2017 Lacrosse Season Preview

Will Mandracchia returns in 2017 after leading the team in goals (28) and finishing second in points (45). (Rai Bittues '19 Photo)
Will Mandracchia returns in 2017 after leading the team in goals (28) and finishing second in points (45). (Rai Bittues '19 Photo)

The Jump Off
The 29th season of Clark University lacrosse kicks off in earnest as the Cougars host Johnson and Wales out of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) for the first time in school history. 

Early Bird Special
The meeting with the Wildcats is the earliest starting date for a Clark lacrosse game in school history and marks just the fourth time the Scarlet and White will play a game in the month of February.

Playing Around The Snowbanks
In their previous three games in the month of February, the Cougars are 3-0 and have outscored their opponents by a combined score of 55-22. 

Perfect Ten
Clark is coming off the winningest season in program history. In 2016, the Cougars set a school record for wins in a season (10) and opened the season winning their first six contests. 

Oh! So Close
Of their five losses last season, three of them came by one goal (Babson, Coast Guard, MIT) and further, two of those defeats came in overtime on back-to-back Saturdays (Coast Guard, MIT).

Poll Position
After their record setting season in 2016, Clark has been picked to finish fourth in the preseason New England Women's And Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) lacrosse poll. Defending league champion Springfield College grabbed seven of the eight first-place votes to earn the top spot. They were followed by Babson, who got the other first-place vote and then MIT. Wheaton, Coast Guard, Massachusetts Maritime and Emerson rounded out the list. 

Guess Who's Back
Clark returns eight of their top ten scorers from a season ago and all-league netminder Drew Riopelle-Tyrrell (Northville, Mich.). In addition to those returners, key defenders like Will Roberts (Paxton, Mass.), Ryan MacNeil (Weymouth, Mass.) and Pat Campbell (Duxbury, Mass.) are also back in the fold. 

Sunshine Ahead
For the first time, Clark will play three games during their Spring Break trip to Florida. The Cougars will square off with DeSales on Tuesday, March 7, Emmanuel on Thursday, March 9 and Saint John Fisher on Saturday, March 11.

Friday Night Lights
On April 14, the Scarlet and White will welcome league rival MIT to Worcester for an 8:00 p.m. Friday night faceoff. That time is believed to be the latest home faceoff in school history. The Cougars and Engineers have had some nail-biting showdowns in recent years, with MIT winning the last three matchups by a combined four goals. 

Brothers In Arms
Of the 12 newcomers to the program, two of them already had ties to Clark. Freshman Jack Mandracchia (Melrose, Mass.) has his older brother Will Mandracchia (Melrose, Mass.) on the team as does first-year Zac Wogan (Freeport, Maine), whose older brother Sam Wogan (Freeport, Maine) is a sophomore on the squad. That gives the program four sets of brothers when you include Matthew Sullivan (Brunswick, Maine) and his younger brother Tyler Sullivan (Brunswick, Maine) and assistant coach Chris Johnson and his younger brother Nick Johnson (Amherst, Mass.). 

Bass Master
Senior sniper Isaac Bass (Amherst, Mass.) had a career year in 2016 and was rewarded with second-team all-conference accolades. Bass had several huge games a season ago, including four, four-goal performances – one of which came against league rival Babson. Overall, he had at least one point in 13 of 14 games and finished the season with career-highs in goals scored (25) and points (30). 

He's The One
Now the longest tenured coach in program history, former Clark standout Jeff Cohen is also the winningest coach in program history. The two-time coach of the year honoree, Cohen enters his eighth season on the Cougar sidelines with 51 victories and has led the Scarlet and White to all four of the program's winning seasons. 

Home Sweet Home
Since the Scarlet and White began playing games on their newly-renovated synthetic surface to begin the 2015 season, they have gone an impressive 12-4 at home, including going 7-1 last year. Among those 12 victories is a 7-1 mark against non-conference foes, including four straight.