In the last Junior College Report I talked about the NJCAA preseason Top 10, added in some thoughts I had on the many tiers of NJCAA men’s lacrosse, and we previewed a couple more programs. This week we have two final program previews, but we also have NJCAA GAMES! It’s NJCAA game time!
That’s right, the Junior College season is starting up, and we have some unreal games on tap early in the season. It’s time to start paying even more attention, folks… the season is finally here! If you need to get caught up, read about Onondaga, Howard, Harford, Monroe, Potomac State, and almost every other program in the NJCAA. Almost!
To add to the list, I’m previewing Genesee and Mercyhurst NE this week! Read on below for that. If you’re wondering why this post is now called the Junior College Report and not the JuCo Report, read on here.
2018 NJCAA Games & Picks – Week 1
If I missed any of the upcoming games, my apologies! I used the LaxPower game calendar to figure these out, and it’s usually pretty up to date, but not always.
Onondaga hosts Anne Arundel today at 4pm. If there is a livestream, you can find it HERE. I’ll take OCC by 10+, but this should be a fun game to watch! Last year Nassau played OCC to a 16-13 game early on, so maybe it will be tighter than expected.
Harford visits Potomac State on Saturday. I like what PSC is doing, but I expect a big win for the Harford Fighting Owls here.
Nassau travels to Howard on Saturday for a HUGE season opener for both teams. If you’re in the area, that is some REALLY good February lacrosse. I’d go watch it if I were you. I’ll pick Howard to win, but not by much.
Ocean County hosts Finger Lakes on Saturday as well, in what should be a statement game for both squads as they open up 2018. OC is favored, but the FLCC crew is pumped and ready to roll. I’ll stick with the favorites early and pick Ocean.
Suffolk hosts Essex on Saturday as the Long Island guys try to make a statement of their own against one of the better programs in Maryland, but I’ll go with the visitors and pick CCBC Essex to win.
Let’s see if I can go 5-0 in my game picks for Week 1. That’s always fun!
Genesee 2018 Preview
Genesee is a bit of an enigma this year, and it’s hard to tell exactly where this team is going to end up. I guess I’ve kind of felt this way about them for the last couple years, and in one of those seasons they went ahead and won a title, and last year they lost in a final four game by a single goal, so what do I know, really?
When I look at Genesee this year I see plenty of potential. I have now been conditioned to always see potential in GCC. Anytime I don’t, I look silly. They have a solid group of goalies led by Garrett Lazore, and in front of the goal they have two really solid defenders in Mat Anderson and Pat Shea. Both Shea and Anderson will serve as two of the four captains this year for GCC.
In the midfield, Pat Bilbrey was a 2nd Team Region 3 pick last year, and a couple of really good transfer picks up will add immediate depth. Evan Hollfelder and Kevin McParlene fit that mold, and they’ll be joined by another good newcomer in Sam Koczwara. Kozzy is from Perth, and played for the Wembley LC growing up. Funny enough, I also played for Wembley back in 2001 when I lived in Australia for six months. I like this kid already! He was also named as a team captain as a freshman.
Alex Mack returns to lead the attack unit after a 2017 2nd Team Region 3 campaign, and it looks like Jason Chiodo, a two-time All-American in high school, should be able to make an impact right away. Mack is a captain, and brings back 49 goals from the year before.
Genesee plays Howard, Essex, Nassau, and Onondaga, so before long we will know a lot more about the 2018 edition of this program, and where they stand. For now, they look solid, but my gut says they are looking up yet again. There is clearly work to be done with so many new faces, but if it goes well, GCC will be on the right path.
If you want to watch Genesee play, you should! They stream their games HERE.
The coaching staff is excited, and sent over this reply:
“Looks to be another great year ahead for all of the Junior College lacrosse programs. There are, of course, the usual top teams competing for a National Championship, but what makes this year more exciting is that there seems to be the potential for that list to grow by two or three teams. There are so many talented lacrosse players at this level, and I am hoping that they continue to get the exposure they deserve because our goal as Junior College coaches is to get our players to four year schools.”
Oh, and did we mention that Genesee has a new athletic facility? BECAUSE THEY DO, and it’s amazing!
Mercyhurst NE 2018 Preview
Mercyhurst NE’s program has been around for a number of years, but this is truly a new era of MNE lacrosse. In 2013, the team went 1-7, and for the next three years the team didn’t play any games. In 2017, the team came back after the 3 season hiatus, played a full schedule of 12 games, and lost all 12. Coach Eric Miccio is determined to change that, and he is working on improving the program overall, picking up numbers on the roster, and looking to remake the MNE program into a stronger candidate for success.
That started last year, but it was able to continue this fall, and that’s a great sign. Coach Miccio summed it up nicely:
“This fall was another step in a positive direction for our program. We had more guys on the roster, so we were able to practice and train differently than we were able to do last season. We had two outside competition dates this fall, where we scrimmaged Finger lakes CC, Alfred State, and Hilbert College. Our guys competed and we saw a lot of nice things out there, but we also saw where we have to improve in order to achieve our goals as a program this season.”
Having a full fall ball season is always helpful! That’s big news.
And when it comes to players who will put in the work, MNE seems to have that too. On defense, look for goalie Trenton Cameron to have a solid year. Donovan Brown and Michael Cristinzio provide the close D with good experience. Brown is one of four Captains. In the midfield, you have three more captains in Tyree Sewell, Gavin Flores, and Anthony Dellolio. Tyler Stiefel and Malik Jenkins should provide added depth and talent. On attack, Dellolio could see some time, as could Steifel, but sophomore Alex Heckler and freshman Karl Flinter should also be important cogs in the offense.
Coach Miccio had some awesome thoughts to share on 2018 and what we should expect from Mercyhurst NE:
“We are so excited to see the growth. We obviously did not get the results we wanted to last year but we did a lot of good things. We lost three one goal games to end the year and I believe it was great for our guys for two reasons – 1. It left a deep pain for our players and coaching staff, as we did not win a game. These kids have a chip on their shoulder and can’t wait to prove that last year will not be the norm. 2. We have 15 sophomores who have been in game situations and understand what we can and can not do. They will be able to right the ship and expedite the freshmen growth. That is something we just did not have last year with it being our first year.
“We will be able to push transition and run a little bit more, and we have more depth, which for obvious reasons was non-existent last season. We are extremely confident in our players. The sophomores who put their faith in us to come here with no program deserve to be sent out the right way. We believe they will be the foundation of a special program that we are building here over time.
“It’s not just going to happen for us though, looking good and feeling optimistic on paper is one thing, but when the ball rolls out anything can happen.”
Truer words have never been spoken, coach!
We wish MNE the absolute best as they build their program back to, and well beyond, the point where it last left off!