2025 Preseason Top 20 Lookahead | Syracusefan.com

2025 Preseason Top 20 Lookahead

Powellfan

Renowned lacrosse analyst
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
6,083
Like
9,938
Now that the 2024 season has wrapped, I thought it would be fun to lookahead to next year. With so many top players moving on, next year should really be incredibly wide open. Seriously, teams like Duke, UVA, Notre Dame and a few others are saying goodbye to some of the best players in their team's history. I think if you asked 10 lacrosse fans who their top 10 would be next year, you might get 10 different teams for each. The end of the fifth year COVID year brings things back to an even plane, for the most part. Anyways, hopefully this sparks discussion, I am sure there is plenty to disagree with. I found this exercise a lot easier last year with a clearly defined top three, and a next class of six or seven teams that were closely grouped. Now it really feels like a crap shoot.

1. Cornell - The Bid Red welcome back perhaps the best attack in the country, including the frontrunner for the Tewaarton in CJ Kirst and the criminally underrated Michael Long, along with a ton of other good players. Their FOGO situation should receive a boost with the return of Jack Cascaden. Their defense does have issues, but Wyatt Knust is capable of big games, and they get a lot of their defensive players back for another year. Of course they missed the tournament this year, but Notre Dame missed it two years ago and wound up winning the title the next year.

2. Syracuse - perhaps I am a homer, but the Orange bring back an explosive offense (six 20 goal scorers), a good fogo and some very good long sticks. Obviously they have a question in goal, but a lot of the other teams around them do as well. The other big question, which I am sure people are tired of me talking about is the SSDM depth. Spallina and Hiltz (assuming he comes back) will have to be more consistent in big games, but the vaunted sophomore class will be upperclassmen, and up to five of them should be preseason All Americans (Spallina, Leo, Thomson, Figuerias, Dwan).

3. Princeton - there are a lot of similarities between the Tigers and the Orange (explosive offenses, both need to replace their goalies, SSDM depth), but I give the edge to the Orange since their "core" is a year older, and they went one round further in the tournament. If Cornell doesn't have the best attack next year, I give it to the Tigers. They welcome the number four recruiting class to campus next year as well.

4. Notre Dame - The Irish lose a ton of really good players (Pat Kavanagh, Liam Entemann, two starting midfielders, two starting defenseman, a number of reserve midfielders). But the Irish bring back some other excellent players dotted all over the field - Chris Kavanagh, Jake Taylor at attack, Jordan Faison at midfield, Will Lynch at FOGO, and Shawn Lyght at defense. Filling in around those players should be interesting, The Irish welcome the number three ranked recruiting class which includes the number one player Matt Jeffery at midfield. Who fills in for Pat Kav on attack should be interesting (they have number 8 ranked Brady Porknoy incoming, and former top recruits Brock Bernham and Jeffrey Riccherdelli). Given all their losses, I think you could make the argument they desreve to be lower, but the culture ND has built is pretty remarkable. Hard not to see them continue their success going forward.

5. Maryland - I have a hard time with the Terps. Are they the team that was a mess for a stretch last year, or the one that went berserk mode in the tournament and made the title game? The Terps bring back some good players, Eric Spanos, Eric Malever and Braden Erksa on offense, Colin Burlace, George Stamos and Owen McAnany at defense. But man, they lose their best defender in Ajax Zapatello (and the host of UVM transfers), and their war horse of a FOGO in Luke Wireman. Also McAnaney wasn't his usual self last year. This has more to do with John Tillman and the culture he's built up (much like Notre Dame) than anything. Terps have the number five recruiting class and could fill some immediate needs with the likes of Spencer Ford and Johhny Gardner on offense, and Peter Laake on defense. Wiereman has been so instrumental to the Terps success, his replacement will have big shoes to fill.

6. Hopkins - The Jays lose their best two offensive players (Angelus and Degnon) and their goalie, who was huge for them. That said, their defense should be really good with Kilrain, Smith and Brown all returning (plus the Yale short sticks). You would think that Jimmy Ayers and Hunter Chauvette fill in at attack, but they will have big shoes to fill. Their face-off situation was not great last year, and they lose half of their duo. Also what version of Russell Melendez do they have - last year's wasn't very good but if they get the version of the year before, they could be scary. Matt Collison returns to man the midfield.

