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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

St. Joe’s men’s lacrosse team off to a strong start

St. Joe’s next game is March 6 at Sweeney Field against Monmouth University. PHOTO: KELLY SHANNON ’24/THE HAWK

Only four games into the season, the St. Joe’s men’s lacrosse team is at an ideal spot.

With only one loss (a tight 11-12 defeat to the University of Delaware) and holding a 3-1 record, the Hawks are most proud of their two-goal win over Pennsylvania State University, 15-13, on Feb. 19. The result was in part thanks to a five-goal afternoon from junior attack Matt Bohmer. The Nittany Lions were receiving some votes in national polls, until they came to Hawk Hill. Now, it’s the Hawks who are getting votes in the latest polls.

“We were the more physical team, the more cohesive team, the older team, the more experienced team,” said Bohmer. “We had terrific play from everyone up and down the board.”

Experience matters, because a team can have all the talent in the world, but in the college game, having seasons of success under your belt goes a long way.

In his 11th season as head coach, Taylor Wray knows this firsthand. Wray has seen the impact past experience has on Bohmer’s confidence. It was evident in the game against Penn State.

“In Matt’s case, what’s helped him this year be as successful as he has is being so much more comfortable taking on contact from his defender, and managing the ball through that contact,” said Wray. “The goals he scored on Saturday, many of them were with a defender sort of draped on him and then he just was calm, cool and collected, you know, able to run through checks and handle pressure.”

As a whole, the Hawks are as deep as they have ever been. With the coronavirus canceling most of the Hawks’ 2020 season, members of that squad now have the opportunity to go to graduate school and play a fifth season. As a result, the Hawks have 19 players on the roster listed as either seniors or graduate students.

Those 19 players all remember getting blown out 19-4 by Penn State two years ago. This time around, the Hawks were ready.

“The difference is just that we’re playing a lot of the same people who played in that game two years ago,” said Wray. “We were a young team [two years ago]. I think we’ve grown tremendously over the last few seasons.”

The growth as a team since 2020 has definitely been on display. The Hawks went 9-4 in 2021 and made the Northeast Conference championship game.

At the heart of every great team is a star player. For the Hawks, that’s All-American Third Team selection and face-off specialist, senior Zach Cole.

“Cole in my opinion, is the best face-off guy in the country,” said Bohmer. “He is one of the most, if not the most important person on our team for the possessions he gives us and the leadership he brings.”

Coach Wray sees Cole as an excellent leader as well because of the way he brings along the rest of the team.

“He engages with his teammates and you know, makes sure guys are staying focused and on task,” said Wray. “When you see someone who’s as successful as he is but also as hard working, diligent as he is … others want to follow suit.”

Moving forward this season, the Hawks have some classic rivalries in City 6 matchups against the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University. However, Bohmer and the rest of the team have their eyes set on Bryant University after losing to the Bulldogs in the conference championship last May.

“Bryant is definitely the game we’re looking forward to on April 9 … So that was definitely circled on the calendar for sure,” said Bohmer.

Bohmer understands the Hawks must take everything one game at a time with the focus of playing at the highest level when it matters the most.

“Our storyline, overall, is just getting a little bit better every single week. And we’re really focusing on trying to play our best across April and May around the time of the [conference] championship,” said Bohmer.

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