By: Marisa Ingemi
Boston University men’s lacrosse is almost back, and this year’s schedule has some of the same and some new additions. UMass Lowell, Providence, and Harvard are scheduled again, but two new non conference teams highlight the slate.
Like last season, the Terriers open their slate with the Friars. Last season BU held down Providence to just five goals, and that’s when it seemed like they would have a better than expected defense.
Will Mazzone is out after playing well against BU last year, and Brandon Kearns looks to be the leader offensively. Keenan Assaraf also looks to make a leap from his 23 points last year. Tate Boyce impressed as a freshman goalkeeper, and will be an early challenge for BU.
@ UMass Lowell
Last season Lowell was a test for the Terriers at Nickerson, where BU first encountered its turnover issues and scored just one first half goal and were nearly shut out. It seemed James Burr had opened potential floodgates, but the River Hawks went on to score two more in the third before the Terriers exploded for the last seven goals of the game.
Lowell is a young program and budding like BU is, and with so much talent returning from injury, the River Hawks are looking to make a run at America East. This is their first game of the season, and it won’t be an easy one for either side. Going 4-12 last season, Sam Klingsporn and Jon Philips missed a lot of time last season, and while Keenan Koswin stepped up, those two being back helps a lot.
Hartford exploited the Terriers’ biggest weaknesses last season. Giving up 16 goals was the lowpoint of the season as they had no answer for FOGO Dylan Protesto. One of the most dynamic faceoff players in the nation will contend Sam Talkow, who was banged up in this contest last year.
In general, the Hawks were a surprise team last season when they eeked into the national tournament and fell to Quinnipiac following an upset over Albany and a thriller against Vermont. Dylan Jinks is back after a 58 point freshman campaign as well. This is a game that might get overlooked, but will be one of BU’s tougher games all year.
Last year, Navy was one of the Terriers’ biggest wins in program history. It took an epic two overtime, five save after regulation effort from Christian Carson-Banister, but the Terriers had a hallmark win. Cal Dearth scored a key second quarter goal with moments remaining to give BU the momentum it needed for its comeback before Talkow scored the tying goal and Burr the winner.
This is a difficult way to open the conference slate, but with such a competitive Patriot League, almost any would be tough. Patrick Keena and TJ Hanzsche are gone, but Greyson Torain is taking the reigns as a player the Midshipmen will rely on, especially with Casey Rees now out for the season.. This closes out what’s a difficult road schedule to open the year.
BU finally comes home after four games to face a new non conference opponent in the Bulldogs. Last season, BU faced Bryant in the pre season. A rare Tuesday night game for BU, the Terriers face a team that went 10-5 last season in the Northeast conference.
Tucker James and Ryan Sharpe lead the Bulldogs, but Shane Morrell will be a key loss. Gunnar Waldt is gone after being drafted by the Florida Launch, so James Werner looks to take over between the pipes.
vs Air Force
Each year, the Terriers have played a SoCon team, and the Falcons are this year’s test. At 15-3 last season, Air Force was sneakily good. Two losses early on to Navy and Denver made the Falcons overlooked despite wins over High Point, Duke, and Richmond. Eventually, Air Force was knocked off in the post season by Notre Dame.
Chris Walsch enters his junior year after a 64 point sophomore campaign and is the most dynamic player on the Falcons, though Nick Hruby will also be a player for the Terriers to watch out for. In net, sophomore Fitzhugh Lee should be starting in his first year full time for Air Force.
Last season BU got a solid conference win over Sam Cleveland and the Raiders, but Colgate is one of those sneaky teams that always gives the conference trouble. This was one of Talkow’s strongest games last season as he went undefeated at the faceoff X in the first half.
The loss to Bucknell last season hurt the Terriers chances of getting into the conference tournament. Christian Klipstein made 14 saves and is only getting better in his sophomore season. Bucknell is a serious darkhorse to win the conference, so having this game at Nickerson Field is huge for BU.
Will Sands is only getting better, and Tommy O’Connor also had 42 points last season. Jarrett Witzal also impressed at the X and is one of many PL challengers for Talkow.
Like Navy, Harvard was another huge victory for BU last year. The come from behind win was against the highest ranked opponent BU has ever defeated as the Terriers survived a goal nine seconds into the contest to give up a single goal between the second and third quarter to the Crimson.
Harvard scored the final three goals and BU held on to the 9-8 victory. But Joe Lang and Morgan Cheek are back for a Harvard team that’s only going to compete for the Ivy title more than ever since Brown lost so many pieces. At 8-8 last season, the Crimson had a wild start to the year with wins over Villanova, UMass, and Duke before falling off with four straight losses, including to Penn State and Bryant, and BU in there as well.
Harvard upset Brown for the Ivy title and this year are in line for an improved season, even with Devin Dwyer and Bobby Duvnjak not returning.
Carson-Banister needed to make just three saves in this 16-6 victory last season. Burr scored four goals as BU allowed just one goal in the first half. Eric Joseph and Jerry Sands will make some noise for the Leopards, but historically Lafayette has been at the bottom of the conference.
Going 3-11 last season, the Leopards’ wins weren’t terribly impressive either, over Monmouth, NJIT, and Wagner. Jonathan Anastos is going to be relied on heavily in net.
Lehigh is a team that’s always prepared and ahead of the rest of the curve. This 8-7 loss last season came at a rainy Nickerson Field as the Mountain Hawks scored the game winner with two and a half minutes left off the stick of Chris Appell.
This was Mike Laviano’s break out game last season when he scored his second and third goals of the year. Despite going 6-9, the Mountain Hawks made some noise, nearly defeating Duke and topping Colgate. It was a five game losing streak that did them in last season.
Army, despite losing so much before last year, has an improving young group. By far the worst loss of the year last season, a 15-4 decision, AJ Barretto impressed with eight saves while break out star Nate Jones tallied five times.
Cole Johnson is in his last year with the Black Knights following a 71 point season. He and Jones are going to be tough for the Terriers down low, even with Dominick Calisto and Greg Wozniak coming off of good seasons.
The final four team from last season heads to Boston, sans Zach Herreweyers but with potential Tewaaraton candidate Pat Spencer in his second season, who had 88 points in his first season of college lacrosse. On the road last season, BU played the Greyhounds tough, eventually falling 13-12. Three late goals, two from Herreweyers, downed BU who held a two goal lead with 5:12 left in the game.
One conference loss all season for Loyola came against Navy, and that was a back to back loss after a defeat to Duke. One early season loss to Towson raised some eyebrows, but the Hounds proved to be dangerous.
vs Holy Cross
The rival of the Terriers? Holy Cross has ended BU’s playoff hopes for two seasons in a row. An 11-7 score last season where the Terriers never quite seemed in it on the road ended all hopes of BU making its first post season berth.
Michael Ortlieb make 11 saves in the contest while Sean Wilkinson had a hat trick. Seven different goal scorers contributed for BU, but it was a accumulation of errors the Terriers made all season. Despite starting the year with eight losses, four conference victories, the only Crusaders wins all year, made the difference.
The annual match returns to Durham in 2017. Sans Myles Jones and Deemer Class, the latter of which scored five times last season, the Blue Devils are still title contenders and the toughest game on the BU schedule.
By then, the conference should be decided, but if BU were to win, this is the kind of game that can skyrocket an RPI.