7. Virginia - I've written a little on the Cavs already, so I'll try and keep this brief. Virginia was a very thin team last year, and they say goodbye to two of their all-time best players in Shellenberger and Cormier. They bring back two very good offensive pieces in Griffin Schutz and McCabe Millon, but it seems they will rely a ton on their number one recruiting class, or some highly ranked vets who haven't quite lived up to their billing quite yet. Defense returns two poles, but loses Cole Kasnter and their starting goalie was benched in the semi-finals. They should be solid at the face-off dot, but they also their best SSDM in Chase Yager. I feel like a lot of this ranking is based on UVA's reputation.

8. Army - it feels like the Black Knights time to shine was this year, but they didn't even make the NCAAs. But they return some very good players in Jackson Eicher, Will Colletti, AJ Pillate, and Evan Plunkett. Those last three names could be the best at their position in the country. They need to figure out their goalie situation though. It also seems like other Patriot League teams like Army and Loyola lose a ton.

9. Yale - The Bulldogs get back Leo Johnson and Chris Lyons who should offset the loss of all timer Matt Brandau. They had a ton of injury issues last year which kept them from the playoffs last year, mainly Machado Rodriguez, who is due back at the face-off dot. But the defense, for the third year in a row just has not been good.

10. Georgetown This feels like a default placement for the Hoyas. They lose three of their top four scorers, top SSDM in Dylan Hess, and their top fogo. But they return their top scorer in Aidan Carrol, their very good goalie in Anderson Moore and very good defender in Ty Banks. They had some good performances in the tourney by freshmen. They should be the toast of the Big East seeing that Denver lost so much.

11. Penn State - The Nittany Lions return a great goalie in Jack Fracyon, but they'll have to rebuild their offense around Matt Traynor after losing TJ Malone, Mac Costin and Jake Morin.

12. Harvard - The Crimson have been all over the map since Gerry Byrne has taken over - but they still have Sam King, one of the better attackmen in the country. They return seven of their top eight leading scorers. But they got sub-par face-off play last year, and just average goalie play.

13. UNC - This feels high for the Tar Heels, but on paper they have some very good players coming back, Owen Duffy (health is question), Dom Petro, Brady Wambach, Peter Thomann. And they bring in Michael Gianforacaro in goal and Spencer Wirtham to help the midfield. But like Notre Dame and Maryland getting the benefit of the doubt, it feels like UNC deserves the opposite of that based on the results on the field.

14. Penn - The Quakers probably have the best goalie in the country coming back in Emmet Carrol. They return three of their four top leading scorers and top defenseman in Brandon Levelle.

15. Duke - Feels weird having the Blue Devils this far down, but they lose their entire attack, their best defender, their top FOGO. They have some good players coming back, including their goalie and a young stable of middies. But it feels hard to imagine a team that couldn't make the final four with Brennan O'Neil, etc, making it without him. I am guessing Andrew McAdory moves to attack, but questions about who joins him remain. Does Graham Blake replace someone like Dyson Williams? That seems like quite the step backwards (no offense).

16. Towson - The Tigers showed a lot last year and return a ton of really good pieces, including Mikey Weihsser and four other top six scorers. They need to replace their top cover defenseman, but get their goalie and FOGO back who had very good stats.

17. Colgate - The Red Raiders had quite the season last year, knocking off Penn State early in the year. Their unique full field press gave teams fits all year. It was a real surprise from a team and a coach who looked to be sliding into obscurity. They returns their three leading scorers and four others who scored in double digits. They get their goalie back, but need to be better on face-offs (41%).

18. Albany - Obviously Piseno is a huge loss, but of the 11 Great Danes who scored double digit points, they return nine, including Silas Richmond who had 73. Goaltending was not great last year and I beleive they lose their fogo, but offense should be explosive.

19. Denver - Hard to drop a final four team this low, but the Pios were built for this year. Cody Malawski, Noah Manning and Mic Kelly return to lead the offense, but Alec Stathkis took almost all the face-offs, they lose three long poles, their top two leading scorers and their goalie. The Big East looks pretty weak which might give them an avenue to the tournament, if they can get by the Hoyas.

20. Lehigh - The Mountain Hawks get the benefit of the doubt, after making a surprising run to the NCAAs. They need to replace some good offensive players including top scorer Scott Cole, and their goalie. But they return six of their top eight scorers, and the ridiculous Richard Checo who is a human caused turnover machine.
 
