WILTON, Conn. – Wilton’s Peter McMahon wanted to play lacrosse at Bryant University to be part of something special.
He already has accomplished that goal and more could be on the way.
McMahon, a junior, scored 23 goals to help Bryant win its first Northeast Conference championship last weekend. The Bulldogs finished the season 14-4.
The Northeast Conference winner did not earn an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. That changes next year, however, giving McMahon one huge goal for his senior season. “We’re going to have work just as hard, if not harder,’’ he said.
McMahon has been one of the key players in helping Bryant become a Division I lacrosse power. He joined the team, coached by Wilton native Mike Pressler, in its second season as a Division I program and has been a fixture in the lineup ever since.
“Peter and I have some history; I've known him since he was a kid,’’ Pressler said. “He and the seniors signed to come play for us before it became fashionable because they wanted to build something. My loyalty to him and the seniors is second to none.”
McMahon finished the season with 23 goals and a team-high 25 assists. His 48 points were second on the team. Only Greenwich’s Colin Dunster, with 50, had more.
“He has a complete skill set,’’ Pressler said. “He’s one of the most popular players on the team, and he was voted a team captain as a junior. That just tells you how much his teammates think of him.”
McMahon scored a goal in the conference championship game, a 12-6 victory against Mount St. Mary’s. The game he remembers most from the season, however, is a 7-6 victory versus perennial power Drexel, in which the Bulldogs rallied from a 5-0 deficit. McMahon played a key part in the rally, scoring Bryant’s first goal. He also scored early in the fourth quarter to start a string of four straight Bryant goals to pull out the victory.
“That turned our season around for the better,’’ McMahon said. “We knew we had a good team coming into the season. That game told us we had something special.”
It could be even better next year if McMahon and the Bulldogs can repeat as conference champs and secure the school’s first NCAA bid.
“For Peter and the rest of next year’s senior class, that is an unbelievable carrot that’s out for them,’’ Pressler said.