After winning the Patriot League in 2022, the Boston University men’s lacrosse team looks to repeat this season. The Terriers open the 2023 season on Feb. 11 on the road against the University of Vermont. Here are some major storylines heading into the new season.
Terriers with a target on their back
After last year’s appearance in the NCAA tournament, BU has picked up some preseason accolades.
On a team level, the Terriers were selected as the favorite to win the Patriot League in a poll of the conference’s head coaches and sports information directors.
At the national level, Inside Lacrosse ranked BU as the 14th best team in the nation.
“This is the first time in my tenure we’ve been preseason favorites,” head coach Ryan Polley said. “It’s exciting to know that your colleagues and people around the league that know the sport and know the players pick your team to be the best.”
On an individual level, senior attacker Vince D’Alto, graduate student goalkeeper Matt Garber and senior long-stick midfielder Roy Meyer each earned major Patriot League preseason awards at their respective positions.
Challenging non-conference schedule
The Terriers will play the University of Vermont, Bryant University, the University of Massachusetts, Harvard University and Yale University in the non-conference portion of their schedule.
Polley called it a “nice mix” of local and national competition in addition to Patriot League play.
Polley believes this schedule could secure the Terriers an NCAA tournament bid regardless of if they fail to secure the Patriot League title.
“It’s a great non-conference schedule,” Polley said. “[I’m] hoping to have us prepared for the Patriot League schedule and then we can be successful, give us a shot in that at-large bid if we’re unable to secure the tournament championship.”
Emerging rivalry with Army
With two thrilling games against the United States Military Academy last season, including the Patriot League championship game, the Terriers and Black Knights will continue their budding rivalry on April 28 at West Point.
“I fully expect this year’s game to be a highly competitive one,” Polley said. “[I] wouldn’t be surprised if we matched up with them in the playoffs at some point.”
Army junior midfielder Jacob Morin and sophomore defender AJ Pilate were named to the All-Patriot League second team last season.
Hilburn, Ley, Gallop, Niedringhaus and Perfetto named captains
Graduate student attackers Matt Hilburn and Timmy Ley, senior attackers Thomas Niedringhaus and Louis Perfetto and senior midfielder Robert Gallop were all named captains by their teammates ahead of the new campaign.
“Those five guys were selected by their peers and I couldn’t agree more with their selection,” Polley said. “All five of those guys did a tremendous job this fall.”
Kohr, Johnson and Kehm: Three freshmen to watch
With so much talent returning to the roster, few underclassmen will get significant playing time this season.
“We returned so much on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, the faceoff unit, in the goal, there just isn’t a lot of playing time,” Polley said. “The guys are doing a great job. We’re developing them and the future is bright.”
But three freshmen on the roster could be key pieces for the Terriers in the new season.
“Aden Johnson is probably going to be our second or third pole, and I would assume that he’s going to get some minutes,” Polley said. “Jimmy Kohr is a really talented freshman who I think will crack the lineup at some point this season.”
“And then kind of [the] same thing with Connor Kehm. Other than that, we’re just a little too deep right now,” Polley said.
The national spotlight
BU will play on national television three times this season. The home game against Lehigh University and the road games against Army and the United States Naval Academy will all be televised on CBS Sports Network.
“It is a statement that our program has arrived and that the league and CBS Sports want to make sure that America [gets] to see us, and we play an exciting brand of lacrosse,” Polley said. “It’s a great fit and we’re certainly thankful that we were selected.”