Last edited:
Not sure how to feel about Cornell. That defense is still going to be a massive problem for them. With us I think you can say we at least have some quality pieces at close D and one quality starting ssdm. Cannot say the same for Cornell. They have needs everywhere, from goalie to rope unit. On top of that they seemed to struggle off ball. As we saw this past season, if the offense comes up short they are looking at a near guaranteed loss. Think they would need to find a way to be one of the top offenses of all time to be a championship team next season, barring a total turnaround at defense. Getting defensive players back is not necessarily a good thing if those guys had a terrible season last year. You need new blood.

It is boring, but ND is probably still my number one team next season. Chris Kav has shown he can be that quality initiator as well as an off ball wizard. Will Lynch is a major problem and now some of his top competition has graduated. Feel confident they will replace the reserve middies without much issue. They have a lot of high rated guys waiting in the wings. Biggest question mark is replacing Entenmann. If Faison decides to focus on football that could change things too, since they lose a lot of their other middie dodgers. Other #1 contenders are either also losing a lot or did not accomplish all that much last season.
 
Now that the 2024 season has wrapped, I thought it would be fun to lookahead to next year. With so many top players moving on, next year should really be incredibly wide open. Seriously, teams like Duke, UVA, Notre Dame and a few others are saying goodbye to some of the best players in their team's history. I think if you asked 10 lacrosse fans who their top 10 would be next year, you might get 10 different teams for each. The end of the fifth year COVID year brings things back to an even plane, for the most part. Anyways, hopefully this sparks discussion, I am sure there is plenty to disagree with. I found this exercise a lot easier last year with a clearly defined top three, and a next class of six or seven teams that were closely grouped. Now it really feels like a crap shoot.

1. Cornell - The Bid Red welcome back perhaps the best attack in the country, including the frontrunner for the Tewaarton in CJ Kirst and the criminally underrated Michael Long, along with a ton of other good players. Their FOGO situation should receive a boost with the return of Jack Cascaden. Their defense does have issues, but Wyatt Knust is capable of big games, and they get a lot of their defensive players back for another year. Of course they missed the tournament this year, but Notre Dame missed it two years ago and wound up winning the title the next year.

2. Syracuse - perhaps I am a homer, but the Orange bring back an explosive offense (six 20 goal scorers), a good fogo and some very good long sticks. Obviously they have a question in goal, but a lot of the other teams around them do as well. The other big question, which I am sure people are tired of me talking about is the SSDM depth. Spallina and Hiltz (assuming he comes back) will have to be more consistent in big games, but the vaunted sophomore class will be upperclassmen, and up to five of them should be preseason All Americans (Spallina, Leo, Thomson, Figuerias, Dwan).

3. Princeton - there are a lot of similarities between the Tigers and the Orange (explosive offenses, both need to replace their goalies, SSDM depth), but I give the edge to the Orange since their "core" is a year older, and they went one round further in the tournament. If Cornell doesn't have the best attack next year, I give it to the Tigers. They welcome the number four recruiting class to campus next year as well.

4. Notre Dame - The Irish lose a ton of really good players (Pat Kavanagh, Liam Entemann, two starting midfielders, two starting defenseman, a number of reserve midfielders). But the Irish bring back some other excellent players dotted all over the field - Chris Kavanagh, Jake Taylor at attack, Jordan Faison at midfield, Will Lynch at FOGO, and Shawn Lyght at defense. Filling in around those players should be interesting, The Irish welcome the number three ranked recruiting class which includes the number one player Matt Jeffery at midfield. Who fills in for Pat Kav on attack should be interesting (they have number 8 ranked Brady Porknoy incoming, and former top recruits Brock Bernham and Jeffrey Riccherdelli). Given all their losses, I think you could make the argument they desreve to be lower, but the culture ND has built is pretty remarkable. Hard not to see them continue their success going forward.

5. Maryland - I have a hard time with the Terps. Are they the team that was a mess for a stretch last year, or the one that went berserk mode in the tournament and made the title game? The Terps bring back some good players, Eric Spanos, Eric Malever and Braden Erksa on offense, Colin Burlace, George Stamos and Owen McAnany at defense. But man, they lose their best defender in Ajax Zapatello (and the host of UVM transfers), and their war horse of a FOGO in Luke Wireman. Also McAnaney wasn't his usual self last year. This has more to do with John Tillman and the culture he's built up (much like Notre Dame) than anything. Terps have the number five recruiting class and could fill some immediate needs with the likes of Spencer Ford and Johhny Gardner on offense, and Peter Laake on defense. Wiereman has been so instrumental to the Terps success, his replacement will have big shoes to fill.

