The St. Thomas Aquinas men's lacrosse team is scheduled to open their season on Sunday at home against American International College. The Spartans were tabbed 6th in the ECC Coaches Preseason Poll announced on January 23rd. Briele Caples was named the East Coast Conference Preseason Co-Offensive Player of the Year.
The senior attack from Rochester, NY tallied 44 goals and 68 points for the Spartans in 2017. His assist total of 24 was among the conference leaders as well, coming in a tie for fourth. In addition, the Second Team All-Conference pick also finished in the top-10 in Division II with 4.53 points per game (7th) and 2.93 goals per game (10th).
STAC went 5-10 last season, but the team's preparation and hard work since their inaugural season of 2 years ago, have been key factors in the program's quick development under Head Coach John Carrozza.
The Spartans squad consists of three seniors and eleven juniors giving them a core group of experienced players for the first time in the porgrams history. The Spartans welcome six freshmen along with their six returning sophomores to round of the roster. Sophomore Tyler Senatore was the Spartans second leader in points having scored 30 goals and adding 2 assists in his rookie campaing. Goal keeper Ryan Mello earned 3 of the Spartans wins last season while Ryan Guild and Donovan Ryan each picked up one win.
Sunday's home opener is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. The Spartans will take the road for two games in early March, one at St. Rose (March 2nd) and one at Adelphi (March 8th). Conference play begins on March 27th when the Spartans travel to Mercy 2nd in the ECC Poll. STAC host top ranked NYIT on April 4th at 4:00 p.m. NYIT was the prohibitive favorite in the poll, securing five of seven first place votes to finish with 46 points. The Bears, who also start at No. 8 in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Division II poll, finished the 2017 season with a 14-3 record and their first ECC Championship since 2008. NYIT has reason for optimism with six All-Conference honorees and two All-Americans in Prate and Matthew Chanenchuk back in the fold.