Western New England Enters 2018 Men's Lacrosse Season as Favorite

Western New England Enters 2018 Men's Lacrosse Season as Favorite

2018 CCC Men's Lacrosse Preseason Poll Video

 

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – For the third year in a row, Western New England was selected as the favorite to win the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Men's Lacrosse Championship. Last year's CCC Tournament runner-up received 77 points in the poll, including five first place votes. Voting was completed last week by the league's nine men's lacrosse head coaches.

The Golden Bears finished last season with a 7-1 CCC (8-10 overall) record and entered the CCC Championship Tournament as the No. 2 seed. After defeating third seed University of New England in the CCC Semifinals, they made their seventh straight trip to the Conference Championship game. However, their attempt at a CCC Tournament Championship repeat was denied.

Endicott, which knocked off WNE 12-9 in the championship game, was selected second in the poll as it collected 75 points and the remaining four first place votes. The Gulls put together a perfect conference season in 2017, posting an 8-0 CCC (10-8 overall) record in the regular-season and picking up two tournament wins en route to the Tournament Championship title. In the NCAA Tournament, Endicott dropped a First Round decision to SUNY Cortand.

The University of New England, a CCC Semifinalist in 2017, landed in the No. 3 spot in this year's poll. The Nor'easters received 62 points in the voting. Roger Williams settled into the No. 4 slot this year earning 53 points, while Curry rounded out the top five with 45.

Nichols (31 points), Salve Regina (29), Wentworth (22), and Gordon (11) closed out the poll in that order.

Salve Regina gets the men's lacrosse season started on Saturday, Feb. 17 with a non-conference matchup with Clark. The eight other CCC teams get underway the following week. The conference schedule kicks off with a single matchup on Wednesday, March 7 between UNE and Endicott. The first full conference play date is Saturday, March 24. The top six teams in the 2018 regular-season conference standings will qualify for the CCC Championship Tournament, which starts with the quarterfinals on Saturday, April 28 and concludes with the Conference Championship on Friday, May 4. The CCC Tournament Champion will earn the conference's automatic qualifier in to the 2018 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship.

Click HERE to view the whole 2018 CCC men's lacrosse schedule.

 

2018 CCC Men's Lacrosse Preseason Coaches' Poll

 

Team

Points (First Place Votes)

1.

Western New England

77 (5)

2.

Endicott

75 (4)

3.

University of New England

62

4.

Roger Williams

53

5.

Curry

45

6.

Nichols

31

7.

Salve Regina

29

8.

Wentworth

22

9.

Gordon

11

 

 

2018 CCC Men's Lacrosse Previews

1. Western New England

After reaching the CCC Championship game for the seventh consecutive season last spring, the Golden Bears have their sights set on a return to the NCAA Tournament in 2018.

Now in his 17th season at the helm of the Western New England men's lacrosse program, John Klepacki's squad returns six All-CCC performers from last season's team.

Senior Nicholas Beauchamp (Wilbraham, Mass.) and junior Jared Ward (Littleton, Mass.) will lead the Western New England attack after combining for 57 goals and 24 assists in 2017, while senior midfielder Justin Holl (Mount Laurel, N.J.) and junior faceoff specialist Hunter Cocks (Walden, N.Y.) will also play key roles for the Golden Bears. Senior goalie Steven Kerr (Hopkinton, Mass.), a two-time All-CCC honoree, provides experience as Western New England's last line of defense.

The Golden Bears open their 2018 campaign at Keene State on Tuesday, Feb. 27, before hosting Lasell in their home opener on Saturday, March 3. Western New England's challenging non-conference slate also features Amherst, Nazareth, Bates, St. Lawrence and Springfield, before CCC play gets underway against Curry on March 27.

   Jared Ward, WNE

2. Endicott

The Endicott men's lacrosse team will look to repeat as conference champions in 2018 behind the strong play and leadership of reigning CCC Short-Stick Specialist of the Year Hayden Souza (West Hartford, Conn.) and All-CCC Third Team selection and goalie Grant Thompson (South Hamilton, Mass.). The Gulls will also rely on All-CCC Second Team honoree Grant Garrity (Duxbury, Mass.), Will Clark (Burnt Hills, N.Y.), Matthew Faucher (Western Springs, Ill.), A.J. MacDonald (New Fairfield, Conn.), Cole McGarrigle (Norwell, Mass.), Joshua Heidrick (Littleton, Colo.), Charles Goulburn (Basking Ridge, N.J.), and Colin Fahey (Boxford, Mass.).

Endicott will prepare for its CCC title defense by playing one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country with games against the likes of Stevens Institute of Technology, Union (N.Y.), Bowdoin, Springfield, Amherst, Bates, Tufts, and Middlebury.

The Gulls' non-conference schedule alone boasts a group of teams that went 95-44 (.683), while Bates advanced as far as the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Tournament a season ago. Meanwhile, Springfield, Amherst, and Tufts all advanced to the Second Round or further in the NCAA Tournament in 2017 as well.

  Hayden Souza, EC

3. University of New England

The University of New England and sixth-year head coach Charlie Burch (2017 CCC Coach of the Year) have five starters back from last season's squad that matched program records for overall wins (14) and conference victories (6), en route to the third seed and a trip to the league semifinals. Included among the returners is the 2017 CCC Rookie of the Year and First Team selection, Adam Race (Erieville, N.Y.), who led the Nor'easters in ground balls (82) and caused turnovers (40) from his long-stick midfielder post. Junior attacker Alex Zadworny (Florence, Mass.) led the team in goals (44) on the way to a Second Team nod, and senior midfielder Tom Luttrell (Greenbrae, Calif.) (20 goals) received All-CCC Third Team status a year ago. Junior attacker Mitch Mullin (Cumberland, Maine) (23 goals) and senior face-off midfielder Matthew Layton (Medford, N.Y.) (63.4% FO) are also back for UNE.