6. Hopkins - The Jays lose their best two offensive players (Angelus and Degnon) and their goalie, who was huge for them. That said, their defense should be really good with Kilrain, Smith and Brown all returning (plus the Yale short sticks). You would think that Jimmy Ayers and Hunter Chauvette fill in at attack, but they will have big shoes to fill. Their face-off situation was not great last year, and they lose half of their duo. Also what version of Russell Melendez do they have - last year's wasn't very good but if they get the version of the year before, they could be scary. Matt Collison returns to man the midfield.

7. Virginia - I've written a little on the Cavs already, so I'll try and keep this brief. Virginia was a very thin team last year, and they say goodbye to two of their all-time best players in Shellenberger and Cormier. They bring back two very good offensive pieces in Griffin Schutz and McCabe Millon, but it seems they will rely a ton on their number one recruiting class, or some highly ranked vets who haven't quite lived up to their billing quite yet. Defense returns two poles, but loses Cole Kasnter and their starting goalie was benched in the semi-finals. They should be solid at the face-off dot, but they also their best SSDM in Chase Yager. I feel like a lot of this ranking is based on UVA's reputation.

8. Army - it feels like the Black Knights time to shine was this year, but they didn't even make the NCAAs. But they return some very good players in Jackson Eicher, Will Colletti, AJ Pillate, and Evan Plunkett. Those last three names could be the best at their position in the country. They need to figure out their goalie situation though. It also seems like other Patriot League teams like Army and Loyola lose a ton.

9. Yale - The Bulldogs get back Leo Johnson and Chris Lyons who should offset the loss of all timer Matt Brandau. They had a ton of injury issues last year which kept them from the playoffs last year, mainly Machado Rodriguez, who is due back at the face-off dot. But the defense, for the third year in a row just has not been good.

10. Georgetown This feels like a default placement for the Hoyas. They lose three of their top four scorers, top SSDM in Dylan Hess, and their top fogo. But they return their top scorer in Aidan Carrol, their very good goalie in Anderson Moore and very good defender in Ty Banks. They had some good performances in the tourney by freshmen. They should be the toast of the Big East seeing that Denver lost so much.

11. Penn State - The Nittany Lions return a great goalie in Jack Fracyon, but they'll have to rebuild their offense around Matt Traynor after losing TJ Malone, Mac Costin and Jake Morin.

12. Harvard - The Crimson have been all over the map since Gerry Byrne has taken over - but they still have Sam King, one of the better attackmen in the country. They return seven of their top eight leading scorers. But they got sub-par face-off play last year, and just average goalie play.

13. UNC - This feels high for the Tar Heels, but on paper they have some very good players coming back, Owen Duffy (health is question), Dom Petro, Brady Wambach, Peter Thomann. And they bring in Michael Gianforacaro in goal and Spencer Wirtham to help the midfield. But like Notre Dame and Maryland getting the benefit of the doubt, it feels like UNC deserves the opposite of that based on the results on the field.

14. Penn - The Quakers probably have the best goalie in the country coming back in Emmet Carrol. They return three of their four top leading scorers and top defenseman in Brandon Levelle.

15. Duke - Feels weird having the Blue Devils this far down, but they lose their entire attack, their best defender, their top FOGO. They have some good players coming back, including their goalie and a young stable of middies. But it feels hard to imagine a team that couldn't make the final four with Brennan O'Neil, etc, making it without him. I am guessing Andrew McAdory moves to attack, but questions about who joins him remain. Does Graham Blake replace someone like Dyson Williams? That seems like quite the step backwards (no offense).

16. Towson - The Tigers showed a lot last year and return a ton of really good pieces, including Mikey Weihsser and four other top six scorers. They need to replace their top cover defenseman, but get their goalie and FOGO back who had very good stats.

17. Colgate - The Red Raiders had quite the season last year, knocking off Penn State early in the year. Their unique full field press gave teams fits all year. It was a real surprise from a team and a coach who looked to be sliding into obscurity. They returns their three leading scorers and four others who scored in double digits. They get their goalie back, but need to be better on face-offs (41%).

