As the Emerson men’s lacrosse team embarks on its second year in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC), there is nowhere to go but up. In their first season of GNAC competition, the Lions were only able to win two games. Seven of the 12 losses were by double figures.
Senior Daniel Gold said that, although the Lions lack players, he hopes the team’s passion will pave the way for a successful season.
“I think we’re going to look short numbers-wise, but we’re going to look very rich in heart and spirit,” Gold said.
In 2011, Gold put up 20 goals and assisted on another 13.
And while Emerson is returning several standout players — Max Smith was named GNAC Rookie of the Week twice in 2011 and Josh Anderson scored 28 goals in only 10 games — its 16-man roster is dwarfed by its rivals. Conference champion Mount Ida fields 37 players.
“A lot of our teams in our conference dress 40. We’re going to dress probably about 16 this year,” said head coach Nathaniel Mayo. The team initially had 11 players on the roster over the winter, but acquired another five through team manager Renee Safir’s recruiting. The Lions fielded 17 in 2011.
Both Mayo and Gold said they feel that the team has a greater potential than it did last season, when it finished 2-12.
“I think that the returners are going to be better and bigger contributors,” Gold said.
He also said that the new additions to the team are skillful and, as a whole, he feels the Lions are more talented than they were last season. A preseason poll by the GNAC cited the senior leadership of Gold, Eric Helfman, and Kevin Crompton as a strong point.
According to Mayo and Gold, the upcoming season will still be tough. Mayo said that last year it was difficult for the team to keep pushing past halftime, and the fatigue resulting from the low number of players could potentially hinder the team’s record.
“We should be competitive as far as being able to finish the games,” Mayo said. “I don’t know if we’re going to be able to just because of our numbers.” The Lions made the playoffs last year, but were defeated 19-1 in the first round by Norwich University.
After the preseason practices in the Bobbi Brown and Steven Plofker Gym end, Emerson will start the season against Rivier March 24, whom they defeated 17-2 last year.