WALTHAM, Mass. – The men's lacrosse team will take the field for the first time on Saturday when they host New York Tech in the first of 13 games in the 2018 season.
Head coach Jim Murphy, now in his 26th season in charge of the program, enters 2018 as the 5th winningest active coach in Division II with 189 career victories, which is the 9th most all-time in Division II.
Murphy returns some key players from last season's team that suffered three one goal defeats to ranked teams, and will also have a few key players to replace that graduated. Among those that graduated is two-time All-American face-off man Max Adler, who was drafted by the Denver Outlaws in Major League Lacrosse, and attacker John Wheeler, who led the team in points last season with 37 and tied for the most goals with 24. Starting defenders Robert Kramer, Connor Holbrook and Patrick Shine also graduated.
There are a number of talented players though ready to step in. Sanford and Hurley were both named Preseason All-New England. Sanford notched 24 goals and 12 assists last season, while Hurley was named second team All-NE10 after scoring 23 goals in 2017.
Junior midfielder Alex Astarita (Bedford, N.H./Bishop Guertin) is another key returnee. Astarita had 16 goals and nine assists last season, and was named to the NE10 All-Rookie team in 2016.
Defensively, a number of players that waited in the wings last season behind the experienced group that graduated will have an opportunity to seize, including Rogers, Jack Taddeo (Penfield, N.Y./Penfield), Ian Hiltz (Westerly, R.I./Westerly), and Steve Marino Jr (Wakefield, Mass./Wakefield).
In goal, senior Robert Hamerman (Manhasset, N.Y./Manhasset) is the most experienced member. He played in 11 games last season and started four. Junior Sean Bennett (Hopkinton, Mass./Hopkinton) and Michael Haggan (Braintree, Mass./BC High) also saw some action last season.
On the schedule front, Bentley will be facing a New York Tech team in the opener that will already be playing its fifth game of the season. Next Saturday, the Falcons travel to Rochester, N.Y. to face Roberts Wesleyan in their only other non-conference game.
The Falcons NE10 opener is at home on March 17, and it's against a tough opponent in Le Moyne, the two-time defending conference champions. Bentley's home schedule also includes games against Merrimack (March 28), Franklin Pierce (March 31), Assumption (April 11) and Pace (21).