MLAX: Bonnies travel to Monmouth for MAAC semifinal

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Anthony Goss

WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ — “We earned our right to get to the semifinals,” St. Bonaventure men’s lacrosse coach Randy Mearns said. “We’ve got a long way to go, but we are excited for the opportunity.” 

The Bonnies played their way into their first ever Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference semifinal after a fast start and eventual 11-8 victory over Detroit Mercy on Friday afternoon.  

“You kind of feel the confidence,” Mearns said. “We just continue to say, ‘don’t get too high or don’t get too low’.”  

Despite the excitement surrounding the team, the Bonnies remain quiet but confident in their ability.  

“Guys have this quiet energy, this quiet confidence,” Mearns said. “We got great guys in the locker room; they just work hard every day.” 

Bona came into its last matchup as an underdog when it hosted Detroit. This time, the underdogs will hit the road against the Monmouth Hawks, the No. 2 seed in the MAAC men’s lacrosse championship tournament.  

“I think we relish that role,” Mearns said. “We also know that we were in every game this year, even the Monmouth game (that) we lost.” 

In their lone matchup against the Hawks, the Bonnies took a 10-8 lead into the fourth quarter but could not finish the job. Monmouth outscored Bona 5-2 in the final frame to secure a 13-12 victory.  

“We had four or five failed clears, and that resulted in more opportunities for them,” Mearns said. “But that’s the learning experience.” 

Clearing was an issue for SBU, but face-offs were another area where Bona struggled. Monmouth crushed the faceoff battle, 24-5.  

Mearns’ squad has adjusted, however, and the third-year skipper believes his players are more confident heading into their second game against the Hawks. 

“We’ve made some adjustments on the wings, and I think that has provided some confidence to Austin (Holley),” Mearns said. “We’re hopeful he’s going to be able to give (Matt) Soutar a better run for his money.” 

Soutar and five other Hawks were placed on all-conference teams. Defenseman Chris Hervada was named co-defensive player of the year. Mearns knows the Bonnies will have to be on guard in this rematch.  

“We have to earn everything,” Mearns said. “If we hit singles and not go for home runs, we like our chances.” 

The Bonnies and the Hawks will square off at 3 p.m. on Wednesday at Monmouth’s Kessler Stadium, and the game will be broadcasted on ESPN+.  

“It’s the wacky MAAC,” Mearns said. “On any given day, anybody can beat anybody.” 

MLAX: Bonnies set to host Detroit Mercy in MAAC quarterfinal

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Anthony Goss

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — “It was really important to us to build the foundation of the program.” 

St. Bonaventure men’s lacrosse head coach Randy Mearns has, in fact, built the foundation of a reborn Bonnies program looking at history Friday afternoon. 

The sixth-seeded Bonnies will host No. 3 Detroit Mercy in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference quarterfinal at 1 p.m. Not only will this be the first postseason game the team has hosted since the program’s re-emergence three years ago, but will be SBU’s first-even playoff game under Mearns.
 

“It’s been exciting to kinda play in front of our home crowd,” Mearns said. “We really enjoy and love the confines of the Marra Sports Complex in the rolling hills of Allegany. I don’t think that it’s really any more pressure, I just think that we’re excited to actually be able to have it at home.” 

Heading into the matchup, the Bonnies pose a record of 4-4, having won three of their last four games. Mearns sees the recent stretch as a positive, but remains attentive to the current moment. 
 

“I think we do have momentum, but I think it’s also a guarded momentum as opposed to the win against Quinnipiac,” he said. 
 

The win against Quinnipiac was followed by an 11-7 defeat to Detroit Mercy on March 13.  
 

“Detroit got right up on top of us and we were like deer in the headlights,” Mearns said. “They took it to us that game.” 

Detroit comes into this game with a 3-3 record after having their last two contests cancelled. Mearns stressed the importance of stopping the Titans’ offense, as well as limiting midfielder Alex Jarzembowski on faceoffs.  
 

“It’s faceoffs and it’s goaltending,” Mearns said. “We’re going to need to have a strong defensive outing against Detroit. They can score with the best of them.”  

Despite the challenges Detroit presents, Bona’s improvement in recent weeks could give it an edge heading into the matchup.  

“We’ve gotten much more organized,” Mearns said. “Our defensive guys have built a lot of chemistry where we’re trusting each other and having confidence in our teammates and the game plan.”

In a shortened season with a schedule limited to only MAAC games for both clubs, there will be a sense of familiarity when the two teams face off on Friday. Nonetheless, Mearns remains confident in his team to be prepared for the moment.  
 

“We’re at home, but we’re the underdogs,” Mearns said. “They aren’t gonna surprise our guys.”