PHILADELPHIA – Around Merrimack men’s lacrosse, so much of the conversation surrounds what comes next.
The Warriors will, come 2019-20, leave behind the Northeast-10 Conference and the Division 2 ranks, shifting to the Northeast Conference and Division 1. Rivals such as Adelphi, Le Moyne and Saint Anselm will be replaced by Bryant, Sacred Heart and Hobart. The players will get that much bigger, faster and stronger, while the challenges before the coaching staff become that much more complex and layered.
But for one last Sunday on Memorial Day weekend, the Warriors (17-3) didn't have to look ahead. They had a national championship game to play, their third in as many years and the program’s first at Lincoln Financial Field. There was a job to do, and that required intense focus on the here and now. Next spring will chart its course in due time.
They didn’t disappoint, either, pulling off a 16-8 win over top-seeded Limestone, which entered with a 20-0 record. For the back-to-back defending national champions, it was an emphatic end to an era. It was closed out by sophomore attackman Christian Thomas (Wrentham, Mass.) handing head coach Mike Morgan the game ball instead of rushing to celebrate.