The Bellarmine Knights and the UMBC Terriers are our next two teams in our schedule preview series. The Knights finished 2016 at 6-9 with a 4-3 mark in SoCon play, as they lost to Air Force in the SoCon semifinals. The Terriers were 4-10 last season, and 1-5 in America East play in Don Zimmerman’s final season as head coach. Let’s dive into both schedules.
The Knights open up the season in Moon Township against Robert Morris on February 11. Their home opener is under the lights against Michigan on the 18th before they travel to New Haven, Connecticut to take on last year’s MAAC champion Quinnipiac on the 25th.
The Knights participate in the Midwest Classic for another season in Marquette. They’ll take on Detroit Mercy on March 3, followed by Ohio State on the 5th, before wrapping up nonconference play on the 11th at home against Mount St. Mary’s. SoCon play opens up in South Carolina against Furman on March 18, followed by VMI at home on March 25.
Things get heated up as April turns the corner, as the Knights take on last year’s top three teams from the SoCon. They first take on defending champion Air Force April 1 in Colorado Springs. The Knights fell to the Falcons in last year’s SoCon semifinals, 10-8, after losing to the Falcons, 8-7, in the regular season. Bellarmine gets to host High Point on April 8 and Richmond on April 15 for their next two games, before making the trip to Georgia to take on Mercer on the 22nd. The regular season finale is at home against Jacksonville, which could be pivotal in the race for the final spot in the SoCon Tournament.
Bellarmine has a ton of last year’s contributors on offense back in Kentucky, including leading scorers Tucker Ciessau and Jack Perkins, who are now seniors. Last year’s starting attackman Dylan Gatt is gone, but the Knights also still have Andrew Schoeneck and Brian Wall. On defense, the losses of Bobby Schmitt and Taylor Stuart will certainly hurt, but the returns of Evan P. Kalish and Kevin Fahey will help, along with defensive midfielder Ryan Coukoulis and Onondaga Community College transfer Aidan Christian. The Knights have a ton of freshmen on defense they’ll need to groom as well, as we should expect to see many plenty of them this season. Junior Chase Rose returns to net after starting 11 games last season, along with backup Max Cartor. With Connor Harryman transferring to Towson, senior Tyler Nangle is the number one FOGO option entering the season. It’ll be a tough task to get back to the SoCon Tournament with the losses the team has, but if the freshmen can perform on defense, the Knights should be back in the conference tournament.
The Terriers start off the season with a trip to Chapel Hill to take on defending National Champion North Carolina on February 4. They’ll make their annual trip to Homewood Field to take on Johns Hopkins on the 11th, followed by a intriguing matchup in Richmond against the Spiders on the 18th. UMBC’s first game at home is against Mercer on February 25.
The Terriers and Towson will face off to start the March slate of games on the 4th, before the team goes on another three-game road trip. They’ll begin in Poughkeepsie against Marist on March 11, before America East conference play opens up against Stony Brook on the 18th. The team wraps up nonconference play in Ann Arbor at the Big House against Michigan on March 25.
UMBC opens up April at home against UMass Lowell on the 1st, before the team heads to Albany to take on the Great Danes on April 8. The Great Danes have made the NCAA Tournament for the past few seasons, and will be a great test in Ryan Moran’s first year as head coach. The Terriers will host Binghamton April 15 in their only night game on their schedule. The season’s final two games of the regular season are at defending America East champion Hartford on April 22, followed by the regular season finale at home against Vermont on April 29.
The biggest loss for the Terriers is easily attackman Nate Lewnes, who led the team with 43 goals and 50 points last season. Senior attackman Max Maxwell and sophomore midfielder Jack Andrews are back, along with junior Max Haldeman. On defense, Zach Esser is a big loss, but returning is sophomore Billy O’Hara, along with defensive midfielder John Tornabene. Tomas Rodriguez, Garrett Hasken, Mason Witzer, Jason Brewster, and Cooper Cuje also return. Senior Ruston Souder returns for his final season in the cage for the Terriers after starting eight games and playing in 11 last season, while the Terriers return a bunch of their face-off men from last season, such as Brewster, Hasken, Ryan Baker, and Steven Larson.
To see every team’s schedule and which one’s we’ve highlighted, check our our master schedule list.