NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - As the New Providence Pioneers boys lacrosse team is set to take the field for the 2017 season, second-year head coach Russell Anderson is aware that this season could potentially have its first share of hurdles.

The Pioneers will be looking to replace a talented, and rather large, senior class that was led by All-Group 1 selections Garrett Pope, Johnny Shaphazian, and Quinn Killeen.

The departed seniors led the Pioneers to a 13-7 record and a spot in the Group 1 semifinals.

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Luckily for Anderson and his staff, they return a talented core of players that were key contributors on last year’s team led by junior Tyler Lawton, who made the Star-Ledger’s All-Sophomore team a season ago.

Because of the return of Lawton and several other key returnees, the consensus around the state is that the Pioneers will once again contend for a Group 1 title.

Anderson remains humble and knows his team will face some hurdles despite the returning talent. But at the same time, Anderson believes that if his team sticks to the program tradition of hard work, they’ll be just fine.

“We lost a big senior class in 2016 and we’ll be filling that void with a wave of underclassmen with excellent talent and potential,” Anderson said. “We will look to carry on the program traditions of being a very competitive and energized team and at the same time, look to compete with every opportunity that we have.”

Lawton, who has already committed to Syracuse, will once again play at Midfield and will be joined there ny fellow junior Jack Barletta and senior Ryan Pope.

Newcomers like junior Michael Garrity and sophomore Joey D’Anna will also be looked upon for contributions at Midfield.

A trio of sophomores in Tommy McGrath, Sean Sweeney, and Matt Burke will hold it down at Attack.

The Defense will be led by a pair of seniors in Mario Argenziano and Zander Marenberg. The duo will be joined on Defense by a trio of newcomers in juniors Chris Vass and Billy Vignali and sophomore Jack Gettie.

Junior Pat Trezza takes over at Goalie.

In addition to Lawton, D’Anna, McGrath, Trezza, and Gertie are all being recruited to play in college.

“With the graduation of a big senior class, we’ll look to gain experience with a young roster,” Anderson said. “I believe our team strengths are discipline and effort. No matter what our talent level has been in years past, we have always continued these two strengths.”

The Pioneers split their opening week, and their home opener is Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at Lieder Field under the lights when they host Delaware Valley.