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.”