STANDISH, Maine – The 2018 Saint Joseph's College men's lacrosse season kicks off Saturday with a non-conference game at Nichols College. Opening face-off is set for 12:00 PM.
STARTS AT THE TOP:
Head Coach Bill Cosentino returns for his second season after leading the Monks to a 6-9 overall record with a 3-5 mark in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) play last spring. Saint Joseph's narrowly missed the playoffs - the Monks finished the year tied with sixth-seeded Rivier but fell to the Raiders head-to-head - and four of the Monks' losses were by five or fewer goals.
With a tireless recruiting approach, Coach Cosentino brought in a deep and talented recruiting class to help bolster the roster of a team that showed marked improvement statistically across the board and ranked 17th nationally in man-down defense (.814).
WHERE WE LEFT OFF:
Needing a win to secure a GNAC Tournament spot heading into the regular-season finale at Mount Ida College on April 29th, the Monks opened up a 4-1 lead over the Mustangs in the first quarter, but were outscored by a 13-8 margin for the remainder of the contest in a 14-9 setback. Connor Trainor (Franklin, Mass.) made 16 saves in goal while Michael Finn (Quincy, Mass.), Joe O'Reilly (Suffern, N.Y.), Tyler Retalic (Framingham, Mass.), and Dan Cunningham (West Islip, N.Y.) netted two goals apiece in the season-ending loss.
Saint Joseph's lost just one senior - Mark LaPierre - from last year's team. LaPierre netted four goals with three assists in 13 games in his final collegiate season.
Highlighting the group of returners is senior defender Liam Skinner (Irving, Texas), who garnered 2017 Third Team All-GNAC honors after recording 62 ground balls and 30 caused turnovers with a pair of goals and five assists during his junior campaign.
Trainor also returns after posting a 9.48 goals against average with a .539 save percentage in 754 minutes last spring. Junior defender Raymond Emery (Abington, Mass.), who posted 30 ground balls and 23 caused turnovers as a sophomore, helps solidify a stout back line for the Monks.
Saint Joseph's returns all six of their top scorers, with Finn (41-8-49), senior Brendan Barrett (East Sandwich, Mass.) (6-25-31), O'Reilly (13-17-30), Cunningham (18-9-27), senior Matt Donnell (Watertown, Mass.) (16-7-23), and Retalic (19-3-22) all looking to improve upon their output from a year ago.
Sophomore face-off midi Shane Fors (Kalamazoo, Mich.), who posted a 45.0% (100-222) win rate as a freshman, is also back and figures to anchor a deep midfield corps for the Monks.
Junior Cornelius Koch (Quincy, Mass.), senior Tom Lisiecki (South Boston, Mass.), and sophomore Joseph Mooney (Kennebunk, Maine) are also expected to play significant roles on the defensive side for the Royal Blue.
NEWCOMERS TO WATCH:
Freshmen attackmen Glenn Dion (Pembroke, N.H.) and Shane Puleo (Nashua, N.H.), first-year LSM Alex Osmanski (Abington, Mass.), and rookie midfielder Tyler Brewster (Merrimack, N.H.) have been competing hard during preseason and all figure to have an impact this spring.
GAMES TO SEE:
March 24 vs. Thomas College: The Monks play their first-ever game on their new field, the SJC Athletics Complex, in a 7:00 PM start. The Monks toppled the Terriers, 17-2, last spring and hope to kick off their tenure on the new turf with a victory.
March 28 at Lasell College: Saint Joseph's faces off against the reigning GNAC Champions on their home turf in a 4:00 PM start. The Lasers topped the Monks by a 13-4 score at Deering Memorial Stadium last spring.
April 4 vs. Emmanuel College: Saint Joseph's hosts perennial conference powerhouse Emmanuel College under the lights in a 7:00 PM start. The Saints tipped the Monks, 6-2, in a defensive struggle in Boston last season.
April 7 at Johnson & Wales University: The Monks take a weekend trip to Providence to face off against rising contender Johnson & Wales. St. Joe's upset JWU with an 11-10 win at Deering Memorial Stadium a year ago, a game the Wildcats have surely not forgotten.