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New Era Begins: Bonnies Men's Lacrosse Heads To High Point For First Game

New Era Begins: Bonnies Men's Lacrosse Heads To High Point For First Game

High Point, N.C.
Saturday, Feb. 2 - 11:00 a.m.
Online Coverage - Live Stats | Live Video
Complete Game Notes (PDF)

BONNIES MAKE HISTORY AT HIGH POINT: St. Bonaventure will play its first game as an NCAA Division I program when it travels to High Point on Saturday. Head coach Randy Mearns has been fond of counting down to all of the firsts in program history - and this game will take place 683 days after St. Bonaventure made the announcement that it would establish a Division I men's lacrosse program back in March 2017. St. Bonaventure joins Utah as one of two new Division I men's lacrosse teams in 2019, bringing the total to 73 D-I programs nationwide.
YOUTH IS SERVED: While it is true that two programs will play at the Division I level for the first time in men's lacrosse this season, the back stories are quite different. Utah, while just now joining the D-I level and helping to plant another flag for men's lacrosse in the West, has competed in the Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA), a confederacy of eight non-varsity college lacrosse conferences featuring over 180 teams across 43 states. Bonaventure, on the other hand, is a true start-up program, with only one season of fall ball under its belt before playing official Division I games this spring. The Bonnies boast 33 freshmen on their inaugural roster along with two transfers (junior Nik Clinton and sophomore Daire Newbrough) as well as two players who moved from Bona's existing club team to the Division I program (sophomore Ethan Pryor and the team's lone senior, Michael Caulfield).
THE SCHEDULE: The Bonnies will certainly challenge themselves in their first year of Division I play. St. Bonaventure will be road warriors this spring, playing just three home games. In non-conference action, the Bonnies will face two Inside Lacrosse preseason Top 20 squads in Cornell (No. 5) and Lehigh (No. 13). It all begins with two challenging road games - at High Point, which went 6-1 in the SoCon last year to tie for that conference's regular season crown - and at Saint Joseph's next week, a squad that finished 2018 11-4 overall and undefeated in NEC play. All three of Bona's home games will be against MAAC opponents - Detroit Mercy in the first-ever action for the program at the Marra Athletics Complex (March 9), Monmouth (April 2) and Canisius (April 9). 
ALL-AMERICAN RECRUITS: On their inaugural roster, St. Bonaventure boasts three high school All-Americans as part of their freshman class. Zack Belter was a U.S. Lacrosse All-America selection from North Tonawanda, N.Y. after taking All-State honors for helping his Niagara-Wheatfield squad to the state championship game. Nick Conklin was a U.S. Lacrosse All-America pick after registering 111 goals, 48 assists and 159 points at Johnson City (N.Y.) High School. Ben Mazur was both a U.S. Lacrosse All-American and Academic All-American pick after posting 509 saves and a 6.5 goals against average at Lancaster (N.Y.) High. 
O CANADA: It's no surprise considering that Bonnies head coach Randy Mearns is a Canadian native and has deep ties to the Canadian National Team, but St. Bonaventure has a true Canadian feel to its roster. A total of nine Bonnies players hail from Canada, giving the team the second-most Canadians of any team in Division I behind only Robert Morris (15). Along with Robert Morris, only Vermont also has more players who come from outside the U.S. (10). 
FRESHMAN, FRESHMAN: With 33 true freshmen on the roster this season, the Bonnies have more frosh than any other team in Division I. In recent years, only Furman (43 in 2014) and Jacksonville (39 in 2010) had more in their first seasons at the Division I level. 
MAAC MEMBERS: In their first season at the Division I level, St. Bonaventure will be full members of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and will be eligible for the MAAC Tournament in May. St. Bonaventure is a member of the Atlantic 10 in its other 16 NCAA Division I sports, however, the A-10 does not sponsor the sport of men's lacrosse. 
ROSTER BREAKDOWN: St. Bonaventure features players from six states (New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, Ohio) and four Canadian provinces (Alberta, Mantoba, Quebec, Ontario).
  • High Point finished last season with a record of 6-8 overall and 6-1 in the Southern Conference. The Panthers fell to Jacksonville in overtime of the SoCon Championship Tournament semifinals. After starting 0-6, the Panthers won five straight games to close out the regular season. High Point's non-conference schedule included matchups with No. 1 Duke, No. 2 Maryland and No. 6 Virginia.
  • Sophomore Asher Nolting returns from a historic freshman campaign where he broke the SoCon single-season points record, scoring 30 goals and adding 36 assists for a total of 66 points. He became the first player in SoCon history to win SoCon Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year in the same season.
  • Holting and teammate Tim Troutner Jr. were named to the 2019 Preseason All-Southern Conference team. Troutner Jr. saw nearly 700 minutes in the cage last season touting a 6-7 record. He set a program and SoCon Championship record with 22 saves against Jacksonville on May 3.
  • The Panthers were picked to finish second in this year's preseason SoCon rankings behind Richmond. High Point received one first place vote and 39 total votes.

UP NEXT: The Bonnies play at Saint Joseph's on Saturday, Feb. 9 at noon.

For the latest news on St. Bonaventure athletics, stay connected on social media. Follow the Bonnies on Twitter @GoBonnies and get men's lacrosse updates @BonniesMLAX. Keep up with the Bonnies on Facebook /GoBonnies and on Instagram @GoBonnies