BABSON PARK, Mass.--Following its fourth consecutive conference tournament final appearance and a seventh consecutive season with double-digit wins, the Babson College men's lacrosse team will look to contend for a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) championship in 2017.
Under the direction of eighth-year head coach Brendan Gorman, the Beavers return 20 players from a team that went 10-8 overall and 6-1 in league play last spring. The Green and White brings back five All-NEMWAC performers, which is led by the defensive trio of senior Zach Cattaruzza (Guilford, Conn.), classmate Daniel Madden (West Islip, N.Y.) and junior Jack O'Donoghue (Scituate, Mass.).
A three-time all-conference selection, Madden scooped up a career-high 37 ground balls and is one of five starters returning on defense. Cattaruzza earned his second all-league honor after finishing with career highs of 71 ground balls and 34 caused turnovers from his long-stick midfielder position, while O'Donoghue cemented himself as one of top long poles in the NEWMAC with 96 ground balls and 31 caused turnovers last spring. They are joined by junior goalkeeper Jordan Shapiro (Pleasantville, N.Y.), who has posted a 9.75 goals against average and a .480 save percentage in 32 career starts, classmate Joseph Riccardi (Ridgewood, N.J.) and sophomore Brendan Law (Simsbury, Conn.), who started 17 games as a rookie. Junior Erik Patriquin (Sherborn, Mass.) is also back after finishing with career highs of 25 ground balls and 11 caused turnovers last year as long-stick middie.
Despite the loss of two all-conference selections on offense, the Beavers return five players that produced at least 20 points last season, led by junior midfielder Axel Brown (Little Compton, R.I.), who garnered all-league first-team honors after leading the team in scoring with 33 goals and 43 points. Sophomore Niall Dillon (Duxbury, Mass.) earned NEWMAC Rookie of the Year honors after notching 25 goals last spring, while senior Matthew Logan (Downingtown, Pa.) looks to regain the form that saw him produce 34 points in 2016 after dealing with injuries for much of last year.
Senior Connor Flaherty (Honeoye Falls, N.Y.) and junior Austin Fabel (East Rockaway, N.Y.) combined for 30 goals and 22 assists last season to pace a talented group of attackmen. Sophomore Brendan Duffy (Duxbury, Mass.) recorded 17 of his 20 points over the final nine games of 2016, junior Jason Cox (Westwood, Mass.) and sophomore Samuel Mishkind (Chappaqua, N.Y.) combined for eight man-up goals, and senior Brennen Walker (Scituate, Mass.) provides depth and experience up front.
Junior Connor Maloney (Hopkinton, Mass.), who has won 51.7 percent of his face-offs in 33 career games, is joined on the face-off unit by senior Nathan Feldman (Washington, D.C.) and sophomore Brett Bottomley (Mercer Island, Wash.), who combined to scoop up 61 ground balls last season.
Along with its talented returning group, Babson has 19 first-year players that will look to make immediate contributions on the field.
"The mild winter has allowed us to get outside more and I think we are a little ahead of where we were at this point last year," said Gorman. "I'm excited about the balance we have between veteran leaders and the talent of our first-year class. I think if the young guys, and there are a lot of them that will be out on the field, can progress as we make our way through a stacked non-conference schedule, then we'll be well positioned to make a run at winning a NEWMAC title and reaching the NCAA Tournament."
The Beavers open the season on Saturday when they host Skidmore on MacDowell Field at 2 p.m.