When the Lake Erie Storm men's lacrosse team takes the field on February 25th against Roberts Wesleyan, it will be the first game under the belt of first year head coach Steve Gartelman. Gartelman was named as the head coach of the Storm last June.
"It's the most excited I have been for a spring season in my life, without question. My excitement comes from the momentum that we as a program have been able to generate over the past two years and I have been fortunate to be a part of it."
Gartelman served as the graduate assistant for the Storm the last two seasons under former Storm head coach Greg Stocks.
"In the past two years as a Graduate Assistant here at LEC, I have been able to develop a very strong connection with this team. The guys have earned my respect by their consistent intensity and dedication which is why I could not pass up the opportunity to continue to work with these men at Lake Erie College. I know there are special guys here and I am anxious to continue to work towards our goals together, short term and long term."
Prior to his time at Lake Erie, Gartelman played lacrosse in college as a goalkeeper.
Gartelman spend two years at St. John's University before transferring to Limestone College for the remainder of his collegiate career. In 51 games in his career, Gartelman has made 375 saves and allowed 283 goals. Throughout his three years at Limestone, he was in the top 15 in save percentage and top 10 in goals against average.
Gartelman tore his left ACL twice within his playing career, once at St. John's in 2009 and then prior to the 2011 season. Two knee surgeries forced Gartelman to wear a brace on his knee when he was playing in order to have stability with the knee movements. "My knee brace was simply out of necessity."
Gartelman also earned a pair of Conference Carolinas All-Tournament Team selections and finished his career with a 44-6 record.
On March 21st, Lake Erie will travel to Limestone College for a non-conference matchup and Gartelman will match wits with his former college coach, J.B. Clarke.
The Storm finished 2014 with a 10-4 record and they won the ECAC Conference Tournament. Due to the success in 2014, Inside Lacrosse ranked the Storm eighth in the Preseason Top-15 Division-II Poll for the upcoming season.
"As for the team this year, our young guys are developing fast and our veterans are outstanding leaders, which has made for a very easy transition for me as a new head coach. Having those senior leaders to count on has been big for this team."
Last year's ECAC Offensive Player of the Year, senior Reagan Harding, will return to the Storm in 2015 after leading the Storm with 52 points, 36 goals and 16 assists. Harding took home numerous awards following the season, including two All-American honors and an All-ECAC First Team berth. Inside Lacrosse named Harding as a 2015 Preseason All-American.
Senior Justin Goodwin was also named a Preseason All-American by Inside Lacrosse for 2015 after he was honored as a United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Third Team All-American and All-ECAC First Team member.
The Storm will open ECAC conference play against Ohio Valley on the road on March 25th.