NEWTON, Mass. – With 12 seniors on the roster, it is an extremely experienced group that leads Mount Ida College into their 2017 men's lacrosse season. And while this group of seniors would like to lead the team back to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) championship game, head coach Andrew Fink says this team is focused on what's immediately in front of them.
"We're taking a little bit of a different approach this year," said Fink, now in his 14th season at the helm of the program. "We're trying to really take everything as it comes to us. We are focused on Wednesday and Becker right now, and then we'll be focused on New England College on Saturday," referring to Mount Ida's two season openers this week.
The 2017 Mustangs were selected fifth overall by the group of coaches in the GNAC preseason poll, though there was clearly some split decisions, as Mount Ida received a pair of first place votes, second most behind three-time defending champions Emmanuel College.
Four of those twelve seniors make up the captains of the squad, comprised of Alex Veloukas (Salem, Mass.), Tommy Thompson (Schuylerville, N.Y.), Matt Hoffman (Brewster, N.Y.) and Chad Coehlo (Salem, Mass.), though Fink says he relies on the entire battle-tested class to lead.
"With the senior class, you have a lot of guys who work hard, who don't push back," said Fink. "Whatever we have to do to get there they will do it. There are no obstacles in front of us."
Last year's team went 9-9 overall (4-4 GNAC) and made their sixth straight GNAC postseason appearance, but Coach Fink knows that it could have seen a completely different outcome. The Mustangs lost six games by three or less goals, including a double overtime loss at Emmanuel and another overtime defeat at home to Johnson & Wales. Both those games could have shifted the momentum of the season, not to mention their postseason positioning and seeding.
The Becker home opener on Wednesday is set for 3:00 pm at Alumni Field, and then the Mustangs will play five of their next seven games on the road, returning home for their GNAC opener on April 1st against Lasell, their cross-town rivals.
Other marquee matchups this year will all be played at Alumni Field, including dates with Norwich on April 11th, Emmanuel on April 15th, and Senior Day on April 29th against Saint Joseph's (ME).