By Matthew Amaral
Last year was a productive one for Bryant University Lacrosse as both Men’s and Women’s won the Northeast Conference and made appearances in the NCAA tournament. Going into the 2018 season, both teams not only have high expectations for themselves but each has been named favorites to win the Northeast Conference in the annual preseason Northeast Conference coaches poll. Men’s lacrosse, currently 1-1, opened their season up with a 15-7 win against Manhattan but dropped to Bucknell 14-12. The Bulldogs are now without their leading goal scorer, Tucker James, who last season had career highs in both goals (43) and assists (27). James was then drafted in the sixth round of the Major Lacrosse League draft by the New York Lizards and currently is an assistant coach for the Bulldogs. But still, his presence on the field will be hard to replace. Freshman Marc O’Rourke, from Hingham, Massachusetts has taken strides in the first two games to fill the void James left behind in the Bulldog offense. O’Rourke tallied 3 goals and 2 assists versus Manhattan and 2 goals and 1 assists versus Bucknell. Clearly, Coach Mike Pressler has a great amount of confidence in the freshman to not only score but to create opportunity. Next, senior Tom Kennedy is looking to step up this season for the Bulldogs as an offensive presence. Kennedy, who also played on Bryant’s football team recording 888 receiving yards, 9 receiving touchdowns on 57 receptions along with 3 rushing touchdowns this past fall, is coming off a career year on the lacrosse field. Last season, Kennedy tallied a career high in goals (24) and assists (15) and was named to the All NEC 1st team. There is no question that he is determined to have an even better season in 2018. Bryant Men’s lacrosse plays 5th ranked Yale at home on March 3rd, both teams reached the NCAA tournament last year making that game one that fans should highlight on their calendar.
Women’s lacrosse on the other hand, began their season with a scrimmage versus Yale on February 10th, as stated previously they have been selected as favorites to win the Northeast conference in 2018. Returning for the Bulldogs is last year’s NEC offensive player of the year, Jess DeMeo. Heading into her junior season, DeMeo totaled 58 goals and 11 assists as a sophomore and is recognized as a premier player in the NEC that scored in all but 2 games for the Bulldogs. Returning in net for Bryant is last season’s NEC tournament MVP, Sam Santeramo. Santeramo earned herself an All NEC 1st team bid last season, ranking 2nd in conference for saves along with a save percentage of .508% that was 6th in the nation. As an anchor of this Bulldog defense, Santeramo’s excellence in goal gives her teammates energy and momentum. After a stellar freshman campaign on attack for the Bulldogs, Caitlin Breglia looks to improve for her sophomore season. In 2017, Breglia was named to the All NEC Rookie team as well as All NEC 1st team after finding the back of the net 40 times for the Bulldogs and assisting on another 16 goals. With DeMeo and Breglia still at the helm, the Bulldogs’ high powered offense will continue to be a threat this spring. Bryant Women’s lacrosse opens their season on February 24th when they host the Great Danes from Albany.