Men’s lacrosse pursuing first postseason appearance

Sophomore+attacker+Hunter+Gervais+scored+15+goals+and+recorded+10+assists+in+2019+Photo+credit%3A+Courtesy+of+Kate+Foultz

Sophomore attacker Hunter Gervais scored 15 goals and recorded 10 assists in 2019 Photo credit: Courtesy of Kate Foultz

By Alberto Gilman

As the men’s lacrosse season begins, coaches and players are ready to pursue the goal of making the first conference playoff in program history.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity this year,” head coach Matthew Colombini said in an interview. “There’s definitely a lot of potential to do some things that we haven’t been able to do in the past, and hopefully that includes making the NEWMAC playoffs for the first time and continuing to be more competitive in the league as a whole.”

In 2019, the Lions defeated Wheaton College in overtime for their first New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference victory in program history. This season, with six new freshmen and an intensive practicing regimen, the Lions are looking for their first playoff berth. They play their first match of the season against Wentworth Institute of Technology at Rotch Field on Feb. 26.

“I think we have our most talented group that we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Colombini said.

Colombini’s staff consists of assistant coaches Will Jennings and Dave Kraus, who are entering their third and fourth seasons with the team, respectively. The Lions began practicing six days a week last month and will play a 17-game schedule over the next two and a half months.

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Colombini said the team might struggle with a lack of depth in their roster.

“The biggest challenge is still going to be depth for us,” Colombini said. “We’re not the deepest team in the conference.”

Sophomore defenseman Lex Torrington said the team is focusing on fitness to help win more games this season.

“We’re depending a lot on individual strength and individual conditioning to carry us,” Torrington said in an interview.

Sophomore defenseman Jack Lewis also said a lot of their success will be based on how well they prepare in the gym and at practices.

“I think challenges are keeping guys healthy and making sure that you get into the weight room, and you keep doing little things like that to prevent bigger injuries and keep your mobility up,” Lewis said in an interview. “I think another big challenge is not necessarily a playing thing, but just keeping the focus for a full two, two and half hours in practice and not letting the energy drag.”

On Feb. 12, NEWMAC released the 2020 preseason coaches poll, with the Lions sitting at the bottom of the list. Freshman defenseman Ryan Sphar said the ranking motivates them.

“Our goal is to change that ranking and to prove that ranking wrong,” Sphar said in an interview.

Junior defenseman Lucas Sickner said this ranking further motivates the team to make the playoffs and prove doubters wrong.

“We kind of love having that chip on our shoulder,” Sickner said in an interview.

Despite what the preseason coaches poll suggests, sophomore midfielder Alex Hrisanthopoulos said this year’s team is prepared to reach new levels of success.

“It seems like, as of right now, we feel like this is probably the strongest team we’ve had in Emerson lacrosse history,” Hrisanthopoulos said in an interview. ”Going forward, we’re just building upon that”.

In addition to the four players from last season that graduated, the team will be without sophomore goalie Daniel Hollis, who passed away in Sept. 2019 from fatal injuries sustained in a late-night altercation in Allston.

Senior attacker Austin Franklin said the Lions plan to honor Hollis throughout the season.

“One of the things that we are doing this year to honor Dan is, every week, we’re having a practice player named who gets to wear Dan’s practice pinnie for that week,” Franklin said in an interview. “That person can earn the practice pinnie based off of hard work or just being a good teammate and carrying themselves in Dan’s light.”

Franklin said the team came together following the tragedy.

“Dan’s jersey was hung up in our locker room,” Franklin said. “It’s something we can look at every day.”