PHILADELPHIA - Bryant University men's lacrosse freshman Marc O'Rourke (Hingham, Mass.) was selected as the 2018 Northeast Conference Rookie of the Year, highlighting a group of seven Bulldogs to earn all-NEC honors for their regular-season efforts. The full all-conference teams were announced Wednesday at a reception on the Saint Joseph's University campus.
O'Rourke, the lone NEC freshman to earn first-team all-conference honors, enters the week tied for fourth nationally among first-year players with a team-high 30 goals. The Massachusetts native has added 15 assists and a team-best 45 points for a Bryant offense that has scored 15 or more goals five times this season. The 15 assists are tied for the team lead, while O'Rourke's 37 ground balls are second on the Bulldogs. O'Rourke also earned all-rookie team honors, as Bryant has placed at least one player on that list in all nine years of the conference's existence.
Three other Bryant players joined O'Rourke on the all-NEC first team, as graduate student Kenny Massa (Huntington, N.Y.), senior Tom Kennedy (Farmingdale, N.Y.) and senior Anthony Johnson (Fairfield, Conn.) helped to give Bryant four of the 13 spots on the top all-conference list.
Massa has been among the nation's best at the face-off X in his final campaign in Smithfield, ranking second in Division I in ground balls per game (11.29) and fifth in face-off percentage (.676). Massa has had the upper hand at the face-off X in 12 of 14 games in 2018 while recording a .417 (10-for-24) mark in each of the other two. It is the second-consecutive year Massa has been the NEC's first-team honoree as a face-off specialist.
Kennedy has again been a dependable workhorse in the Bryant midfield in 2018 with 20 goals, 11 assists and 26 ground balls on the year. The Long Island native scored a career-high five goals April 24 at Brown and has tallied 20 goals and 20 ground balls for the second consecutive season. Kennedy was a Tewaaraton Watch List selection in 2018 and is a Senior CLASS Award finalist. 2018 marks the second-straight first team honor for Kennedy.
Johnson has helped anchor a Bryant defense that held NEC opponents to 8.33 goals per game in 2018. The senior from Connecticut is tied for the team lead in caused turnovers (10) and ranks seventh in program history in the statistic while adding 12 ground balls this year. Bryant held five of six conference opponents to eight goals or less during the 2018 regular season. Johnson was a second-team all-conference honoree in 2016.
Three Bulldogs collected second-team all-conference nods, as graduate student Chas South (Ridgefield, Conn.) and sophomores Zach Coffey (West Newbury, Mass.) and Trevor Weingarten (Allendale, N.J.) earned honors.
South has been a vital contributor to a Bryant defense that has allowed nine goals or less in six of its last seven games entering the conference tournament. The Bulldog graduate student is tied for the team lead in caused turnovers (10) while adding 17 ground balls. South, who ranks fourth in program history in caused turnovers, was a second-team honoree in 2016.
Coffey has made an increased impact in 2018, as the 6-3 sophomore has contributed four goals, two assists, 17 ground balls and 10 caused turnovers. The Massachusetts native tallied two caused turnovers in three of his first five games of the year and added two goals to one of those performances against Bucknell in February.
Weingarten has started 13 of 14 games in the midfield for the Black and Gold, compiling 17 goals, four assists and eight ground balls. He has four multi-goal games to his name this season including each of the last two entering the conference tournament. The sophomore from New Jersey has scored a goal in each of his last 13 games – the 15th-longest streak in the nation.
Bryant returns to action Thursday at 4 p.m. when the Bulldogs face Robert Morris in the NEC Semifinals at Saint Joseph's.