WASHINGTON - The Catholic University of America's head football coach Mike Gutelius has selected his captains for the upcoming 2018 season.
Three seniors will lead the Cardinals as captains in the program's second year in the NEWMAC conference. Defensive back Joe Nacci, wide receiver Andrew Lunarola, and tight end Mike Alberto have been tabbed as this year's team leaders.
"I am very excited about the leadership that is being recognized in these three players," Gutelius said. "This senior class is full of leaders that will continue moving the team forward and building a championship culture. It is difficult to narrow down who gets the 'C' next to their name but I know these young men will represent the Cardinals well."
Playing as a free/strong safety, Nacci had a strong 2017 for the Catholic defense, averaging 5 tackles a game. He was tied for the team lead in interceptions with three. Nacci had a couple of crucial interceptions in the Cardinals' wins over Utica and Coast Guard, their first-ever NEWMAC win.
"Joe is the defensive leader this year, and he's ready to put that responsibility on himself," Gutelius remarked about his defensive captain.
Lunarola was a reliable wideout all 2017 season for the Cards, with receptions in each of the 10 games he played. His 21-yard touchdown grab with just six seconds left in the first half proved to be huge in Catholic's 16-10 win against Utica.
"Andrew has continued to develop on the field as a wide receiver and has gained tremendous respect in the locker room from his teammates," Gutelius said.
Alberto served as Catholic's starting tight end last season and averaged more than 8 yards per catch. His 1-yard touchdown reception capped a 10 play, 75-yard drive against Merchant Marine. He was also one of eight Cardinals honored in the NEWMAC Academic All-Conference Team last season.
"Mike is as competitive as they come and he is not afraid to say what needs to be said to the team," Gutelius said of his tight end.
The Cards fought competitively in their first year in the challenging NEWMAC football conference. Finishing with an even 5-5 record, Catholic defeated conference foes Coast Guard, Norwich, and Maine Maritime.
The Cardinals begin the season at home with a familiar opening day opponent in McDaniel on September 1. The team then goes on a three-game road trip before returning home to host Coast Guard on September 29. The Cards square off against defending NEWMAC champion Springfield on October 20. The 2018 season ends with two home matchups against Merchant Marine (11/3) and Maine Maritime (11/10).
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