By John Cole
The men’s lacrosse season is almost upon us, with their first regular season game being played this Saturday, Feb. 18 against Dartmouth. Last year, head coach Randy Mearns and his squad went 4-8, losing in the MAAC semifinals to Quinnipiac. After making the MAAC semifinals last year, the Griffs are looking toward a promising 2017 season.
Tough Road Ahead
After ending last year below .500, there is room for improvement, but it will not come easy. This year’s schedule for the men’s lacrosse team is full of challenging opponents. Half of the Griffs’ upcoming games are against above .500 opponents. Not only do the Griffs play a strong non-conference schedule, but more than half of their games come on the road.
The Western Frontier
After their game against Dartmouth, Canisius will fly out to Denver. The Griffs will participate in the Pioneer Face-Off Classic, first playing Air Force, followed by a game against the nation’s top ranked team, Denver. This will give the Griffs a chance to show what they’re made of early on in the season.
Player of the Year
Jeff Edwards was named Preseason Player of the Year from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Last year Edwards was among the elite players in the nation. Averaging 3.33 points per game, Edwards ranked fourth among all NCAA midfielders in the category. Look for Edwards to perform at the same elite level this year as he leads the Griffs.
The preseason poll, voted on by MAAC coaches, has the Griffs ranked in the bottom half of the conference. The preseason polls don’t mean much, considering no games have been played.
There are 11 new players who have been added to the Canisius roster. Five of the eleven players come from Canada. Five others hail from New York, while the last newcomer resides in Ohio. The coaching staff did a good job of bringing in some serious talent. Out of these players, six of them were captains for their respective schools, while three earned all-region honors. These players, who are continuing their lacrosse career at Canisius, join a team of 21 returners.
The Dynamic Trio
This season there, will be three co-captains for the Griffs: seniors Jeff Edwards and Lewis Vaccaro, along with junior Steven Coss. Edwards is a huge asset to the team, ranking in the top 10 of the nation in points per game, and assists per game. Vaccaro has worked his way into a captain position. After relatively quiet seasons as a freshman and sophomore, Vaccaro burst onto the scene last year. He was placed on the best midfield line on the team, where he excelled, recording 19 points. Coss is the team’s faceoff specialist and was instrumental to Canisius’ success in the MAAC tournament last year, setting a school record for restarts. These three captains will be leading the Griffs into battle in the upcoming season.
Canisius’ first game will be played this Saturday in Victor, New York, at the Pinnacle Athletic Campus. The first home game for the Griffs will be Saturday, March 18 against Marist.