By Chris Klimaszewski
With their starts of the 2019 season just around the corner, the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams are working hard to prepare. The men’s team is coming off a 10-5 record in 2018, with an overtime loss to rival NYIT in the East Coast Conference finals.
This season, the Pioneers tied with NYIT for first in the East Coast Conference pre-season rankings. “We don’t pay attention to the polls, but I was surprised that we were tied. They [NYIT] won the championship last year and I thought they deserved to be number one in the polls,” head coach Eric Wolfe, said.
“During the offseason, we’ve been putting in a lot of work: wall ball, shooting, cardio, lifting, et cetera,” senior defender Michael Licata, a double-major- ing in mathematics and physics, said. “Everyone has been put- ting in their time to get better.”
The team aspires to get back to the East Coast Conference championship with all the hard work it put in this offseason. “We have a lot of talent spread deep though our roster. We have an experienced offense with almost every starter returning and a defense with great potential to make a lot of stops this season,” Licata said.
With a lot of offensive starters returning, the name that stands out is sophomore Will Snelders. Snelders had a historic freshman year scoring 74 points and 61 goals. “Will’s season last season was a proud accomplishment for our entire program, everyone takes a part of those numbers he put up,” Wolfe said. “This season, I anticipate our scoring to be more spread out as we have a lot of options on the offensive end.”
The first game is set for Feb. 16 at 2:30 p.m. against American International College. “We are going to be fun to watch this season,” Wolfe said.
The Women’s team is coming off a 14-6 record in 2018, with a loss to Adelphi in the first-round of the NCAA playoffs. This season, the team ranked as number one in the East Coast Conference and number seven in the nation. “We’d love to get back to the conference championship. We still have a lot to prove and we have unfinished business this year,” head coach Meghan McNamara said.
Only one player is missing from last year’s roster. Captain and four year starting goalkeeper Olivia Kirk graduated in 2018, opening up the position. “We have two great goalies who came in this season – Mackenzie O’Brien and Hailey Duchnowski,” McNamara said. “It’s whoever is in net, we’re not worried one bit,” she said.
With a team filled with returning players, most of them have been playing together for years. “Playing together for the past couple years really is nice, knowing everyone’s tendencies and their style of play,” junior health sciences major, Paige Sherlock, said. Sherlock, a two-year starter for the team, was recently named one of four team captains along with Carly Spano, Trish Brisotti, and Alyssa Mallery.
“We have a lot of freshman that’ll step-up and make a big impact for the team. Things are looking really positive and we are looking forward to accomplishing big goals this year,” Sherlock said.
The first game for the women’s lacrosse team is set for Feb. 23 at 11 a.m. against Merrimack College.