As it was starting to improve on its early-season woes, the Binghamton men’s lacrosse team was one of many teams at BU to see its season cut short in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
When several conferences around the country began canceling their spring seasons, the situation started to feel inevitable for the Bearcats and their sole captain, senior defender Dan Mottes.
“We were closely tracking everything, and it was happening over a one-week span,” Mottes said. “Everything was leading up to school going online, and the day before our season was canceled, the Ivy League canceled their season. Once you saw them cancel and the Patriot League cancel too, it was kind of a domino effect. When the news came about the America East (AE), we already knew it was going to happen one way or another.”
For Mottes and the rest of his class, that meant an abrupt end to their senior seasons. He had been a four-year starter for the Bearcats, playing in all 50 games since arriving in Binghamton and starting 47. He was selected to the AE All-Rookie Team as a freshman, on a team that reached the AE championship game. In his last full season as a Bearcat in 2019, he recorded a career-high 14 ground balls and caused nine turnovers.
As one of five seniors and two on the defensive side, Mottes’ experience and leadership was invaluable to the younger players.
“I think if you looked at the makeup of our team, on the offensive side there [were] a lot of young players, and with young players a lot of times you have really high potential,” Mottes said. “We definitely saw that throughout the year, and one of the things you typically see with older players is a different standard of consistency and experience they bring to the table. As an underclassman, there’s really no way you can have that experience.”
The team was not in high spirits after hearing their season was being cut short. Despite the disappointing news, the players have been using their free time to work on individual development and improve weaker aspects of their game.
As a result of the cancellations, the NCAA granted all spring student-athletes whose seasons were canceled an extra year of eligibility. Mottes, however, has decided to waive his extra year of eligibility and will graduate this May. He leaves behind a young defensive squad, helmed by a promising goalie in redshirt freshman Teddy Dolan. Dolan finished fourth in the nation among Division I players in saves per game.
“We had a really good goalie who was in his first year, and I believe he was in the top 10 for how many shots he faced,” Mottes said. “Looking also from a momentum standpoint, he had a lot of big saves and big moments, so the sky’s the limit for him.”
Despite the team’s 1-5 record, signs of progress started to show in its last few games. The Bearcats’ first win came in a triple overtime matchup against Lafayette College on Feb. 22, and they continued their solid play as they managed 10 goals in a loss to Army, a top 20-ranked team in the nation.
With a young core of players returning for Binghamton, Mottes believes the team’s future is bright.
“We were starting to lay the building blocks for success with those last few weeks before the season was canceled and when they’re back in the fall, they’ll be ready to implement the changes we’ve made in the past couple years,” Mottes said.