BLTF-2016 Preseason and First Week
The snow is gone (for now) and as much as it seems like winter is here to stay, the first day of spring is this coming Saturday. NCAA lax starts on February 6! And it gets off to a great start with the inaugural Bears vs. Bears contest as the Delaware Blue Hens (Phil Pena) travel to Bucknell (Sean O’Brien and Jarret Witzal). Also, Navy (Patrick Keena, Captain) hosts Air Force. On Tuesday (2/9) we get the second Bears vs. Bears game of the year as the Blue Jays of Johns Hopkins (Sam Lynch and Hunter Sells) travel to Annapolis to play Navy (Patrick Keena, Captain). This game used to cap the regular season for both schools, but with the pressures of conference schedule now affecting Hopkins’ scheduling, it is now a quick second for Navy and first for JHU.

This year we will track 167 NCAA D-I games, including 26 Bears Vs. Bears contests.

Here are the teams and players you will be reading about:
Bucknell: Sean O’Brien, Jarret Witzal
Colgate: Robby Dunigan,
Cornell: Marshall Peters, Colton Rupp, Jack Bolen
Dartmouth: Landon McKenzie
Delaware: Phil Pena
Drexel: Hank Brown
Fairfield: Charlie Schnider
Hobart: Koko Avedisian, Riley McTague
Hopkins: Hunter Sells, Sam Lynch
Jacksonville: Zac Buller
Navy: Patrick Keena
Penn: Garrett Fellows, Peter Laco
Princeton: Mark Strabo
Vermont: Coach Ryan Curtis
Virginia: Jack Falk, Michael Rhoads, Jason Murphy

Here’s how the pre-season rankings settle out:

Recaps of games from 2/6/16:
Bucknell (Sean O’Brien, Jarrett Witzal) 13
Delaware (Phil Pena) 5

Bucknell got a measure of revenge for last season’s loss to the Blue Hens thanks to Jarrett Witzal’s dominance at the X. In his first NCAA contest, Jarrett won 15 of 21 faceoffs with three ground balls. Sean O’Brien scored his first goal of the season to chip in for the Bison. For Delaware, Phil Pena took one shot on the day.

Navy (Patrick Keena) 10
Air Force 6
Patrick is shown here in action from 2015

Navy stumbled out of the box, falling behind the Air Force early in the contest. Down 5-2 at the half, the Middies came out of the halftime break with renewed focus and rallied to get their first win of the year. Air Force scored just once in the second half while Navy put up for goals in each of the two final quarters. Patrick started off his senior season with a double hat trick—3 goals and 3 assists. He recorded 4 ground balls as well. Patrick is sporting the #40 jersey for Navy this season. Doing so is a singular, team elected honor, in memory of Brendan Looney, a Naval Academy grad and lacrosse player who was killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. Matt Morrison also had this honor in his junior year.

Jacksonville 17
Vermont (Coach Ryan Curtis) 16

The Catamounts dropped their season opener in Jacksonville in a game that featured the northernmost and southernmost teams in D-I lacrosse. Jacksonville scored 4 goals in a three-minute span of the fourth quarter to open up a lead that Vermont could not overcome.

Tuesday-February 9-Bears vs. Bears

Navy (Patrick Keena) 11
Johns Hopkins (Sam Lynch, Hunter Sells) 12

One of lacrosse’s great rivalries has survived changing conference scheduling priorities, shifting from being a standard capper to the regular season to one of the earliest contest. However, the intensity of this game has not changed. This year’s tilt will be long remembered—a double overtime thriller that saw Navy overcome three goal deficits twice to tie the game. Navy also had to overcome starting both OT periods a man down. The second penalty turned out the Mids’ undoing as Shack Stanwick got in behind the defense and put the winner home. Patrick Keena had two goals and an assist for the Mids.

D-III gets going a bit later, particularly for the colleges in New England. The Hamilton Continentals (Sellers Garrett) won’t hear their first face-off whistle for another month.

If you know of other Bears who will be playing at the D-I, D-II or D-III level this year, please don’t hesitate to send the information to me ( or Sandy.

Published in: on February 18, 2016 at 7:32 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] recent BLTFs are linked and have been posted by John Nichols […]

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