18. Albany - Obviously Piseno is a huge loss, but of the 11 Great Danes who scored double digit points, they return nine, including Silas Richmond who had 73. Goaltending was not great last year and I beleive they lose their fogo, but offense should be explosive.

19. Denver - Hard to drop a final four team this low, but the Pios were built for this year. Cody Malawski, Noah Manning and Mic Kelly return to lead the offense, but Alec Stathkis took almost all the face-offs, they lose three long poles, their top two leading scorers and their goalie. The Big East looks pretty weak which might give them an avenue to the tournament, if they can get by the Hoyas.

20. Lehigh - The Mountain Hawks get the benefit of the doubt, after making a surprising run to the NCAAs. They need to replace some good offensive players including top scorer Scott Cole, and their goalie. But they return six of their top eight scorers, and the ridiculous Richard Checo who is a human caused turnover machine.

Certainly seems reasonable to me.

In look at some likely future opponents for next year, Cornell already seems like it will be a massive handful and if SU plays Gate again expect another war.

Army is interesting. They bring back Colleti, Pilate and Eicher as you noted but lose Burek and Morin and O'connor three of their top six scorers. They also lose a starting close defender, at least one SSDM and I think their starting LSM. Goalie play was uneven for them so that will have to be addressed as well. As you noted I think their best shot was this past year but Colletti and Plunkett are two guys who can take over games.

Colgate appears to bring back a ton though they do lose Minicus and a couple of middies. Defensively it looks like they bring most people back save for a few ancillary pieces. Faceoffs as you noted weren't good, they will need to address that. Gate could be a major problem next year for a lot of teams though they do rely a lot on that 10 man.

I suspect Albany will be back on the schedule next year as well. They bring back a lot but do lose some key pieces. Piseno is irreplaceable and along with him they also lose Sam Stratton another starting D player and their top back up in Pepe and also Blake Runkle though I think he was hurt most of the year. The biggest loss along with Piseno is probably Endres their starting FOGO. I believe they also lose at least possibly two of their SSDM's including at least one starter. They do bring back Silas and Palumb and have a nice attack group though I think Hogg will be a bigger loss then people think.
 
I'll go with
1) Notre Dame - they lose quite a bit, but start from a higher point.
2) Syracuse - don't lose too much and have the great sophomore class that will now be juniors.
3) Cornell - seemed a little vulnerable this year, but with Kirst and Long back should be among the best
4) Princeton - A really good group of young players
5) Virginia - Lose 3 big players in Shellenberger, Cormier and Kastner. I think they gain a lot from having the majority of the defense back, and will be more experienced in the middle of the field. Millon and Schutz look ready to step into Shellenberger's and Cormier's roles. Schroter looks ready to replance Kastner.
6) Maryland - As a Maryland fan you have some hoping to do. First off, hoping that one or more of the young face-off man can step in somewhat for Wierman. The Terps return their top 3 scorers: Erksa, Spanos, and Malever but not much else. Ford looks ready to step into Maltz's role. Terps have lots of young talent like sophomores Gravino and Stobaugh, and freshmen Johnny Gardiner and Draley to fill out the offense.
7) Hopkins - Somewhat like Maryland, lose a lot off the offense and have to hope young guys can step up.
8) Penn State - Lose their big scorer TJ Malone but have Matt Traynor and Kyle Lehman return, along with 3 other scorers over 20 points. Fracyon returns in goals. Chase Mullins actually got to a .520 FO pct this past season.

That is about as far as I go. Although, I would guess that Michigan and Ohio State will be top 20 next year.
 
How is Taylor still at zND been there like half a decade it seems …
 
Med redshirt year. 2020 Covid, 2021 hurt, 2022, 2023, 24 and 25.

Didn't he play at Denver for a season and got injured before transferring to ND? I thought that was the case although his bio on the Irish site does not mention that, just says he has been there since 2020.
 
Didn't he play at Denver for a season and got injured before transferring to ND? I thought that was the case although his bio on the Irish site does not mention that, just says he has been there since 2020.

I am not aware of him ever playing for Denver.
 
How does he get 2 medical redshirts?

He only got one but technically a player can petition for as many as they want if they qualify and the ncaa usually approves if they meet the requirements. There have been players who have been granted a 6th, 7th, and even 8th year of eligibility l.
 
charambedies or whatever spell his name the dude from rutgers few years ago pretty sure he was at retirement age when he finally left college
 
I guess since my ranking above the Terps have lost Malever and added Bryce Ford, a 5th year lefty attackman from Fairfield, who scored 52 points last year. While there is an advantage to having a player who knows the team's offense like Malever, overall this perhaps balances out.

