The chatter around the Brown men's lacrosse team in anticipation of this season goes far beyond College Hill. ESPN recently said that Brown is "one of the most overlooked teams." Bruno is ranked 15th in the Nike/Inside Media poll. But Head Coach Lars Tiffany '90 isn't letting the nationwide hype get to his team.
"I hate the word expectations. We will not be expectant. We will work for anything we achieve. Our motto: expect nothing, earn everything," Tiffany said.
The man at the helm of the Bears has coached his alma mater for four years now. In 2008, Tiffany led his squad to an Ivy Championship, and in 2009, Brown made a run in the NCAA Playoffs.
But the road back to the NCAAs won't be smoothly paved for the Bears. They'll have to battle with No. 9 Duke, No. 10 Hofstra and three Ivy foes ranked in the top 20. The first stop on the trip back to the playoffs will be this Saturday at Hofstra.
"We are the last team in Division I to play a game so we are really fired up to travel to Long Island this weekend to play against a team who has become one of our rivals," quad-captain Reade Seligmann '10 wrote in an e-mail to The Herald.
Along the way, the Bears will have to take on No. 6 Princeton, No. 8 Cornell and No. 11 Harvard. The last stop of the season before the NCAAs will be the Ivy League Playoffs — a new postseason tournament which will pit four national powerhouses against each other.
"That gives us a chance to get some more top-20 games," said attacker Rob Schlesinger '12. "We're all real excited to have a tough schedule this year."
With the loss of two-time All-American and two-time Ivy League player of the year Jordan Burke '09, the Bears will turn to a largely untested goalie, Matt Chriss '11.
"We couldn't be more confident in our goalie," defenseman Peter Fallon '11 wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. "He has had the opportunity to learn the system and gain some confidence for the past two years, so we are excited to have him get the chance to prove himself."
The Bears are hoping not only to take the Ivy League Championship but also to win a National Championship for the first time in the program's 84-year history. Behind the strong leadership of captains Seligmann, Charlie Kenney '10, Thomas Muldoon '10 and Jake Westerman '10, Brown may make a deep run into the playoffs.
"I think it's pretty realistic," Schlesinger said about the chance of a National Championship. "You look at a team like Cornell last year — who we beat — and they made it to the National Championship, so I definitely think it's a realistic goal."
The Bears will have a chance to play in a high-profile game against Princeton on April 3.
Bruno will play the Tigers at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., for the New England Lacrosse Classic. The series will also feature a matchup between fellow Ivy Leaguers Cornell and Dartmouth.
"Gillette Stadium provides our program the opportunity to play in a championship venue, in front of the New England lacrosse community against one of our biggest rivals," Tiffany said in an interview with the New England Lacrosse Classic directors.
But before they take the big stage, Brown plays its home opener on March 10 against Hartford at 3 p.m.