By Matt Noonan
The Wheaton College men’s lacrosse season concluded last month, but first year head coach – soon to be second-year head coach – Kyle Hart is optimistic about the program’s future.
“We have a ton of potential and we are excited about the future,” said Hart, who guided the Lyons to a 7-9 overall record, including an appearance in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament.
Under Hart, the Lyons scored some impressive wins, including a dramatic opening day victory against the University of New England. Matt Morgan deposited the go-ahead/game-winning strike with 1:29 remaining in the fourth quarter to send the Lyons past the Nor’easters, 7-6.
“The win against UNE was a good boost for our team,” said Hart. “Our goalie Ryan Clair had a fantastic game and led our defensive effort the entire way.”
In addition to their non-conference win against UNE, Wheaton also registered some impressive victories against Castleton State – this year’s North Atlantic Conference (NAC) runner-up – and UMass Dartmouth.
Against the Corsairs, the Lyons needed to overcome a one-goal deficit at the break to secure a 13-10 victory. Scott Whear and Ryan Gjerset highlighted the win, netting a hat trick, respectively.
“I think our come from behind win against UMass Dartmouth gave us confidence that we could work through adversity and overcome challenges,” said Hart.
The wins against UNE, Castleton State and UMass Dartmouth were just a few moments that stick out to Hart, but he truly believes Wheaton’s best performance came in a 10-8 win over conference foe U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
The NCAA Division III men’s lacrosse season concluded a few weeks ago, but Hart and assistant coach Kyle Hayes have already turned the page to 2017. Wheaton will return a majority of this spring’s roster, including rising sophomore Mike Doucette, who led the Blue and White at the face-off X by winning 105 of 237 face-offs.
In addition to Doucette, classmate Mike Morgan will return after leading the unit with 32 points on 23 goals and nine assists. Rising senior Will Morrison will be a player to watch as well – he finished the year second on the team in points (31) – along with classmate Devin Higgins and rising junior Victor Moitinho.
“Our goal is to first qualify for our conference tournament. If we are able to qualify for NEWMAC’s then we want to win the conference tournament and advance to the NCAA’s,” said Hart.