Quarterfinals, 7-3. The team was hit with a rash of key injuries late in the season which derailed their momentum heading into the postseason.


Graduate student Louis Ragusa, one of the greatest players in Pace men’s lacrosse history, will be the starting goalkeeper in the final season of an amazing career. The ultimate ironman has started every single game for the Setters since the very first contest of his freshman campaign in 2019, a season in which the Yorktown Heights resident was named the NE10 Rookie of the Year.

Ragusa has won 31 of his 47 starts, has been named to an All-Conference team every season of his career, has saved 523 shots, and has spent 2,525 minutes in the cage for Pace, the equivalent of 42 hours.

The defensive line features Bryan Viglione, Jake Meeker, Ryan Mimnaugh, Nick Honan, and Chris Caputo, who will all be responsible for fortifying the wall in front of Ragusa.


Junior face-off specialist Max Streety takes the reins at the circle for Pace this season. The Buffalo-raised student-athlete has won 53% of the face-offs he has partaken in for the Blue & Gold, while scoring five goals and distributing two assists. Streety looks to have put on an impressive 10-15 pounds of muscle since last season.

The midfield will be anchored by senior Anthony Caputo, another former NE10 Rookie of the Year, and one of the bona fide leaders on the squad. Caputo is coming off a season in which the Long Islander scored 26 goals, dished 19 assists, and made the All-Conference and All-Region 2nd Teams.

Caputo famously notched a legendary five-goal, two-assist performance against Bentley. In a game in which the Setters trailed by three goals with one minute to go, they came back to win in overtime.

Caputo and his cousin Chris, both joined nXlvl as brand ambassadors last fall.

Junior Rafael Rodriguez, affectionately known as “Raf,” was one of the team’s best players on the wings last season, scoring 18 goals, totaling seven assists and 15 ground balls in the process. The former NE10 All-Rookie Team selection has appeared in 28 games in his career, with a penchant for speed and intelligent quick-thinking on the field.


The attack will be steered by graduate student Jake Veres, the Northeast-10 Conference leader in points last season, with 40 goals and 24 assists, in one of the best offensive seasons in Pace history. The Robbinsville, New Jersey native subsequently made the All-Conference First and USILA All-Region Third teams.

In the aforementioned comeback against Bentley, Veres scored three times, including twice in the final minute of play, and handed out a career-high four assists, every single one of which was needed in the 16-15 overtime win. Veres also scored a career-best five goals against Assumption just four days prior, for an absolutely monster week on the pitch.

Dan Zabbia scored five goals, had two assists, scooped up 11 ground balls, and caused five turnovers as a freshman, and looks to take a further step forward in his sophomore campaign.

Transfer grad student Ryan Brown joins the attack from Salisbury, where he was a team captain of four straight conference championship teams, and two NCAA Division III finalist teams.

Junior Rowan Kelly, who made his debut last season against formidable Boston University, finished last year with eight ground balls and six caused turnovers.

Canadian senior attacker Marcus Ottaviano has scored 18 goals and distributed four assists in his Blue & Gold career, including two three-goal outings last season.


Tom Mariano enters his 10th season at the helm of Pace’s men’s lacrosse program. With a 75-47 overall record, Mariano boasts a solid .614 winning percentage.

Mariano has led Pace to seven straight Northeast-10 Conference Championship appearances, including three semifinal berths. He also guided the program to its first, and to date lone, NCAA Tournament appearance in 2017, a season in which he was named the NE10 Coach of the Year.

Mariano’s lacrosse pedigree dates back to his playing days. He won a National Championship playing for Nazareth in 1992.