LAFAYETTE, La. -- The University of Louisiana lacrosse team -- the two-time defending Lone Star Alliance (LSA) Division II champions and the first team from the State of Louisiana to ever attend the MCLA National Championships powered by Under Armour -- is pleased to announce its captains for the 2018 season.
Senior defenseman Adrian Toranto, senior defensive middie Chad Nillen and senior defensive middie Grant Hartman were unanimously selected to lead the Ragin' Cajuns in their quest for an unprecedented third straight LSA championship and a trip to Utah for their second nationals bid.
The team also selected Michael Olivio as an honorary captain. The senior goalie suffered a season-ending ACL tear during the fall season.
Toranto, from Baton Rouge's Catholic High School, is the only returning captain for the Cajuns. He is also the team president. He leads all Cajun defensemen in ground balls and has also taken faceoffs against various opponents.
"He's probably the best D-Pole in our conference and adds tremendous leadership to the team on and off the field," said Louisiana coach Keith Schneider. "One of the most reliable and steady players on the team, we expect him to neutralize some of the better attackman we face. It was no surprise he was re-elected as captain given his skills and popularity on the team".
Nillen, who hails from Kenner, La., and attended Archbishop Rummel High School, is coming off a strong first season where he played mostly defensive middie. Nillen is also the vice president of philanthropy, in charge of fundraising for the team, and in charge of bringing resources to those affected by the recent natural disasters in Houston.
"Chad brings tremendous enthusiasm and work ethic to the team, and his selection as captain says a lot about how much he progressed as a player during the last season," Schneider said. "Chad will be seeing plenty of offensive rotations in the coming season, and the coaching staff has high expectations for his contributions to the team on both sides of the ball"
Hartman, from York, Pa., attended Dallastown Area High School, and is returning after being named the first All-American in Louisiana’s team history. He is one of the team's leaders in ground balls.
"Zero doubt he was the best defensive middie in the conference last year and I believe one of the best defensive middies I saw all year, in both MCLA D-I and D-II," Schneider said. "He is relentless and forces his opponents to make uncomfortable adjustments to their style of play. He sees a lot of minutes in every game and he forms part of the core of our great defensive capabilities."
As in past years, Louisiana will play a tough regular season schedule against MCLA D-II and D-I teams with trips to Jacksonville, San Antonio, Houston and Dallas, as well as throughout the state.