The St. Bonaventure men's lacrosse team makes the trip to the City of Brotherly Love this weekend for its second game. While the Bonnies and Hawks are longtime Atlantic 10 rivals in a host of other sports, this will be the first time that the two schools will play each other as members of two different conferences. The Bonnies are members of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) while Saint Joseph's plays in the Northeast Conference (NEC).
BY THE NUMBERS - ST. BONAVENTURE AT SAINT JOSEPH'S
- 1 - Each of the Bonnies will be looking to make history, seeking the program's first goal.
- 2 - Saturday marks the second game for the Bonnies' re-born program. St. Bonaventure previously sponsored men's lacrosse as an intercollegiate team from 1989-93.
- 4 - The number of medals St. Bonaventure head coach Randy Mearns and Saint Joseph's head coach Taylor Wray have won together at world championships with Team Canada (gold in 2014, silver in 2010 and 2018 as coaches while Wray played for the 2006 gold medalist team where Mearns was an assistant coach).
- 8 - Saint Joseph's is one of eight of the 13 teams the Bonnies will play this season that had a .500 record or better in conference play last year.
- 23 - Freshman Brett Dobson made 23 saves in last weekend's season-opener.
- 100 - Bonnies head coach Randy Mearns owns 100 career victories during his Division I coaching career.
BONNIES MAKE HISTORY WITH DEBUT OF MEN'S LACROSSE: St. Bonaventure played its first game as an NCAA Division I program when it traveled to High Point last Saturday. Head coach Randy Mearns has been fond of counting down to all of the firsts in program history - and that game took 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.
CHECK ANOTHER BOX: With last week's opener in the books, the Bonnies now begin playing their regular slate of games. The Bonnies are still seeking their first goal in program history after suffering a 13-0 setback at High Point in the program's debut. There's little shame in that result, however - not only did High Point finish last season 6-1 in the SoCon, but the Panthers knocked off No. 2 Duke, 13-9, this week in their second game.
DOBSON NAMED MAAC ROOKIE OF THE WEEK: Freshman goalkeeper Brett Dobson was impressive in the Bonnies debut game last weekend and was honored as the program's first MAAC weekly award winner on Monday. Dobson made 23 saves in the Bonnies' debut game at the Division I level Saturday at High Point. The Oshawa, Ontario native earned accolades from several corners of the lacrosse world for his multiple highlight reel saves, keeping the Bonnies close during their first contest as he finished the day with a 64 percent save percentage.
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). Further, Saturday's game will feature Canadian natives on both sidelines - Saint Joseph's head head coach Taylor Wray is a native of Edmonton, Alberta and was the defensive coordinator of the Canadian National Team Mearns led at the 2018 FIL Men's Lacrosse World Championship. Together, they earned silver medals this past summer as well as the gold back in 2014 and silver in 2010. Wray played for Mearns on the national team in 2006.
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 conference 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).
ABOUT SAINT JOSEPH'S
- The Hawks are playing their first contest of 2019 after an impressive 2018 campaign. Saint Joseph's finished last year 11-4 overall and a perfect 6-0 in NEC play before falling in overtime, 9-8, to Robert Morris in the NEC championship.
- Saint Joseph's returns four starters from last year's squad. Sophomore goalkeeper Mike Adler was an All-NEC pick last year with an 8.11 goals against average while sophomore attacker Shane Fable and sophomore midfielder Nick Vernacchio were named to the conference's NEC All-Rookie Team. Close defenseman junior Tyler Makar was named to the Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-NEC squad.
- The Hawks may not be as young as the Bonnies, but they do feature the smallest senior class among all D-I programs that did not start up within the last three years.
NEXT UP: After a week off, the Bonnies will open MAAC play with their first conference game Saturday, Feb. 23 at Manhattan.
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.