NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Preseason Poll: 21-25
By Todd McElwee
The college lacrosse season is afoot, and with it comes a comprehensive new Lacrosse Report blog from PressBox.
During the ensuing weeks and months, PressBox's Lacrosse Report will be your source for everything lax. If it happens on the field, it will be written about here.
To begin, we start with season previews of the nation's top-25 Division I men's outfits.
|Loyola's Patrick Fanshaw
No. 25 Loyola
2011 Record: 8-5
Conference: Eastern Collegiate Athletic
Head Coach: Charley Toomey
Sneaking into the poll, the Greyhounds' path to the top of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) and back to the NCAA Tournament depends largely on whether anyone other than junior all-conference attackman Mike Sawyer can score. Sawyer netted 31 goals last season, nearly one-third of Loyola's total output of 110, and finished the season with a team-best 36 points.
Loyola's next two returning scorers are juniors Patrick Fanshaw and David Butts, both of whom ended the year with 15 points. Fanshaw, an attackman and Calvert Hall alumnus, registered 12 goals and 3 assists last year, while his classmate, a midfielder, had 10 goals and five assists.
The Greyhounds are a veteran bunch, benefiting from fifth-year senior Pat Byrnes on the midfield and returning starters Reid Acton and Dylan Grimm. Long-stick midfielder Josh Hawkins collected 53 ground balls, second best on the team, and returns for his junior campaign. Junior Michael Bonitatibus and sophomore Jack Runkel will man the goal.
No. 24 Colgate
2011 Record: 11-5
Conference: Patriot League
Head Coach: Mike Murphy
Newly minted head coach Mike Murphy not only shares a name with his counterpart at Penn, but also benefits from having a dynamic offensive talent at his disposal in junior middie Peter Baum. But can anyone else score for the Raiders?
Baum tallied 49 points (34 goals, 15 assists) last season. He was 21 points clear of Colgate's second leading scorer, Andrew Mould.
Aside from Baum, the Raiders don't return anyone who produced more than 15 points. Senior midfielder Jeff Ledwick was fourth on the squad with 12 goals and three assists. Jimmy Ryan, sophomore, had seven goals and four assists last year from the midfield.
Senior Jared Madison is a back for his third season as the starting goaltender.
|Ohio State's Greg Dutton, Tyler Frederick and Joe Meurer
No. 23 Ohio State
2011 Record: 8-8
Head Coach: Nick Myers
Nobody was as mercurial in 2011 as THE Ohio State University. The Buckeyes started 5-1, dropped four straight and traded wins and losses the rest of the way. Another fast start could be in play for the Buckeyes, who start with eight of their first 10 games in Columbus.
Ohio State's offense runs through junior attackman Logan Schuss, who paced the Buckeyes in goals (32) assists (20) and points (52) last year. He'll be joined up front by sophomore Tyler Frederick (18 goals, 14 assists). Frederick is a McDonogh graduate.
Dominique Alexander was the Buckeyes' biggest threat from the midfield, finishing with 16 goals and eight helpers.
Defensively, the Buckeyes are anchored by ECAC Defensive Player of the Year Matt Kawamoto and senior netminder Greg Dutton.
Ohio State will spend the most last month of the campaign on the road playing at Loyola, Hobart, Michigan and Fairfield. The Buckeyes do get Air Force at home on April 21. How they fare during their time away from Columbus will determine whether they earn a NCAA invite.
No. 22 Army
2011 Record: 9-6
Head Coach: Joe Alberici
West Point will be home to the Department of Defense this season. Battle-hardened in the backfield, Army's strength will be around its own cage.
During the past few seasons, the potent attack combo of Jeremy Boltus and Garrett Thul has defined the Black Knights. In 2011, the duo combined for 114 of Army's 241 points. Boltus is gone, taking with him his 45 assists. The question now is who will get Thul (42 goals, three assists) the ball. Candidates include St. Mary's Ryken graduate Pat Brennan, a junior midfielder, as well as senior middie Devin Lynch and senior attackman Conor Hayes.
Army could be the stingiest outfit in the Patriot League. Starting with short-stick defensive middie Matt Hurley and LSM Tim Henderson up top, the Black Knights also benefit from the return of defensemen Larry LoRusso, who started all 15 games last season, and Brendan Buckley. Zach Palmieri sat behind Patriot League netminder of the Year Tom Palesky for the past two seasons, but was solid during his six appearances in 2011.
No. 21 Fairfield
2011 Record: 8-8
Head Coach: Andy Copelan
Offensively challenged, the Stags averaged a meager eight goals per game last season, the second-worst production in the ECAC. Fairfield scored in double digits just four times.
The Stags return eight starters, none more significant than senior goaltender Charlie Cipriano. Finishing sixth among Division I goaltenders in save percentage (58.6) and 11th in goals against (7.93), Cipriano kept the Stags in games last season. Defensemen Drew Palmer, a senior, and Brendan McTague, a redshirt senior, both return to help Cipriano.
On attack, Fairfield will feature junior Sam Snow (19 goals, nine assists), senior John Snellman (21 goals, three assists) and sophomore Jordan Greenfield (16 goals, eight assists) the team's second-, third- and fourth-leading scorers, respectively, in 2011.
Posted Feb. 7, 2012