While none of the local men's lacrosse teams reached their goal of winning a national championship in 2018, the future looks bright for most programs.
Some of the biggest names in college lacrosse will be back on the field for the local programs next spring, including Loyola attackman Pat Spencer, a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award.
Here's an early look at the state's Division I men's lacrosse programs heading into 2019. (Teams listed in order of final Power Rankings.)
The Terps (14-4) entered this year's NCAA Tournament as the overall top seed. But Maryland was hampered by its lack of depth and lost in the national semifinals to former Atlantic Coast Conference rival Duke.
The biggest challenge facing head coach John Tillman is the loss of midfielder Connor Kelly to graduation. Kelly finished the season with 82 points, third-most for a single season in Terps history.
"This is the best program to be a part of, for any high school players, middle school players," Kelly said after the Terps lost to Duke. "Maryland sets the standard for what it is to play college lacrosse -- just hard-working, resilient and just so unselfish. I couldn't think of playing for any other program."
The Terps will also have some challenges defensively. They need to replace goalie Dan Morris, defensemen Bryce Young and Michael Adler and long-stick midfielder Matt Neufeldt.
Nonetheless, Logan Wisnauskas (Boys' Latin), Will Snider and Jared Bernhardt return and will help anchor a dangerous attack. Maryland also welcomes three, highly regarded recruits with attackmen Kyle Long and George Wichelns and defenseman Brett Makar. All three were named All-Americans.
The Blue Jays (12-5) will have to replace two of their top playmakers, attackman Shack Stanwick and midfielder Joel Tinney.
Stanwick (Boys' Latin) finished his career ranked fifth in school history in assists (117) and tied for seventh in points (209) across 64 games, tied for the most contests in school history by a single player. Tinney, meanwhile, wrapped up his career with 68 goals and 51 assists.
The Blue Jays, however, should be solid defensively with the all three starters back on close defense -- Patrick Foley, Owen Colwell and Jack Rapine. The trio is bolstered by the return of long-stick midfielders Robert Kuhn and Jared Reinson. Short-stick defensive midfielders Daniel Jones and Matt Hubler will also be key contributors, but head coach Dave Pietramala will have to replace goalie Brock Turnbaugh (Hereford).
The offense will be led by Kyle Marr, who led the team in goals (41) and points (58) and finished third in assists (17). Cole Williams (Loyola Blakefield) finished with 35 goals and 14 assists. His 35 goals are the most by a Blue Jay sophomore since Ryan Brown had 40 in 2014.
Johns Hopkins lost, 14-9, to Duke in the NCAA quarterfinals.
The Greyhounds (13-4) lost, 8-5, to eventual national champion Yale in the NCAA quarterfinals. Loyola will be a force again next season with the return of Spencer, who finished the season with 35 goals and 59 assists. Spencer (Boys' Latin) also became the first player in Loyola University history to earn the Lt. Col. J.I. (Jack) Turnbull Award as the nation's top attackman.
In addition to Spencer, head coach Charley Toomey will have fellow starters Kevin Lindley and Aidan Olmstead back in the lineup. The Greyhounds should boast one of the top attacks in the nation.
"I feel very good about where our program is," Toomey said.
However, Loyola will face some challenges defensively and must replace Foster Huggins, who was the Patriot League's Defensive Player of the Year.
The Midshipmen (9-5) suffered a 10-9 overtime loss to Lehigh in the semifinals of the Patriot League Tournament. The setback proved to be devastating as they were left out of the NCAA Tournament. Still, Navy put together an impressive season after opening the year with losses to Jacksonville and Maryland.
Navy loses several key players to graduation, including Joe Varello, who was named the Patriot League Faceoff Specialist of the Year in 2018.
But Navy will have some firepower back on offense. Midfielder Greyson Torain (DeMatha Catholic), a two-time first-team All-Patriot League selection, finished the season with 19 goals and 14 assists. Attackman Christian Daniel (Northern), who finished with 21 goals and 10 assists, was the team's leading scorer until he got hurt. He missed the Army game and played only extra-man situations against Syracuse.
Midfielder Ryan Wade will return for his senior year after scoring nine goals and assisting on 24 last season. Junior goalie Ryan Kern, another two-year starter, will help anchor the defense. He was named to the USILA National Team of the Week after making 18 stops during a 10-7 victory against then-No. 14 Lehigh March 24. Both Wade and Kern were All-Patriot League selections last season.
The Retrievers (5-8) had one of the nation's stingiest defenses, holding opponents to a Division I-best 7.77 goals per game. Now, UMBC needs to find a way to score. After losing seven of their opening nine games, the Retrievers rallied and put together a three-game winning streak that included an 11-7 victory against then-No. 1 Albany April 6. UMBC lost to Vermont in the regular-season finale, which cost the team a spot in the America East Tournament.
The defense will be solid again with the returns of goalie Tommy Lingner and defensemen Jason Brewster and Nick Griffin (Liberty). The offense -- hampered by season-ending injuries to starters Mitch Howell (DeMatha), Trevor Patschorke (Severna Park) and Ryan Frawley -- will look to take the next step. UMBC will count on rising senior midfielder Billy Nolan (Arundel), who led the team with 20 goals and 14 assists, and rising sophomore attackman Steven Zichelli (Severna Park), who had 17 goals and 10 assists as a freshman, to lead the way.
The Tigers (7-8) overcame some early-season struggles and advanced to the title game of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament, where they fell to the University of Massachusetts, 12-8. The setback snapped a three-game winning streak.
Towson allowed 9.6 goals per game, compared to 7.7 the previous season. Head coach Shawn Nadelen will look to round the defense back into form in 2019.
Goalie Shane Brennan will return in goal after starting 14 games as a redshirt freshman, experience that should serve him well in 2019. Starting defenseman Gray Bodden (Winter's Mill) and Chad Patterson (Westminster) also return. That unit played much better during the second half of the season and did improve its goals-allowed-per-game average each week.
The midfield will be led by rising senior Zach Goodrich, who was named the Colonial Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year. Goodrich (Kent Island) played in all 15 games and caused 19 turnovers. He was also was one of the 25 Tewaaraton Trophy Nominees, announced late in the regular season.
Mount St. Mary's
The Mountaineers (5-9) scored 10 goals or more in all but five games last season. That firepower should carry over to 2019. The attack will be led by Brenden McCarthy and Chris DiPretoro (Calverton). McCarthy had 21 goals and 32 assists for a team-leading 53 points. DiPretoro had 37 goals and eight assists.
In addition, three freshmen -- midfielder Henry Berg, defenseman Bryan McIntosh and faceoff specialist Sam Stephan -- were named to the Northeast Conference All-Rookie Team. Those three should also be major contributors next season. The Mountaineers will have to tighten a defense that allowed 12.5 goals per game.
Photo Credit: Larry French/Loyola Athletics
Issue 245: June/July 2018