ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – For the past 638 days since the announcement of its inception as an NCAA Division I program back in March 2017, the St. Bonaventure men's lacrosse team has celebrated a series of firsts. Now, the Bonnies officially have their first schedule as their inaugural season kicks off Feb. 2.
"We are very excited to be playing real games. It's been a long time coming," St. Bonaventure head coach Randy Mearns said. "We've gone through a lot of learning experiences. Our players have been working extremely hard trying to get better every day and the culmination of all that hard work is coming in 2019."
The very first opponent for the Bonnies is High Point as the Brown and White travels to North Carolina for a non-conference game against the Panthers of the Southern Conference. High Point went 6-8 overall after a challenging out of conference slate, but finished 6-1 vs. SoCon foes last season to tie for that conference's regular season crown.
St. Bonaventure then makes the trip to Philadelphia to face Saint Joseph's on Saturday, Feb. 9 in a contest that may be tough for many fans to remember as a non-conference battle. Atlantic 10 rivals in every other sport, the Hawks are members of the Northeast Conference in men's lacrosse and are a squad that finished last year 11-4 overall including an undefeated mark in conference play before being upset in the second round of the NEC Tournament.
The Bonnies will be a full member of the MAAC in the sport of men's lacrosse and their first conference game is set for Saturday, Feb. 23 when they play at new MAAC rival Manhattan. The Jaspers went 4-10 overall a season ago.
The wait for Bonnies fans to see their new team debut at the Marra Athletics Complex finally comes to an end Saturday, March 9 when MAAC foe Detroit, last year's MAAC runner-up, visits Western New York for a 6 p.m. start time. In an action-packed day on campus, the home debut for men's lacrosse takes place following men's basketball Senior Day at the Reilly Center earlier that afternoon.
St. Bonaventure will host three home games in its inaugural season – all conference contests. Along with the Detroit game, Monmouth, a MAAC Tournament qualifier last year, visits on Tuesday, April 2 and defending MAAC champion Canisius comes to the Marra Complex on Tuesday, April 9 as the Little Three rivals meet as conference foes for the first time.
Bona travels to play MAAC games on the road at Siena (March 12), last season's MAAC regular season champion Quinnipiac (March 23) and Marist (April 16) as well.
One of the gems of the non-conference schedule sees the Bonnies travel to Ithaca for a tough test at Cornell, ranked fifth in the preseason Inside Lacrosse Face-Off Yearbook, on March 19. The Big Red reached the second round of last year's NCAA Tournament.
Also during the non-conference portion of the schedule, St. Bonaventure will also play at NEC member Hobart (March 27), independent Cleveland State (April 6), and Lehigh (April 13), last year's runner-up in the Patriot League which enters the year ranked No. 13 in the Inside Lacrosse preseason poll.
It's a challenging slate for the new program featuring 32 freshmen on the inaugural season roster. It's also a unique schedule that will see the Bonnies taking on very early MAAC games during their first season of membership, giving the squad conference tests right out of the gates.
"The schedule is a little different than usual as we had to work around some scheduling that was already in place when we were accepted into the MAAC," Mearns said. "As a result, our schedule ends a couple of weeks before the MAAC Tournament as well, but we just want to compete. We need to grow up very quickly and figure out what our true mix is, but I know our coaches and players are really excited. I really and truly believe that when the guys are home during Christmas break they are going to be trying to get better every day. It's here and we are ready to go."
Four of the league's eight members will qualify for the MAAC Tournament set for May 2-4 in Poughkeepsie. St. Bonaventure's three home games will all air through ESPN+. Broadcast details on the rest of the schedule will be announced later.
By Scott Eddy, Director of Athletics Communications
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