VESTAL, N.Y. (WIVT/WBGH) – The Binghamton University Men’s Lacrosse team is set to begin their 2023 campaign on Saturday with a non-conference matchup.

The Bearcats fell short of reaching the America East championship game in 2022 and with many returners this season, they hope to build on their past progress.

BU went 5-9 overall but 3-3 in the America East last season before falling to UMBC in the playoffs.

Binghamton comes into the season ranked 5th in the America East preseason poll but that does not stop them from being optimistic about their chances.

While Head Coach Kevin McKeown knows that each season has its own unique team, he was pleased with the progress he’s seen from year to year.

“I really believe every team is a new team,” McKeown said. “Certainly we have a lot of guys back from that group and the hope is definetely that we can see development and improvement. And like I said, I think we saw that in the Fall just in terms of some of our maturity and how we’re able to handle different situations that come at us during different games.”

For the returners, after falling by just 1 goal in the America East semi-final last season, their motivation to get back into the postseason and make a run at the crown is high going into the year.

“The drive is huge,” Senior Midfielder Max Napoli said. “We want this year, really falling short by one goal last year motivates us every day. We got it up in the locker room, you walk out there, be the best you can every day. Really just gotta want it this year. And I think we push each other each and every day, in the weight room, on the field to get it.”

While the Bearcats do have many key players returning, there are of course some contributors from 2022 that need to be replaced, but Binghamton still feels good about the team they have assembled in 2023.

“We know, again this year, that we have the pieces,” Senior Midfielder Thomas Greenblatt said. “Everything that we lost, we feel like we can replace and hopefully even be better. Heading in that direction can only lead to good things and getting back to that postseason like you said is ultimately our number one goal and ultimately winning the America East championship.”

The chase for the championship will begin with non-conference play on Saturday against Marist.

America East play will begin for the Bearcats on March 18th when they visit conference newcomer Merrimack.