Men's Lacrosse

Notebook: No Reason Merrimack Can’t Sustain Success

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FOXBORO — So what’s next for Mike Morgan? Well, first he’ll take a deep breath. Then, recruiting starts.

The Warriors are national champions, but for them to stay on top, the work never really ends for Morgan.

Related: Click here to read all of our coverage of Merrimack at the 2018 NCAA Division II Men’s Lacrosse National Championship

Merrimack will lose some key contributing long poles and some in the midfield, but the Warriors top attacking unit of Charlie Bertrand (sophomore), Christian Thomas (freshman) and Sean Black (freshman) all return. Freshman goalie Peter Brown will also be back. Merrimack was close to a national title last year, they won it in dominating fashion this spring, and there’s no reason to believe the Warriors can’t be back in this game next Memorial Day.

“Take a deep breath for a couple weeks until recruiting starts,” Morgan said after the game. “The biggest thing we’ve always try to restock with talent and have those guys contend with each other on a daily basis in practice. I think we’ve done a good job with that with our staff.

“Next year, yeah, we lose those two guys on defense, but hopefully with the way recruiting has gone, the guys that have been sitting behind can come in and inject themselves the same way Sean, and CT, and Pete did. But, it’s nice to know you have 200 something points coming back at attack as a sophomore and two freshmen. It’s a good problem to have and we’ll piece everything around them.”

Rooting For Yale Tomorrow

Merrimack scrimmaged Yale before the season began, falling 13-8 in a contest where both teams went four quarters with their starters on the field.

On Monday, Yale will be at GIllette Stadium to face Duke for the Division I championship, and after Wesleyan won the Division III game on Sunday, there’s a possibility of a three-peat for New England schools at Gillette.

“Yeah, I was texting Andy (Shay) last night and I congratulated him,” Morgan said. “He texted back and said take care of business (today). We both kind of knew if we could find a way to win, and all of a sudden Yale finds a way to win, that’s three New England National Championships.

We talked about it in your article. We played Yale for four quarters with our starters against each other, and you lose 13-8, and this team’s maybe best team in the country in D-I, we kind of knew then we were something special. Then these guys’ work ethic went through the roof. You combine that with some good talent and good players, and we kind of are where we are today.”

Never In Doubt

The game was never in doubt, not with the way Merrimack rolled to an early lead. But for Morgan, getting back to Gillette Stadium and contending for this championship was never in doubt. He knew the Warriors would be here, and now is their time to celebrate.

“I could see it in their eyes first day of September. They were coming back here to win it,” he said. “I just felt like it’s our time. Our guys played as well as you could play, and fought as hard as you could fight. I told them in the locker room, I couldn’t imagine a group that I’d want to have a National Championship more than these guys.”

It’s All About Prep

One big advantage for the Warriors on Sunday was knowing the atmosphere. Remembering last year, Merrimack practiced with crowd noise this week and Morgan has said all year that this group, more than any group he’s ever coached, has been incredibly focused when it comes to preparation.

Yeah, it’s relentless, and it’s long practices, and it’s grinding from 6 a.m. practices, 6 a.m. lifts, two hours a day, it’s film, it’s everything like that,” said senior Hunter Schmell.

“I think we got a decent taste of it last year, but when you leave the field without a trophy and your heads are down, you just realize how much harder you have to work this year. I think, like I said, the seniors and the fifth-years took their part, and the freshmen played like seniors the entire year.”

About Mike McMahon

Mike McMahon is in his 13th year covering Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report. Mike also serves on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN

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