There are rumors that Daniel Kelly is returning. Kelly played 4 games in 2021 (2/20, 3/13, 4/3, 4/18). This doesn't really look eligible for an injury red-shirt, so we'll have to wait and see. (One also wonders about the addition of B.Ford, if Kelly is returning.)

The Terps in the past have always liked speed at the X on attack, so I really look for Braden Erksa to return to that role next year for the Terps. With Spanos and Spencer Ford fighting it out for the right-hand attack spot, and the loser playing midfield.
 
wgdsr on fanlax
maltz's iq was one of the 1st things to have to gameplan for. for a good while. without tempering expectations, making up for him will be...interesting.
Watch yourself.
You know, Boys' Latin had games on youtube probably over 10 times, and I watched quite a few of those games. Spencer Ford is really good off-ball and is credited with an outstanding lax iq also.

Ford's 3 goals in the MIAA final against McDonogh:
 
wgdsr on fanlax

Watch yourself.
You know, Boys' Latin had games on youtube probably over 10 times, and I watched quite a few of those games. Spencer Ford is really good off-ball and is credited with an outstanding lax iq also.

Ford's 3 goals in the MIAA final against McDonogh:
watch myself what? maltz gave you a number of good years. your quote doesn't include what it was in response to. everybody's allowed to have expectations, so have at it. we'll see how it goes and whether his replacement, whoever it is, is better.
more high school highlight vids, pls!!!
 
watch myself what? maltz gave you a number of good years. your quote doesn't include what it was in response to. everybody's allowed to have expectations, so have at it. we'll see how it goes and whether his replacement, whoever it is, is better.
more high school highlight vids, pls!!!
Virginia probably is going to be dependent on some of its highly touted freshmen on offense also, and they are replacing some really top offensive players.

I like Danny Maltz. He made some nice contributions to the Terps over his 5 years. I'll miss seeing him out there. In the end though, the Terps are replacing a player who had 34 pts - 30 goals and 4 assists.

schadenfreude, eh?
 
Virginia probably is going to be dependent on some of its highly touted freshmen on offense also, and they are replacing some really top offensive players.

I like Danny Maltz. He made some nice contributions to the Terps over his 5 years. I'll miss seeing him out there. In the end though, the Terps are replacing a player who had 34 pts - 30 goals and 4 assists.

schadenfreude, eh?
ummm... i know you like maltz, which makes your posts here strange. if i went out and said a 2025 freshie @ uva was gonna be better than a productive vet right away, it'd be weird, no?

read what i wrote. i was DEFENDING a terp player (imo, an underrated one).
why you're defensive about that is anyone's guess.
 
ummm... i know you like maltz, which makes your posts here strange. if i went out and said a 2025 freshie @ uva was gonna be better than a productive vet right away, it'd be weird, no?

read what i wrote. i was DEFENDING a terp player (imo, an underrated one).
why you're defensive about that is anyone's guess.
Obviously, I'm defending soon to be Terp player Spencer Ford.

Virginia's vets at attack scored 84 pts (Shellenberger) and 78 pts (Cormier), those are pretty lofty numbers.

I imagine that if you suggested that Ryan Duenkel (if healthy) or Kyle Colsey were likely to score more that 34 points, I would feel the odds were in your favor. (Millon scored 66 points, Duffy had 54 points (in 12 games), Nate Kabiri score 53 points, the 4th top 10 attackman Willem Firth scored 34 points this past season).

You do realize that this JRN19 on fanlax is not the sharpest tool in the shed and has a handful of other usernames.
 
Obviously, I'm defending soon to be Terp player Spencer Ford.

Virginia's vets at attack scored 84 pts (Shellenberger) and 78 pts (Cormier), those are pretty lofty numbers.

I imagine that if you suggested that Ryan Duenkel (if healthy) or Kyle Colsey were likely to score more that 34 points, I would feel the odds were in your favor. (Millon scored 66 points, Duffy had 54 points (in 12 games), Nate Kabiri score 53 points, the 4th top 10 attackman Willem Firth scored 34 points this past season).

You do realize that this JRN19 on fanlax is not the sharpest tool in the shed and has a handful of other usernames.
aren't you cooter?
 
