The winter season isn’t even over in college sports, but the Thomas men’s lacrosse team has already had two scrimmages for its spring season. The Terriers will play their first regular-season game Wednesday at Emerson, and it’s scheduled for a 5 p.m. start.
“The main concern is really not conditions down in Boston,” Thomas coach Jake Cohen said. “It’s more the travel. It’s a rain or shine sport. If it snows too hard, we’ll break out the orange and yellow balls.”
Yahoo! weather forecasts temperatures in the 20s and possible snow at game time Wednesday. Cohen said depending on the conditions, the Terriers may use neoprene or latex gloves, or put tape over the earholes of their helmets to block out the wind.
The big task for Thomas this season will be replacing goalkeeper Jesse Morkeski, who started all 14 games last year. Morkeski is now the assistant coach, and Cohen said the front-runner for the starting role is freshman Carlos Cardona of Florida.
“It’s much like asking a freshman quarterback to step in,” Cohen said. “There’s a learning curve there, but I think he’ll do a good job. I think it’ll pay dividends in the long run in terms of the growth of our program.”
The Terriers finished 4-10 last spring, including 3-5 in the North Atlantic Conference. Cohen is optimistic Thomas can improve on its win total this year. The Terriers had five players in double figures in goals last season, and four of them return. There’s also a strong freshman class.
“Depth is still going to be an issue for us,” Cohen said. “But I like our first-line midfield. I really think our starters can play with anyone in the conference.”
Gunnar Shelton of Oregon made first-team all-conference last season when he had 15 goals and 16 assists. He’s joined in the midfield by freshmen Oleg Deyle of New York and Caleb Munci of Maryland. Attackers Bryan Ferris and Jordan Marino are each coming off 14-goal seasons, and freshman Derek Driscoll will hold down the “X” position.
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The season opener for the Colby women’s lacrosse team is also right around the corner, although in the Mules’ case, they take on New England Small College Athletic Conference rival Trinity, ranked No. 2 in the nation in Division III. That game is scheduled for noon, Saturday in Hartford, Conn., while Colby’s home opener is slated for 7 p.m., Wednesday, March 5, against Husson.
Trinity is coming off a 21-1 season with a loss to Salisbury in the national championship game. The Bantams have won the last three NESCAC titles.
“I think it’s a great first game,” Colby coach Karen MacCrate Henning said. “It’s going to be a good gauge on where we’re at, but we also get to focus on us.”
Goalkeeper Michelle Burt (9-4, 7.62 goals-against average) is back for Colby, as are top scorers Katharine Eddy (21 goals, 31 assists, 52 points) and Lindsey McKenna (47-4-51). Colby is ranked ninth in the country, and is one of four NESCAC teams in the top 10.
“We don’t really focus on it either way, if there’s a target on our back or on someone else’s back,” Henning said. “We just have to bring it either way. That’s been a lot of our focus this year, is not really worrying about what anyone else is doing, and just do the best we can.”
Henning expects freshman midfielders Emilie Klein and Cassie Rodgers to both see time on Saturday against Trinity.
“There are some other very good first-years,” Henning said. “It’s just a matter of where they are come Saturday.”
Henning has seen the forecasts of snow for the rest of this week, the weekend, and early next week, so playing a home game on Wednesday may be unrealistic.
“I think we might have some obstacles, but hopefully, we’re allowed to play,” she said. “It’s fine either way. We’ll make it work.”