   Tom Luttrell, UNE

 

4. Roger Williams

The Roger Williams men's lacrosse team hopes to improve upon last season's finish and come home with the program's first-ever CCC Championship. Last season, the Hawks finished 9-8 overall and 5-3 in the conference, good for fourth place. Unfortunately for RWU, the team was upset by fifth-seeded Curry in the CCC Quarterfinals.

This year's squad boasts a fairly young squad, with more than half of the team made up of underclassmen. However, the youth should provide great depth to a strong group of returners and the coaching staff is positive in the contributions that they will make. In addition to the first-year players, RWU returns four 2017 All-CCC players, including All-CCC First Team selection Shawn Errasti (Duxbury, Mass.).

   Shawn Errasti, RWU

5. Curry

The 2018 Curry men's lacrosse team returns four of their top five goal scorers from a year ago, led by senior Matt Serra (Haverhill, Mass.) who registered 33 goals and junior Devin Newell (Medford, Mass.), who tallied 31 goals. The Colonels also return five of their top seven point-getters to this year's squad.

The Curry defense looks to build off their 2017 performance. A strong groundball game from Zachary White (Milford, Conn.) (87) and Chris Bronander (Glen Ridge, N.J.) (47) will prove to have a big impact. The defensive unit will be anchored by the collective contributions of seniors Jack Boillotat (Hanover, N.H.), and Chris McGreevy (Rocky Point, N.Y.) as this year's squad as they will look to improve off a 10-9 overall record obtained in 2017, including a 3-5 mark in the CCC, highlighted by a trip to the CCC Tournament Semifinals.

    Matt Serra, CC

 

6. Nichols 

The Nichols men's lacrosse program hopes to build upon last year's 10-win campaign which resulted in a return to the CCC playoffs for the Bison. Head coach Eric Gobiel returns his top two scorers from a year ago in graduate student Reece O'Connor (North Grafton, Mass.) and senior MacKenzie Martin (Merrimack, N.H.). O'Conner led the squad in assists (37) and points (65) while Martin netted a team-leading 29 goals. Top defenders Hugh O'Donnell (Charlestown, Mass.) (22 caused turnovers, 44 ground balls) and Matt O'Connell (Woburn, Mass.) (18 caused turnovers, 40 ground balls) anchor the defense.

 
MacKenzie Martin, NC

7. Salve Regina

With nine seniors and many freshmen, the 2018 Seahawks will have a good mix of experience and young talent.  The 2018 Seahawks will boast five sets of brothers on the squad. Seniors Matt D'Amore (Duxbury, Mass), Zach Makoske (Shoreham, N.Y.), and Mike Sheehan (Wading River, N.Y.) will serve as captains. D'Amore, the anchor of the Seahawks defense last season, made 210 saves, ranking second in the CCC.

 
Matt D'Amore, SRU

8. Wentworth

With three of its top five scorers returning from a season ago, the Wentworth men's lacrosse team looks to make a return trip to the CCC Tournament after missing out in 2017. Leading the way is senior Kevin Butler (Jefferson, Mass.) who had 40 points (29 goals, 11 assists) as a junior. Sophomore Dolan McCarthy (Hyde Park, Mass.) returns after scoring 12 points (seven goals, five assists) in the Leopards' first four games before being sidelined with an injury. Junior Sean Brennan (Stony Point, N.Y) helps anchor a solid defense after leading the team in caused turnovers (19) and being second in ground balls (42) as a sophomore. He will be joined by classmate Kilian Ryan (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) who had 13 caused turnovers and 25 ground balls as season ago. Junior Peter Andersson (Madison, N.J.) returns after serving as the team's primary faceoff specialist last season where he won just under 50 percent of faceoffs taken and was third on the team with 41 ground balls. .

 
Kevin Butler, WIT

9. Gordon

Gordon returns its top two goal scorers from last season in seniors Nick Palandjian (Belmont, Mass.) and Nico Manganiello (Peabody, Mass.). Palandjian led the team with 42 goals and tied for the team lead with 13 assists, while Manganiello scored 32 goals and dished out seven assists.  Sophomore Tyler Pauls (Littleton, Colo.) is back to shore up the defense along with junior Chris Thanopoulos (Dollard-Des-Omeaux, Quebec). Sophomore goalkeeper Jay Gallipo (Dover, N.H.) also returns as he played in 13 games last season and ranked ninth in the CCC in saves with 109. The Fighting Scots open the season Feb. 24 at home against Maine Maritime. They have a road-heavy non-conference schedule, including two games played in Pennsylvania during spring break. They open CCC play against Nichols at home March 24.

 
Nick Paladjian, GC

 

Season previews contributed by each school's sports information department.

 

ABOUT THE COMMONWEALTH COAST CONFERENCE

The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), founded in 1984, is an NCAA Division III athletic conference comprised of ten full member and four associate member institutions throughout the New England region. Its membership aims to provide student-athletes with a positive experience in their pursuit of excellence through high academic standards, quality competition, and a meaningful student life. The conference administers championships in 18 intercollegiate sports.

 

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