Now that the 2024 season has wrapped, I thought it would be fun to lookahead to next year. With so many top players moving on, next year should really be incredibly wide open. Seriously, teams like Duke, UVA, Notre Dame and a few others are saying goodbye to some of the best players in their team's history. I think if you asked 10 lacrosse fans who their top 10 would be next year, you might get 10 different teams for each. The end of the fifth year COVID year brings things back to an even plane, for the most part. Anyways, hopefully this sparks discussion, I am sure there is plenty to disagree with. I found this exercise a lot easier last year with a clearly defined top three, and a next class of six or seven teams that were closely grouped. Now it really feels like a crap shoot.

1. Cornell - The Bid Red welcome back perhaps the best attack in the country, including the frontrunner for the Tewaarton in CJ Kirst and the criminally underrated Michael Long, along with a ton of other good players. Their FOGO situation should receive a boost with the return of Jack Cascaden. Their defense does have issues, but Wyatt Knust is capable of big games, and they get a lot of their defensive players back for another year. Of course they missed the tournament this year, but Notre Dame missed it two years ago and wound up winning the title the next year.

2. Syracuse - perhaps I am a homer, but the Orange bring back an explosive offense (six 20 goal scorers), a good fogo and some very good long sticks. Obviously they have a question in goal, but a lot of the other teams around them do as well. The other big question, which I am sure people are tired of me talking about is the SSDM depth. Spallina and Hiltz (assuming he comes back) will have to be more consistent in big games, but the vaunted sophomore class will be upperclassmen, and up to five of them should be preseason All Americans (Spallina, Leo, Thomson, Figuerias, Dwan).

3. Princeton - there are a lot of similarities between the Tigers and the Orange (explosive offenses, both need to replace their goalies, SSDM depth), but I give the edge to the Orange since their "core" is a year older, and they went one round further in the tournament. If Cornell doesn't have the best attack next year, I give it to the Tigers. They welcome the number four recruiting class to campus next year as well.

4. Notre Dame - The Irish lose a ton of really good players (Pat Kavanagh, Liam Entemann, two starting midfielders, two starting defenseman, a number of reserve midfielders). But the Irish bring back some other excellent players dotted all over the field - Chris Kavanagh, Jake Taylor at attack, Jordan Faison at midfield, Will Lynch at FOGO, and Shawn Lyght at defense. Filling in around those players should be interesting, The Irish welcome the number three ranked recruiting class which includes the number one player Matt Jeffery at midfield. Who fills in for Pat Kav on attack should be interesting (they have number 8 ranked Brady Porknoy incoming, and former top recruits Brock Bernham and Jeffrey Riccherdelli). Given all their losses, I think you could make the argument they desreve to be lower, but the culture ND has built is pretty remarkable. Hard not to see them continue their success going forward.

5. Maryland - I have a hard time with the Terps. Are they the team that was a mess for a stretch last year, or the one that went berserk mode in the tournament and made the title game? The Terps bring back some good players, Eric Spanos, Eric Malever and Braden Erksa on offense, Colin Burlace, George Stamos and Owen McAnany at defense. But man, they lose their best defender in Ajax Zapatello (and the host of UVM transfers), and their war horse of a FOGO in Luke Wireman. Also McAnaney wasn't his usual self last year. This has more to do with John Tillman and the culture he's built up (much like Notre Dame) than anything. Terps have the number five recruiting class and could fill some immediate needs with the likes of Spencer Ford and Johhny Gardner on offense, and Peter Laake on defense. Wiereman has been so instrumental to the Terps success, his replacement will have big shoes to fill.

6. Hopkins - The Jays lose their best two offensive players (Angelus and Degnon) and their goalie, who was huge for them. That said, their defense should be really good with Kilrain, Smith and Brown all returning (plus the Yale short sticks). You would think that Jimmy Ayers and Hunter Chauvette fill in at attack, but they will have big shoes to fill. Their face-off situation was not great last year, and they lose half of their duo. Also what version of Russell Melendez do they have - last year's wasn't very good but if they get the version of the year before, they could be scary. Matt Collison returns to man the midfield.

