It’s that time of the year. Snow is falling, temperatures are freezing and lacrosse is heating up.
Oh it’s not that season yet? A little too ahead of the times, but the Quinnipiac men’s lacrosse team has released its 2020 schedule. The Bobcats start play against Rutgers Feb. 1. There are a lot of changes to head coach Mason Poli’s team upcoming after leading the team to second in the conference and losing in the MAAC final to Marist 15-14, as a rookie head coach.
After one season, Poli earned a contract extension and to be the full time head coach after the firing of former skipper Eric Fekete.
Now coming into this season, two big names are missing off the Bobcats’ roster: Mike Fletcher and Foster Cuomo. Both Fletcher and Cuomo graduated, leaving a big hole on offense as the two combined for 100 points, 68 goals and 34 assists just last season. Now it’s time for the Bobcats to find replacements on the stat sheet, and in the leadership realm.
Players to Watch:
Jake Tomsik – Junior Attack
This one is very obvious. There is no way to avoid Tomsik when discussing players to watch for next season. Though, Cuomo and Fletcher carried a big load on offense, Tomsik carried the biggest load throughout the season. In the 2019 season, Tomsik led the Bobcats with points (60), goals (37) and assists (23). He also had to lead the way early on in the season when Cuomo and Fletcher were not playing. The team went 2-3 before MAAC play and Tomsik had a career high eight goals against NJIT. Throughout the season he continued performing very well, ultimately being honored with an all-MAAC first team selection. If the Bobcats are to find success throughout the upcoming season, Tomsik needs to play his A game, every game.
Nick DiMuccio – Sophomore Goalie
DiMuccio came out firing on all cylinders as a first-year member of the Bobcats. The goalie made 13.88 saves per game, which ranked fourth nationally and led the MAAC. He also had a 52.4% save percentage, and made the all-MAAC rookie first team and an honorable mention for College Crosse’s rookie team. For DiMuccio to come in as a first-year under the type of heat he was facing and be one of the better goalies in the conference is no small feat. If the Bobcats are going to continue being very offense-heavy, the team needs a reliable goalie behind them to hold off other teams’ attacks on fast-break and man-down situations. Look for DiMuccio to be that staple back in net for Quinnipiac.
Will Abbott – Sophomore Midfielder
Another player that cannot be left off the list, is Abbott. Like DiMuccio came in and helped the Bobcats right away as a first-year, Abbott did the same. He recorded 34 points, with 20 goals and 14 assists, starting all 16 games and both tournament games. He made a strong impact both offensively and defensively. Through both sides of the field, he would help get stops on defense and bring the ball up for the offense to score quickly. For his play, Abott was recognized as an all-MAAC rookie first team, all-MAAC first team and College Crosse’s all-rookie third team. Many games he was the unsung hero, and for the Bobcats to stay successful he needs to keep up the pace he is on.
The Bobcats are going into this season with a very tough schedule to begin their season. They start the season with six out-of-conference games, with only two in their home state: one at home against Brown and another at Fairfield. The other four are against Rutgers, UMass Lowell, Vermont and LIU. This is a very tough stretch of games, as Rutgers is in the Big Ten, a regular opponent with Maryland, Ohio State, Penn State and Johns Hopkins who always are competing for the national championship. Quinnipiac lost to Vermont, UMass Lowell and Brown last year. The team should not look down on LIU or Fairfield, as LIU looks to make a statement in their first season as a division one team and Fairfield will want to compete with their in-state counterparts. Then the team has two more out-of-conference games with Connecticut foes Hartford and Yale, both on the road. The team beat Hartford and lost to Yale last year.
If Quinnipiac comes out of its out-of-conference schedule with three or more wins and competes with teams such as Rutgers, Brown and Yale, it would be a success.
This is where the Bobcats need to make a mark. The team will play three conference games at home and four on the road. Their conference schedule starts with a revenge game against Marist (Mar. 14), who beat the Bobcats in the regular season and in the MAAC finals. Then after Hartford, Quinnipiac plays five straight conference games with Siena, St. Bonaventure, Monmouth, Canisius and Detroit Mercy before finishing out the regular season against Manhattan.
With this team being so young, expect a few hiccups throughout the season, but still win at least five games or potentially go undefeated in MAAC play. If the team is under five wins, Quinnipiac will not look like a contender come MAAC tournament time.