MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – Three-time defending North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Champions, Morrisville State College men's lacrosse, will begin pursuit of a fourth straight title Saturday, as they commence the 2018 season schedule on the road at St. John Fisher College.
The Mustangs are coming off a 10-6 overall record a year ago, claiming their third straight conference title with a 7-1 NEAC record, and making a third consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championship Tournament.
While the success is most prominent in recent seasons, ninth year head coach Jason Longo (87-42, 54-5 NEAC) has stated that the 2018 season will feature a squad with many new faces, but boast a lot of potential.
"We are a new team," he commented, "but are working hard on building a bond with each other and learning to earn that trust and 'buy in' within our program."
Morrisville State returns 16 to the lineup this season who saw quality time on the field a year ago, including reigning NEAC Offensive Player of the Year, Nick Geswaldo (Lafayette, N.Y.).
The junior attackman collected a team high 48 goals and 18 assists for 66 points in 16 games, netting 12 on man-up opportunities, and is joined by three additional Mustangs who were in the top six in scoring.
Chris Dovi (Cortland, N.Y.) returns to the attack unit coming off a 42 point freshman season in 2017, where he posted 24 scores and assisting another 18. Senior Brad Biggs (Tully, N.Y.) will be the driving force in the midfield, after posting 23 points behind his 15 goals and eight assist effort.
Logan Peters (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) will once again power his way in the offensive unit, collecting 12 goals and assisting 16 for 28 points.
Morrisville State outgained opponents on average 13.12 goals per game to 8.06 allowed, collecting a total 327 points to opponents 196.
"Our focus this season is not on any single player," Longo stated, "but rather on the team firing on all cylinders to maximize success."
"We will look to be strategic with our offensive sets, and allow our guys to utilize their athleticism, creativity and IQ, making the offensive unit less predictable."
Longo stated that a diverse group of newcomers will help strengthen the defensive unit, who will be anchored by junior Brendan Boles (Goshen, N.Y.). Boles had 11 ground balls for the defense a year ago.
"Chad Temple (Minoa, N.Y.), Chad Warren (Lafayette, N.Y.), Nate McCormick (Cortland, N.Y.), Josh Palin (Lafayette, N.Y.), and David Gullen (Baldwinsville, N.Y.) are among the group of newcomers who we see as helping to strengthen the defensive unit and bring a high level of skill to the face-off X, along with their fierce competitive edge," said Longo.
The goalkeeping position is up for grabs after the loss of last year's keeper to graduation, but senior Dan Sherlock (Tully, N.Y.) looks to be the front runner for the Mustangs heading into the start of the season. Sherlock saw time in seven games last season and collected a .632 save percentage and 4.22 goals against average.
The non-conference slate is one of the toughest tests yet for the Mustangs, but one that Longo feels will allow the program to continue to reach its full potential.
Morrisville State will be tested early, hitting the field against a St. John Fisher College unit that finished 8-8 overall in 2017, but returns to the playing field in 2018 under direction of a new head coach.
The Mustangs will meet SUNY Geneseo on the 28th on the road, before traveling to Oneonta on March 3 to face the Red Dragons.
Morrisville State will open their home schedule on Saturday, March 10th against Oswego, before hitting the road for three straight over seven days with stops at Scranton University on the 14th, Cortland on the 18th and Kings College on the 21st.
A final non-conference bout with Potsdam on the 24th will serve as the final preparation for the Mustangs NEAC opener against Hilbert on the 28th.
April will feature seven conference games in the schedule's lineup, including Bryn Athyn on the 4th. The Lions, for the past two seasons, have made appearances in the semifinal rounds of the conference tournament.
On the 7th they host Wells College, before meeting Keuka on the 11th.
A road contest at Medaille on the 14th will lead the Mustangs into a rematch of last year's championship final against Route 20 Rival, Cazenovia, on the 18th.
They will wrap up their home slate against Cobleskill on the 21st, followed by the regular season finale at SUNY Polytechnic on the 25th.
Complete schedule and roster information can be found on the college's web site at www.morrisvillestateathletics.com.
Morrisville State College's curricula are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology and has been lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs.
The college was ranked among the Best Regional Colleges in the North by U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges 2018 issue and was also recognized in the Top Public Schools, Regional Colleges North in the 2018 Best Colleges rankings. For more information about Morrisville State College, visit www.morrisville.edu.