Greenville, S.C. – Furman men's lacrosse opens the 2019 season on Saturday, welcoming No. 2 Duke to Paladin Stadium for a 7:00 p.m. matchup.
The Paladins are coming off a disappointing 4-10 2018, that included a heartbreaking overtime loss to then-No. 9 North Carolina early in the season. Furman won four games in SoCon play, before Falling to Richmond in the semifinals of the SoCon Tournament. The Paladins did pick up their first-ever win over the Spiders, however, downing Richmond 10-9 at Furman on March 17.
The Paladins return three of the top five goal scorers from the 2018 squad, including the top two goal scorers in David Williamson (27) and William Holcomb (26). Alec Van de Bovenkamp played over 800 minutes in goal for the Paladins last season, tallying a .494 save percentage.
Furman was a preseason fifth-place pick in the conference, in voting done by the league's head coaches, while senior William Holcomb was named to the preseason All-Conference team. Seniors Parker Widhelm and Finn Barry, as well as junior Alec Van de Bovenkamp were voted as the captains of the 2019 season.
Senior Kevin Smith will wear jersey #10 this season in memory of Kip Taviano, a member of Furman's Class One who passed away before arriving on campus. Taviano's #10 is worn by one senior each season who demonstrates the hard work and character of the Paladins' fallen teammate. Senior Kyle Weatherford will be wearing jersey #59 this year in memory of Furman lacrosse student-athlete Jackson Roberts, who died in January of 2018, prior to his senior season as a student-coach.
Duke is ranking No. 2 in both the preseason Inside Lacrosse Media Poll and the USILA Coaches Poll. The Blue Devils are also the preseason favorite in the ACC for 2019 and landed four players on the preseason All-ACC squad. Brad Smith, JT Giles-Harris, and Cade Van Raaphorst were each also tabbed as preseason All-Americans.
Saturday's game will be streamed live on ESPN+, with Fabian Fuentes and Nate Warrick on the call. Fans can find video and live stat links on FurmanPaladins.com and can follow @FURMANMLAX on Twitter for periodic game updates.