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College Crosse 2017 Dissections: #70 NJIT Highlanders

With young talent behind them, can the Highlanders win multiple games in 2018?

NJIT Athletics

As the offseason continues, we’ll take a look back at the 2017 season for each individual team in our 2017 dissections. The individual team dissections will go in reverse order of my final Power Rankings from the end of the season. If you missed any of our team or conference recaps, you can check them out here.

Our next team up are the NJIT Highlanders!

NJIT Highlanders

Conference: Independent
2017 Record: 1-14
Head coach: Travis Johnson (3rd Year)

Statistical Leaders

Goals: Aaron Forster (34)
Assists: Ryan Callaghan (11)
Points: Aaron Forster (43)
Face-offs: Tyler Stevenson (80-of-198; 40.4%)
Ground balls: John Tachon (71)
Caused turnovers: John Tachon (18)
Goals against average: Nick Marzullo (12.35 GAA)
Save percentage: Nick Marzullo (54.2%)

Personnel Losses

Key seniors departing: Ryan Callaghan (19G, 11A), Jordan Rosal (1-of-11 on face-offs)
Senior scoring departing: 30 of 157 (19.1%)
Senior starts lost: 14 of 150 (9.3%)

Season Summary

NJIT took a small step back in 2017, recording their only win against the Hampton Pirates. They now have two wins in their three years of existence, with the first coming last year against the Dartmouth Big Green. They came very close to wins over the VMI Keydets and the Lafayette Leopards, losing to both teams by just a goal. They also lost to the Quinnipiac Bobcats and Mercer Bears by three, and the then fifth-ranked Rutgers Scarlet Knights by four goals.

Sophomore Aaron Forster broke out with 34 goals for the Highlanders at attack, while senior midfielder Ryan Callaghan was more balanced, recording 19 goals and 11 assists. Junior netminder Nick Marzullo started the majority of the games and his numbers were slightly better than sophomore goalie Cameron Cronk (12.48 GAA, 46.9% save percentage).

One concern for the future will revolve around Forster. He’s their star player, but the Highlanders have had stars transfer out after each offseason. In 2016, FOGO Zachary Melillo left to join the Marquette Golden Eagles, where he’s been a part of back-to-back Big East championships. This past offseason, the team lost Joe Lomeli to the Wagner Seahawks. Forster could be a good addition to another team if he decides to transfer, but if the Highlanders want to improve, he’ll be a huge part to their offense.

What’s Ahead?

On the defensive side, John Tachon was very impressive as a freshman defenseman, starting all 15 games for the Highlanders and recording a team-high 71 ground balls and 18 caused turnovers. He’s their top guy on defense. Look for midfielder Ryan Darrow and attackman Ryan Kaden to pick up production in 2018 after recording 20 and 19 points respectively. One focal point will be face-offs. Tyler Stevenson went 40.4% on draws, while Tachon went 28.6% as the next man up. More wins at the face-off X equals more possessions, which hopefully can equal more wins.

Below are who the Highlanders will be adding next year.*

NJIT’s Unofficial Class of 2017

Player Position High School
Player Position High School
Fares Ayoub Attack Fort Hamilton (NY)
Vinnie Crea Defense The Gunnery (CT)
Vincent D'Agostino FOGO Caldwell (NJ)
Collin Fogerty Attack Paul VI (NJ)
Ryan Geroulo Midfield Parkland (PA)
Riley Guma Goalie Scotch Plains-Fanwood (NJ)
Alex Hunt Goalie Severna Park (MD)
Cole Johnson Midfield Episcopal Academy (PA)
Noah Kepes Attack/Midfield Ward Melville (NY)
Nick Krawchuk Defense Newton (NJ)
Devin Naidoo LSM Ponte Vedra (FL)
Hunter Narozniak Defense Barnegat (NJ)
Joey Oliver Midfield O'Dea (WA)
Shane Plokhoy Midfield Pope John XXIII (NJ)
Connor Provost Attack Allentown (NJ)
TJ Ross Attack/Midfield Central York (PA)

*Compiled amongst numerous sites with players listed as NJIT commits. Schools usually officially announce their recruiting class during the fall semester.


How many wins will NJIT get in 2018?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    (2 votes)
  • 38%
    (5 votes)
  • 23%
    (3 votes)
  • 23%
    (3 votes)
13 votes total Vote Now