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Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference men’s lacrosse outlook for 2018

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference men’s lacrosse outlook for 2018
Canisius senior attackman Connor Kearnan led the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in points last spring and was tied for first in goals en route to being named the league’s Co-Offensive Player of the Year. (Canisius College)

With the start of the 2018 college lacrosse season just a few weeks away, here is the seventh installment of a series that offers a preview of the battles for conference championships in Division I. The leagues are scheduled to appear in alphabetical order. Monday’s visit was with the Ivy League. Tuesday takes a spin through the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

Team on top: After finishing second in 2016 and third in 2017 in the conference standings, Marist is primed to secure its first league championship since 2015. The team could welcome back as many as seven starters, including senior attackman Gannon Morrison (29 goals, 11 assists) and sophomore attackman Joe Tierney (12 G, 20 A). In fact, the Red Foxes could return six of their top eight scorers. Losing attackman J.D. Recor (18 G, 31 A) via graduation is a setback, but the team might have enough talent to compensate for his departure.

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Team on the rise: Quinnipiac slid from first in the league in 2016 to sixth in 2017, but that might’ve been a temporary drop. This year’s offense is set to bring back seven of its top nine scorers, including its top three of senior attackman Brian Feldman (30 G, 5 A), junior midfielder Foster Cuomo (14 G, 9 A) and senior midfielder Anthony Carchietta (9 G, 12 A). It remains to be seen whether sophomore goalkeeper Anthony Zukauskas (11.97 goals-against average and .397 save percentage in three starts) can succeed Jack Brust (11.09 goals-against average, .529 save percentage in eight starts).

Team on the decline: In only its fourth season in the league, Monmouth took home the regular-season and tournament crowns before losing to Bryant in the NCAA postseason’s play-in game. Recapturing that magic, however, might be a long shot after the graduation of six starters, including All-MAAC first-team goalkeeper Nick Hreshko (7.14 goals-against average, .584 save percentage) and league tournament Most Valuable Player Tyler Keen (27 G, 6 A). The Hawks do return a pair of first-team all-conference picks in senior attackman Bryce Wasserman (29 G, 16 A) and senior defenseman Garrett Pfeifer (33 GB, 18 CT), but will the losses be too great?

Prime-time player: Canisius’ run to its third berth in the conference’s four-team tournament in the past four years was sparked by the league’s Co-Offensive Player of the Year. Connor Kearnan paced the MAAC in scoring with 59 points, was tied for first in goals with 35 and ranked second in assists with 24. The senior attackman finished the season tied for eighth on the Griffins’ single-season scoring list and could build on that mark in the upcoming spring.

Underrated player: The other half of that Co-Offensive Player of the Year award went to Chris Robertson. The Siena attackman tied Kearnan with 35 goals — seven of which came on extra-man opportunities, which was tied for sixth in the country. Robertson also ranked fifth on the team in ground balls with 25, and the senior might need a similar showing if the Saints harbor any hope of getting to the league tournament for the first time since 2014.

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