STANDISH, Maine – The 2019 Saint Joseph's College men's lacrosse season began last Friday when the Monks suffered a 13-9 loss at the hands of Nichols College at the SJC Athletics Complex.
Saint Joseph's faced a 9-2 deficit heading into intermission and showed signs of promise by outscoring the Bison by a 7-4 margin during the remainder of play. Nichols toppled St. Joe's by a 15-6 score in the 2018 opener.
STARTS AT THE TOP:
Head Coach Bill Cosentino, now in his third season at the helm, will look for his team to continue its trend of steady progress this spring. After leading the Royal Blue to a 6-9 overall record in 2017, Cosentino guided the program to a 10-9 mark and a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament appearance for the first time in four years. In the first round of the tourney, the fourth-seeded Monks topped #5 Rivier, 11-10, to claim the second postseason victory in program history and first since 2011.
Although the 2018 campaign came to a close four days later with a loss at top-seeded Norwich, Cosentino's second season at SJC proved to be one of the best in the 11-year history of the program. When the dust settled, the Monks had established new team records in shots (803), shots on goal (464) and man-up goals (47) and posted the third winning-season – and first since 2011 – in team history.
WHERE WE LEFT OFF:
The Monks' 2018 season was finalized with a 17-8 setback at the hands of top-seeded Norwich University on May 2nd.
The fourth-seeded Monks struck first with a man-up goal from Brendan Barrett, but the Norwich offense responded with four straight unanswered goals to take a 4-1 lead early. The Cadets' defensive unit held Saint Joseph's scoreless while netting four more goals to take an 8-2 into the halftime break.
Needing a strong third quarter, the Monks started off the second half with a Glen Dion goal, but Norwich responded quickly with a pair of strikes to claim a 10-3 cushion as the Cadets looked to be well on their way to a runaway victory.
Saint Joseph's refused to concede that easily, as the Monks rattled off three straight unanswered goals to cut into the Norwich lead and enter the final stanza trailing by only four goals. The two teams swapped goals early in the fourth quarter, as the Cadets couldn't pull away and the Monks couldn't completely close the gap. With seven minutes to go, the Cadets turned up the offensive pressure and went on to rattle off four straight goals to seal up the 17-8 victory.
The Monks graduated a monster class of 12 seniors, which included a corps of significant contributors in midfielders Brendan Barrett and Matt Donnell, defenders Tom Lisiecki and Liam Skinner, and four-year starting goalkeeper Connor Trainor.
This group will be difficult to replace, as Skinner, Lisiecki and Trainor earned All-Conference accolades last spring while Donnell and Barrett combined to net 30 goals and 28 assists while appearing in all 19 games in 2018.
- Senior attack Michael Finn (Quincy, Mass.) headlines the Monks' returners after netting an SJC record 50 goals last spring; the four-year starter also broke the program's career goals record (120) and garnered Third Team All-GNAC honors following his junior season
- Senior defender Raymond Emery (Abington, Mass.) will anchor the Monks' defense after registering 24 ground balls and 14 caused turnovers en route to claiming Second Team All-Conference honors a year ago
- Senior midfielders Tyler Retalic (Framingham, Mass.) and Dan Cunningham (West Islip, N.Y.) will be asked to help replace the contributions vacated by the departed senior class after netting 35 goals with nine assists combined as juniors
- Sophomore attackmen Shane Puleo (Nashua, N.H.) and Glenn Dion (Pembroke, N.H.) combined to score 63 total points as freshmen and will look to build off solid 2018 showings this spring while sophomore LSM Alex Osmanski (Abington, Mass.) will play a bigger role in 2019 after picking up 19 ground balls a year ago
- Junior faceoff midi Shane Fors (Kalamazoo, Mich.) posted a .495 (189-382) winning percentage in the circle and picked up a team-high 81 ground balls last season; his continued development will be a key for the Monks' success this season
NEWCOMERS TO WATCH:
Midfielders Devin Linscott (Nashua, N.H.), Cameron Roy (Lyman, Maine), and Zac LaRoche (Penacook, N.H.) and goalkeeper Michael Janocha (Southampton, Mass.) will all see significant time this spring. Linscott kicked off his NCAA career with three goals in the loss to Nichols last week.
GAMES TO SEE:
March 23 vs. Johnson & Wales University: Saint Joseph's faces off against the reigning GNAC Champions on their home turf in a 3:30 PM start. The Monks have defeated the Wildcats in consecutive meetings, including a 12-7 triumph in Providence last year.
April 6 vs. Anna Maria College: The Monks will honor their nine seniors with a Senior Day ceremony prior to what will likely be an important GNAC contest versus the AMCATS. St. Joe's defeated Anna Maria in a low-scoring affair – 6-2 – in Massachusetts last spring.
April 16 vs. Lasell College: Another key conference contest as the Monks continue a stretch of eight GNAC games with a home tilt versus the Lasers, who defeated the Royal Blue by a 17-5 margin in Newton last season.
April 23 vs. Norwich: Saint Joseph's looks to avenge a 2018 season-ending setback at the hands of the Cadets and head into the postseason on the right foot with a solid showing in the 2019 regular-season finale.