SOMERSET, N.J. – The Saint Joseph's men's lacrosse team has been predicted to finish fourth in the 2018 Northeast Conference regular-season standings, as voted on by the league's seven head coaches and announced on Tuesday afternoon. The Hawks finished fifth in league standings last spring.
2017 NEC Tournament champion Bryant, winner of five of the last six NEC Tournament titles, was unanimously chosen the league favorite, while Hobart and Robert Morris closed out the top three. Sacred Heart, Mount St. Mary's, and Wagner rounded out the seven-team poll.
The Hawks will kick off NEC action with a pair of road games at Hobart (Mar. 24) and Wagner (Mar. 31) before hosting Sacred Heart (Apr. 7), Bryant (Apr. 14), and Mount St. Mary's (Apr. 21) on Sweeney Field. SJU will close the regular-season at Robert Morris (Apr. 28). The 2018 NEC Championship will be held on Thursday, May 3 and Saturday, May 5 at the site of the regular-season champion. Prior to missing last season's postseason, Saint Joseph's had hosted three consecutive NEC Championship tournaments on Sweeney Field, from 2014-16.
Under the direction of seventh-year head coach and three-time NEC Coach of the Year Taylor Wray, Saint Joseph’s returns 18 letterwinners, including the 2018 Inside Lacrosse Preseason Player of the Year favorite Mike Rastivo and IL's additional Preseason All-NEC First Team picks in senior attackman Chris Blewitt and senior long stick midfielder Austin Smith.
Entering their fifth season in the Northeast Conference this spring, the Hawks own a 19-5 regular-season conference record along with three consecutive postseason tournament appearances (2014-16), including back-to-back NEC title games (2015-16).
2018 NORTHEAST CONFERENCE PRESEASON POLL
1. Bryant (6 first-place votes)
3. Robert Morris
4. Saint Joseph's
5. Sacred Heart
6. Mount St. Mary’s