PHILADELPHIA (2/25/03) - Despite the loss of four of its top five golfers from last season, expectations for the 2002-03 Saint Joseph's University golf team could not be higher. The optimism results from the return of 2001 team MVP Brian McDermott and the infusion of arguably the most talented crop of newcomers to ever hit the links for the Crimson and Gray. McDermott has been the Hawks' most consistent performer since arriving at SJU two years ago. Following in the footsteps of his older brothers Mike ('97) and Kevin ('99), who were both top linksters for the Crimson and Gray during the late 1990s, the younger McDermott ranks as the only SJU player to compete in every invitational event over the past two seasons. He averaged a solid 78.7 strokes over 23 rounds of play in 2001-02 and notched a Top-10 finish at Binghamton in the fall. Besides McDermott, a pair of freshman, Billy Stewart and Sean Seese, will likely have a significant impact on the Hawks fortunes. The tandem were arguably the Mid-Atlantic region's top two prep golfers over the past two years. The Philadelphia Golf Association's two-time junior player of the year, Stewart qualified for the 2002 U.S. Amateur Championship and became the youngest player since 1919 to win the Golf Association of Philadelphia's Amateur Championship. A native of Devon, Pa., The two-time Interact medalist averaged 73.5 strokes in National competitions in 2001. Twice the Philadelphia Inquirer's suburban golfer of the year, Seese captured back-to-back Catholic League crown's in 2001 and 2002, while helping La Salle win its seventh straight league title. Possibly the best player in La Salle history, Seese led the Explorers with a 36.2-stroke average over nine holes during the regular season. He shot over 40 twice, and shot under par five times. He was the low scorer in 14 of the 21 matches in which he competed. Returning for his senior season is Mike Bosica. Steady and reliable, the Ellicott, Md. native has held down a semi-regular spot in the Hawk rotation throughout his career. He came on strong in the spring averaging 78.6 stokes over SJU's final four events. Looking to break into the team's regular rotation, while also providing the team with adequate depth are juniors Bill Devlin, Ryan MacDonald and Tom Spano. The threesome have seen limited tournament competition during their first two seasons at SJU. Devlin is the most seasoned of the group, having appeared in three invitational events over the past two years. MacDonald, meanwhile, gave SJU a glimpse of the future with a turn in SJU's final event of the 2002 Spring season at Rhode Island. The versatile Spano, although not playing a round the last two seasons, is much improved. Two other newcomers, Steve Curry and Tom Flatley, will also aim to muscle into the lineup. Both sophomores, the tandem practiced with the Hawks during the 2001-02 season and make the step up into the varsity rotation this year. Along with enhanced expectations comes an upgraded schedule in 2002-03. SJU will compete in six fall tournaments, including the challenging Xavier, Penn and Georgetown Invitationals. A trip to Hawaii kicks off the spring season, which culminates at the Atlantic 10 Championships in May.