2016 Men’s Lacrosse Season Preview

Men’s lacrosse are the defending Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) champions. Photo from paceuathletics.com.

Men’s lacrosse are the defending Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) champions. Photo from paceuathletics.com.

JAMES MIRANDA, Sports Editor


A championship caliber team is usually held to high standards and that is no different for the 2016 Pace men’s lacrosse team.

The men’s lacrosse team (1-0, 0-0 NE-10) is the defending Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Champions. On April 1, 2015, men’s lacrosse was 5-6 and possibly wouldn’t be a playoff contender. However, they went 5-1 to finish the season, the key win being the final game against Bentley University.

Pace held on to an 8-6 win at Bentley’s to clinch a playoff spot. They were eliminated in the first round of the NE-10 playoffs, but contended in the ECAC tournament where they took off. They defeated Mercy College 12-9 to take home the championship.

“We enjoyed every part of [last season], we ran against ranked opponents and we do play in the toughest conference, but we loved every second of it,” said Brandon Donnellan, junior defense. “At the end of the year, we held our own destiny against Bentley because it decided if we got to the playoffs.”

The run was a mixed bag of emotions, but with that victory it’s given the team nothing but confidence.

“Last year we made a good run, but we plan on doing a lot more than just winning in the ECAC,” said sophomore attack Liam Brennan, who scored three goals in men’s lacrosse 15-9 win over Post University Sat., Feb. 20.

Despite Brennan’s comment, Head Coach Tom Mariano would want his team just to improve every day. He also doesn’t want his team to expect they’ll just show up in the playoffs again. All the success was last year, if they’re going to do better they’ll have to prove it.

“Our goal is to get better every day so we get an opportunity to compete for a championship if [we’re] good enough,” Mariano said. “For us, it’s micromanaging ourselves and focusing on the day-to-day and making sure we’re the best team possible.”

Regardless, there is a level of expectation because of the success. They were ranked No. 15 in Nike/Lacrosse Magazine Men’s Division II preseason top-15 poll and nationally ranked No. 17 in United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) /Nike D-II men’s lacrosse coaches’ preseason poll. They were also picked to finish fourth in the NE-10 coaches preseason poll.

It’s a close knit group despite having 13 freshmen and 14 sophomores in a 41-man roster. The chemistry of a team is always crucial to success or failure. The little things have been done to ensure the team is close.

However, there is a core of players returning.

“[We have a lot of freshmen, but] we also have a lot of sophomores, and the seniors who play are really good,” Mariano said. “I’d rather have seven high-quality seniors than 14 guys who don’t do anything. The seniors we do have make an effort and they’re dialed in every day.”

On many occasions, Mariano’s seen his players self-coach and keep other players in line on how things should be done. It’s not necessarily criticism as much as it is backing each other up.

The Setters displayed their core talent with their 15-9 victory Saturday. With Pace down 4-2 in the second quarter, Brennan, Donnellan, and Matthew Cossidente scored three consecutive goals to go up 5-4. They came out in the third stronger scoring six goals in the span of four minutes.

“It was the first game of the season in a new stadium and everyone was a little hyped up,” said Cossidente, who is one-of-three team captains. “Around the second and third quarter we just calmed down and played our game.”

They’re a young bunch, but the leadership is unmatched, expectations are high, and the chemistry is thriving. But the one thing that’ll make it all happen is if they have fun.

Setters’ attack Liam Brennan (No. 6) netted three goals in Saturday’s 15-9 rout of Post University. Photo from paceuathletics.com.