LOUDONVILLE — Well, they have a schedule.
Now Siena men’s lacrosse head coach Liam Gleason is stressing to his players to maintain healthy practices off the field when it comes to the spread of coronavirus to give the Saints their best chance to actually play it.
Siena will open an eight-game Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference-only schedule at home against Canisius on Saturday, March 6.
That game will be considered an extra “preliminary” game and won’t count in the MAAC standings, but it promises to be a refreshing return to action for a team that hasn’t played since the 2020 season was canceled on March 14 due to the pandemic.
“It gives the guys hope that we’re moving in the right direction,” Gleason said on Wednesday. “Just the next two weeks, when they see some of these teams getting going, it is certainly going to motivate these guys to get going. Hey, we might not play 14 games, but right now we’re slated to play eight, and hopefully we’ll get them in.”
The Saints have been conducting a virtual preseason with whiteboard and film sessions and won’t actually practice on the field until Feb. 15. Most of the MAAC will start practice next week.
The players have also been working on passing, shooting and footwork on their own — “a lot of parts to the whole,” Gleason said — but until they get on the field, it’s difficult to know how much of their potential will be realized.
Gleason said the MAAC Tournament, scheduled to begin May 6, will be comprised of four teams, for now, but the conference will remain flexible in case teams lose games during the regular season because of COVID-19 pauses.
“Let’s see if we can make it work, and if things have to be adjusted, they’ll at least discuss it and hopefully at that time you’re not a team that’s 3-0 and wondering, ‘Am I going to get in, because we didn’t get to play those four games?'” Gleason said.
With such a short schedule, each game will have even more impact on how the 2021 season goes.
Besides Siena and Canisius, Monmouth, Quinnipiac, Detroit Mercy, Marist, Manhattan and St. Bonaventure play in the MAAC.
The Saints’ schedule calls for them to play every Saturday from March 6 to April 24, and the coaching staff is bracing for cancellations.
“Focus on the end goal. And, really, we talked about this as a staff, the goal is playing a game,” Gleason said. “Winning a MAAC championship — great. But the goal each week is to play a game, and that’s what it’s going to take.
“For us to even be eligible to win a MAAC championship, we’ve got to to play games. So what are you going to do in between to make sure you’re able to play a game and your team is able to play a game each week? There’s going to certainly have to be some sacrifices compared to years before this.”
Home games in CAPS
March 6 — CANISIUS; March 13 — MONMOUTH; March 20 — at Quinnipiac; March 27 — at Detroit Mercy; April 3 — MARIST; April 10 — CANISIUS; April 17 — at Manhattan; April 24 — at St. Bonaventure.