Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/31/20
From Press Release
The Saint Joseph’s men’s lacrosse team has been predicted to finish second in West Division in the 2020 Northeast Conference regular-season standings, as voted on by the league’s 10 head coaches and announced on Wednesday afternoon.
The Hawks, who missed last season’s NEC Tournament by one goal, return 26 letterwinners, including eight starters and its face-off unit from a year ago, and add 24 newcomers, including 18 true freshmen, this spring under the direction of ninth-year head coach Taylor Wray.
The NEC is split into East and West Divisions this year. Five teams will qualify for the postseason with the #4 seed hosting the #5 seed in a play-in prior to the start of the NEC Tournament, which will continue to take place at the #1 seed.
The 26 returning Hawks include the 2019 NEC Rookie of the Year and First Team face-off specialist Zach Cole (Lenape, NJ), 2019 NEC Second Team goalkeeper Mike Adler, and 2019 NEC Rookie Team attackman Ryan Doran.
Additionally, the Hawks were predicted to finish third in the NEC by Inside Lacrosse magazine, as announced on January 22. Cole was also tabbed to the publication’s Preseason All-Conference Team as the lone face-off specialist.
Saint Joseph’s will begin its quest toward the 2020 NEC Tournament on March 14, taking on Bryant in Smithfield, R.I. All conference games will be played on Saturdays at 1:00 p.m.
In 2020, the NEC expands to 10 teams, with the addition of Merrimack and LIU, as well as NJIT as an associate. A divisional format will be played over seven weeks in which each team will play their four divisional opponents and three crossover opponents. The conference office will determine the crossover opponents each year.
The Hawks will remain on the road to face new-to-the-NEC Merrimack in North Andover, Mass. (Mar. 21). The Warriors won back-to-back NCAA Division II Men’s Lacrosse Championship titles from 2018-19 and embark on their first year in Division I this spring.
Saint Joseph’s will return home to host Mount St. Mary’s (Mar. 28) before hitting the road to face Robert Morris in Moon Township, Pa. (Apr. 4).
The Hawks will close out the regular season by hosting two of their final three contests. Sacred Heart will come to Sweeney Field (Apr. 11) before the Hawks close out the road slate at new-to-the-NEC NJIT in Newark, N.J. (Apr. 18). After establishing men’s lacrosse as a Division I varsity sport in 2013 and beginning competition during the 2014-15 academic year, the Highlanders move from competing independently to competing as a member of the NEC in 2020.
The Crimson and Gray will host new-to-the-NEC LIU in the regular-season finale on April 25.
SJU is currently 28-8 all-time in NEC regular-season games (six seasons) entering the 2020 campaign.
The 2020 NEC Tournament will expand to five teams. The #5 at #4 game will take place at the #4 campus on Tuesday, April 28. The semis will be played on Thursday, April 30 and the finals will be played on Saturday, May 2 at the highest seed.
2020 NORTHEAST CONFERENCE PRESEASON POLL