“This is a really exciting year that we have our first full class of upperclassmen,” said Head Coach Ed Stephenson. Our first recruiting class are now juniors, that has made a significant difference with our leadership and we are seeing that in practice, all through the fall and going into the spring, a little bit more mature at the top end now, and that’s been significant.”
The River Hawks will begin their third Division I season on Saturday, February 11th against Patriot League foe Boston University at Cushing Field Complex in Lowell. UMass Lowell will be fully eligible for post-season play in 2018. The River Hawks will start the season with a very competitive non-conference four-game homestand, followed by a three-game road trip to Monmouth, Manhattan and UMass. UMass Lowell opens America East play on Saturday, March 18th vs. Binghamton in Lowell.
Junior Sean Tyrrell lead the team with 38 points (20g,18a), as he played in all 16 games for the River Hawks in his sophomore campaign. The Calgary, Alberta native notched a goal in 12 of 16 games and posted four multi-goal efforts in the 2016 season. Tyrrell registered a career-high four goals on March 15, 2016 against Wagner.
Sophomore Grant Lardieri (Ada, Mich.) is once again expected to handle goaltending duties for the River Hawks in 2017. He finished the year with 10+ saves in six games and his 8.79 saves per game ranked sixth among America East goaltenders last season.
Junior midfielder Sam Klingsporn (Aloha, Ore.) returns to the field after playing just five games for the River Hawks last season, he led the team with 14 goals during that time. Klingsporn scored 12 goals in 14 contests in his first season at UMass Lowell in 2015.
The River Hawks were picked sixth in the America East Preseason Coaches’ Poll which was announced earlier in the month. "I've been in America East for 15 years, and I can only say that as a group we are much better at coaching than prognosticating," said Stephenson. "Our goal is to finish at the top of the conference in the more important post season standings. I look three doors down from my office where Christian Figueroa and his men's soccer staff took their pre-season second to last place poll position and produced the number one ranked team in the AEC. I think the top team in the conference this year is anybody's game. In my decade and a half in the league I see more parity than ever."
The Rivers Hawks posted a 3.22 GPA in the fall, the second highest GPA of any men’s team at UMass Lowell. They honored 34 players that posted a 3.0 GPA or higher in the fall semester at the annual spring Academic and Leadership Awards banquet in mid-January.
“The fundamentals have always been important, the little things are so vital for us, we definitely want to reduce our turnovers, being a young team last year, we had a lot of turnovers, and that’s par for the course, typical for a team building a new group. This year we are looking to take advantage of the high percentage opportunities, this year if we are going to have success that will be a critical factor.”
The River Hawks return 32 letter winners and 98.6% of the team's offense from their 2016 team that won four games.
KEYS TO THE SEASON
Cut down on turnovers
See our attack come on stronger, develop chemistry
Junior attackman Sean Tyrrell (Calgary, Alta.) and junior defender Will Puduski (Westford, Mass.) of the UMass Lowell men's lacrosse team were named co-captains by Head Coach Ed Stephenson as part of the River Hawk leadership team in late January.
The River Hawks added 13 freshman to round out the 2017 roster. "It was a great recruiting class, it was our best one to date," said Stephenson. "They are competing and trying to work their way in and see some playing. There are a lot of guys on the doorstep right now."
"I think what's most important is our culture that we have been building over the last three years," said co-captain Will Puduski (Westford, Mass.). "It's built around hard work, toughness and a blue collar mentality. It's what we have been working around and making sure we instill that in all of our guys."