Game one of the 2019 college lacrosse season will be a special one this year as Utah will open the season at home against Vermont. This will be the first game for Utah in history as a DI program and the westernmost DI game that isn’t a neutral site contest.
Utah comes into this season with a lot of hype as they become the westernmost DI program and the first FBS school to add lacrosse since Michigan in 2012, and they are the first Pac-12 school to add men’s lacrosse.’
With the newness comes question marks and youth. Utah will have both this season as they continue the process of building what many hope can turn into somewhat of a national championship contender somewhere down the line. Utah has a ton of freshman that will play a lot of minutes as well as some veteran transfers that should make big impacts in year one.
On offense redshirt junior attackman Jimmy Perkins will lead the way. Perkins played four seasons at Robert Morris, but had to sit out two seasons due to injury. Perkins was a key piece of the offense last season at Robert Morris last season as he helped lead them to their first NEC championship NCAA tournament appearance. Perkins is going to be THE GUY on offense for Utah and a name that you should expect to hear a lot in Friday’s game and throughout the season.
Junior attackman James Sexton is another guy to lookout for on the Utah offense this season. Sexton comes into Utah after two season at NJCAA powerhouse Onondaga Community College where he was a two-time All-American and won two NJCAA National Championships. With the experience and the talent of Sexton he will be a big boost for Utah this season. Utah also has a lot of freshman that could have breakout season’s this season as well.
On the defensive side of the ball Utah has two goalies that have DI experience. Senior Daniel Costa comes over from St. John’s where he started in 2017 before transferring to Utah last season while sophomore Liam Donnelly was a backup at Rutgers last season and didn’t see the field. Both should bring some knowledge and leadership into this team. On close defense Aidan Christian is the most experienced player as he played at Bellarmine for one year after spending two season’s at Onondaga Community College.
Vermont comes into game one after having their best season in program history last season. They also lost Ian MacKay who is the best player to ever play for the Catamounts. While they do have some holes to fill they return a lot of contributors from last season.
The Catamounts leadership on defense will start and end in cage this season as they return junior Nick Washuta who led the country last season in save percentage. Washuta is for sure their most impactful player back from last season as he looks to get 2019 off to a good start against Utah.
At close defense the Catamounts return a solid amount of talent from that defense that was considered one of the best in the country last season. Senior’s Warren Jeffrey and Andrew Simeon will be two guys looking to make some big impacts in game one and prove that the Catamounts defense is still as powerful as they were a season ago.
On paper it may look like Vermont’s offense will take a step back as they graduated Ian MacKay, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. While they do lose MacKay the Catamounts returns two of their top three scorers and four of their top five scorers from last season.
Some of the guys that you will see contributing for Vermont against Utah, and all season, will be senior attackman Dawes Milchling and sophomore attackman Liam Limoges. Last season they were the second and third point scorers for the Catamounts. With those two guys back, as well as others, Vermont will have a pretty good offensive core again this season. Losing MacKay is still a big hit and we will get to see that effect on Friday night.
It’s going to be a great game to kickoff the 2019 college lacrosse season as both teams have some pretty interesting questions and storylines coming into this season. Also, seeing lacrosse played in a Pac-12 football stadium will be one of the highlights of this season.
You can watch the game on the Pac-12 network live stream at 6PM ET