- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 03 February 2016
- Written by CONNOR WHITE | SPORTS EDITOR
The MU men’s lacrosse team kicked off their 2015-16 season on Saturday with a scrimmage against LIU Post on Kessler Field.
After the scrimmage, where no score was reported, head coach Brian Fisher is confident his team will be ready for their first official game against Jacksonville Feb. 14 in Jacksonville, FL.
“The preseason is a grind,” Fisher said. “The trip [to Jacksonville] will be fun. It will be good to have some nice weather, and it will be an evenly matched game.”
Last year, MU finished with a 6-8 record, going 3-3 in conference play. All three conference wins were acquired at home. The season earned them a fourth place finish in the MAAC and a playoff bid, where they lost in the first round to #1 seed Marist, 11-6.
“Home games are always fun,” Fisher said. “You get the support of the fans, it’s not easy going into a new environment and taking on a team on their home turf. A lot of our games on the road were close, tough losses.”
The Hawks will lose four seniors from last year, including Garrett Conaway, Ryan Schwartz, Ryan Horsch and Zach Johannes. However, upperclassmen returning from last year will be graduate student John Castellano and a powerhouse junior class which boasts 24 members.
“As a start-up program when we were freshman, we grew up together,” junior midfielder Tyler Keen said. “It helps having that on-field and sideline support from such a core group of guys.”
Keen was named co-captain earlier this year along with junior midfielder Eric Berger.
“I’m honored to be a captain of this team,” Keen said. “A lot of guys here could be in the same position I’m in. It definitely comes with a lot of responsibility, but I’m ready to take on that role.”
Coach Fisher credits the two captains’ standout work ethic for earning the prestigious titles.
“They have an amazing work ethic and have added a great culture in their time here,” Fisher said. “They both have the respect of the entire team.”
Two key returning players are sophomore attacker Bryce Wasserman and red-shirt sophomore midfielder Dylan Schulte. Wasserman led the team with 21 goals and 10 assists last season, while Schulte added three goals and one assist with 25 ground balls. Both were named to the MAAC All-Rookie team following the 2014-15 season.
“It certainly has given me something to back up,” Wasserman said. “It got my name out there. The expectations are definitely pretty high this season.”
The team has been selected third in the 2016 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches Poll behind defending champion Marist, and Quinnipiac. Although a great feat considering this is only the program’s third year, the players believe they deserved more.
“We’re upset, honestly,” Wasserman said. “We believe that we are the best team in the conference, and it’s now our job to show that this year.”
“We have a very talented freshman class, like any Division One program will,” Fisher said. “Some of them will get on the field right away, and others won’t—but for good reason.”
Overall, Fisher is pleased to see how far his team has come.
“There has been growth here on every level,” he said. “They are a polished group of guys and we are ready to take on the season.”
PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth Athletics