By Eric Brod
One goal was all that separated the Bison men’s lacrosse team from victory five times last year. Even with an impressive 8-6 record in 2010, many felt the lacrosse team could have accomplished much more than a semifinal round exit in the Patriot League Tournament against Army, 9-7.
Despite the heartbreaking end to 2010, 2011 brings much promise to the Orange and Blue. Inside Lacrosse ranks the Bison No. 20 in its season preview poll, and the team returns eight starters from last year, including its entire defense, led by all-league selections Alex Lyons ’11 and Jason Neithamer ’12, and the entire faceoff unit, highlighted by Jake Clarke ’11. The team did suffer some major losses with a graduating class that included Austin Winter and 100-point scorer Tim Brandau. However, head coach Frank Fedorjaka brought in a strong 13-man recruiting class.
“I think we’re a lot more mentally tough this year,” said Goalie Kyle Feeney ’13. “We’ve worked a lot harder this offseason, and we came back a week earlier from winter break to prepare for this season. We really want to avenge those one-goal losses from last year.”
Regular season action for the team starts Saturday when the Orange and Blue host Canisius. The Bison will be tested early to begin the season against two strong Philadelphia teams, first at home against the Villanova Wildcats on Feb. 26 and with an away contest against the Penn Quakers on March 1. The Orange and Blue open league play March 5 at Navy and get their first chance at revenge from last year’s league tournament when they travel to West Point to take on Army April 9.
Redemption will be the story for the 2011 team as they look to get over the massive hump that is the Patriot League Tournament and return to the NCAA tournament. The players who went through last year’s up-and-down season, from the one-point loss against Duke, the eventual National Champion, in overtime to the thrilling 8-7 overtime win over Colgate just to make the league tournament, are prepared for a grinding and grueling road. For this team, the time is now to claim the Patriot League Championship as their own.