7. Virginia - I've written a little on the Cavs already, so I'll try and keep this brief. Virginia was a very thin team last year, and they say goodbye to two of their all-time best players in Shellenberger and Cormier. They bring back two very good offensive pieces in Griffin Schutz and McCabe Millon, but it seems they will rely a ton on their number one recruiting class, or some highly ranked vets who haven't quite lived up to their billing quite yet. Defense returns two poles, but loses Cole Kasnter and their starting goalie was benched in the semi-finals. They should be solid at the face-off dot, but they also their best SSDM in Chase Yager. I feel like a lot of this ranking is based on UVA's reputation.

8. Army - it feels like the Black Knights time to shine was this year, but they didn't even make the NCAAs. But they return some very good players in Jackson Eicher, Will Colletti, AJ Pillate, and Evan Plunkett. Those last three names could be the best at their position in the country. They need to figure out their goalie situation though. It also seems like other Patriot League teams like Army and Loyola lose a ton.

9. Yale - The Bulldogs get back Leo Johnson and Chris Lyons who should offset the loss of all timer Matt Brandau. They had a ton of injury issues last year which kept them from the playoffs last year, mainly Machado Rodriguez, who is due back at the face-off dot. But the defense, for the third year in a row just has not been good.

10. Georgetown This feels like a default placement for the Hoyas. They lose three of their top four scorers, top SSDM in Dylan Hess, and their top fogo. But they return their top scorer in Aidan Carrol, their very good goalie in Anderson Moore and very good defender in Ty Banks. They had some good performances in the tourney by freshmen. They should be the toast of the Big East seeing that Denver lost so much.

11. Penn State - The Nittany Lions return a great goalie in Jack Fracyon, but they'll have to rebuild their offense around Matt Traynor after losing TJ Malone, Mac Costin and Jake Morin.

12. Harvard - The Crimson have been all over the map since Gerry Byrne has taken over - but they still have Sam King, one of the better attackmen in the country. They return seven of their top eight leading scorers. But they got sub-par face-off play last year, and just average goalie play.

13. UNC - This feels high for the Tar Heels, but on paper they have some very good players coming back, Owen Duffy (health is question), Dom Petro, Brady Wambach, Peter Thomann. And they bring in Michael Gianforacaro in goal and Spencer Wirtham to help the midfield. But like Notre Dame and Maryland getting the benefit of the doubt, it feels like UNC deserves the opposite of that based on the results on the field.

14. Penn - The Quakers probably have the best goalie in the country coming back in Emmet Carrol. They return three of their four top leading scorers and top defenseman in Brandon Levelle.

15. Duke - Feels weird having the Blue Devils this far down, but they lose their entire attack, their best defender, their top FOGO. They have some good players coming back, including their goalie and a young stable of middies. But it feels hard to imagine a team that couldn't make the final four with Brennan O'Neil, etc, making it without him. I am guessing Andrew McAdory moves to attack, but questions about who joins him remain. Does Graham Blake replace someone like Dyson Williams? That seems like quite the step backwards (no offense).

16. Towson - The Tigers showed a lot last year and return a ton of really good pieces, including Mikey Weihsser and four other top six scorers. They need to replace their top cover defenseman, but get their goalie and FOGO back who had very good stats.

17. Colgate - The Red Raiders had quite the season last year, knocking off Penn State early in the year. Their unique full field press gave teams fits all year. It was a real surprise from a team and a coach who looked to be sliding into obscurity. They returns their three leading scorers and four others who scored in double digits. They get their goalie back, but need to be better on face-offs (41%).

18. Albany - Obviously Piseno is a huge loss, but of the 11 Great Danes who scored double digit points, they return nine, including Silas Richmond who had 73. Goaltending was not great last year and I beleive they lose their fogo, but offense should be explosive.

19. Denver - Hard to drop a final four team this low, but the Pios were built for this year. Cody Malawski, Noah Manning and Mic Kelly return to lead the offense, but Alec Stathkis took almost all the face-offs, they lose three long poles, their top two leading scorers and their goalie. The Big East looks pretty weak which might give them an avenue to the tournament, if they can get by the Hoyas.

20. Lehigh - The Mountain Hawks get the benefit of the doubt, after making a surprising run to the NCAAs. They need to replace some good offensive players including top scorer Scott Cole, and their goalie. But they return six of their top eight scorers, and the ridiculous Richard Checo who is a human caused turnover machine.
I STILL haven't gotten over Cornell game last year!
 

Forum statistics

Threads
168,422
Messages
4,775,010
Members
5,949
Latest member
Laxmom2317

Online statistics

Members online
173
Guests online
995
Total visitors
1,168


Top Bottom