There is little room for the Emerson men’s lacrosse team to go but up. Last spring, the Lions ended with a conference record of 0-6 and an overall record of 1-12.
This season, the team has expanded in both strength and numbers with a roster of 23, compared to last season’s roster of 17. Expectations among coaches and players for this season are high. A New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference preseason poll released on Feb. 25, however, ranked the Lions last out of eight schools.
Junior midfielder Conor Judge said the roster’s small size was the Lions’ main issue last season.
“We have struggled in the past with numbers,” said Judge, a communication studies major, “but we have a good squad now, we have the numbers, and we can all play. We start the season with the out-of-conference games, and I have high expectations of winning them all.”
Head coach Dan Gold said he and the team members decided on a goal of winning six out of the 16 total games they have this season.
“This would be a great jump for us,” Gold said. “The guys have been working really hard and we are all in the same place.”
Sophomore midfielder Calvin Bussiere said he expects to win at least some games this season. He said he has set a personal goal of scoring at least one goal per game.
“I expect us to be a lot better than last season, mainly because of the really good freshmen,” said Bussiere, a writing, literature, and publishing major.
Bussiere finished the 2014 season with a total of two goals.
Gold said he expects many of the incoming freshmen will contribute significantly to the team’s offense and defense.
“We brought in a big freshman class, nine players in total,” said Gold. “On the offensive side, Diego Rosende and Andrew Romano will be attack men for us; and defensively we have Jack Buchell playing short stick and long stick middie.”
The team wants to come out strong against some of the better competition in the NEWMAC, Gold said, including Springfield College and Babson College.
“We have to play a lot more competitively than [we did] last season and earn more respect from those daunting in-conference teams,” said Gold.
Springfield, with a roster of 50 players, has already competed in two games this season and has a 1-1 record. The Pride were undefeated in NEWMAC play last season and have won the tournament the past seven years.
Babson, which finished 5-1 in the NEWMAC last season, enters this year with a roster of 37.
The season starts for the Lions on March 3, with a home game against Albertus Magnus College.