Here is the second installment of an attempt at a premature poll for next season.
The top 20 will be broken up into four installments with Thursday’s post involving teams ranked from Nos. 15 to 11. Wednesday featured Nos. 20 to 16. Friday will highlight teams ranked Nos. 10 to 6 and Monday Nos. 5 to 1. Tuesday will include three schools not mentioned in the poll that could make some waves.
Unless there are confirmed reports about certain players planning to use fifth years of eligibility, this space will assume that seniors in 2012 will not return next year. Unannounced fifth-year seniors and potential transfers will affect the rankings that come out next February, but here’s a spin anyway.
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15. Ohio State (2012 record: 8-7; Tournament finish: no tournament)
Losses: Three starters in defensemen Keenan Ochwat (34 groundballs and 28 caused turnovers) and Joe Bonanni (33 GB, 17 CT) and attackman Mike Smail (4 goals and 4 assists).
Returners: The top six scorers including Eastern College Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year and junior attackman Logan Schuss (39 G, 18 A), freshman midfielder Jesse King (16 G, 9 A) and junior midfielder Domonique Alexander (11 G, 12 A).
Reason for pessimism: Can sophomore goalkeeper Greg Dutton (6.92 GAA, .575 save percentage) and sophomore defenseman Dominic Imbordino (13 GB, 11 CT) help replenish a defense that also graduated defenseman Matt Kawamoto (12 GB, 3 CT), who was the league Defensive Player of the Year in 2011?
Reason for optimism: The presence of sophomore long-stick midfielders Joe Meurer (25 GB, 6 CT) and Darius Bowling (21 GB, 7 CT) and the addition of incoming freshman and Under Armour All American Robby Haus (Lutherville/Gilman) could fortify the defense.
14. Massachusetts (15-1; first round)
Losses: Six starters including midfielders Anthony Biscardi (21 G, 7 A) and Mike Fetterly (7 G, 19 A) and attackman Art Kell (33 G, 20 A) and two key contributors in faceoff specialist Anthony Toresco (3 G, 4 A, 78 GB, 140-of-224 for 62.5 percent) and short-stick defensive midfielder Greg Rushing (3 G, 1 A, 73 GB, 22 CT).
Returners: Four starters in Tewaaraton Award finalist and junior attackman Will Manny (44 G, 33 A), junior attackman Kyle Smith (33 G, 19 A), junior midfielder Colin Fleming (26 G, 8 A) and junior defenseman Jake Smith (28 GB, 11 CT).
Reason for pessimism: Three-fourths of the starting defense is gone with goalkeeper Tim McCormack (7.09 GAA, .606 save percentage) and defensemen Tom Celentani (32 GB, 24 CT) and Greg Anderson (26 GB, 5 CT) graduating.
Reason for optimism: Despite their losses, the Minutemen figure to be the preseason favorite to capture the Colonial Athletic Association for the second consecutive year.
13. Syracuse (9-8; first round)
Losses: Three starters in attackmen Tommy Palasek (24 G, 30 A) and Tim Desko (22 G, 11 CT) and midfielder Bobby Eilers (22 G, 8 A) and a key contributor in short-stick defensive midfielder Kevin Drew (7 G, 3 A, 34 GB, 11 CT).
Returners: The entire starting defense of freshman goalkeeper Bobby Wardwell (8.85 GAA, .525 save percentage), junior defenseman Brian Megill (62 GB, 37 CT), redshirt junior defenseman David Hamlin (27 GB, 14 CT) and freshman defenseman Brandon Mullins (27 GB, 13 CT).
Reason for pessimism: An offense that ranked 23rd in the nation didn’t get much help from a faceoff unit composed of sophomores Chris Daddio (20 GB, 79-of-157 for 49.0 percent) and Ricky Buhr (21 GB, 62-of-139 for 44.6 percent).
Reason for optimism: Sophomore attackman Derek Maltz (28 G, 9 A) and junior midfielder JoJo Marasco (12 G, 19 A) are back, but they will need some help from teammates likes junior midfielder Luke Cometti (11 G, 1 A), sophomore attackman Billy Ward (2 G, 7 A) and redshirt freshman midfielder Hakeem Lecky (6 G, 1 A).
12. Virginia (12-4; quarterfinals)
Losses: Five starters including the 2011 Tewaaraton Award winner and attackman Steele Stanwick (29 G, 51 A), attackman Chris Bocklet (36 G, 8 A) and midfielder Colin Briggs (22 G, 14 A).
Returners: Five starters including junior attackman Matt White (16 G, 15 A), sophomore midfielder Rob Emery (24 G, 5 A) and redshirt freshman midfielder Owen Van Arsdale (9 G, 9 A) and two key contributors in junior attackman Mark Cockerton (16 G, 5 A) and freshman midfielder Ryan Tucker (13 G, 2 A).
Reason for pessimism: A defense that graduated top defenseman Matt Lovejoy (31 GB, 26 CT) must find a new goalkeeper to succeed Rob Fortunato (8.50 GAA, .566 save percentage).
Reason for optimism: The Cavaliers rank second with five incoming Under Armour All Americans.
11. Yale (11-5; first round)
Losses: Three starters in attackman Matt Gibson (28 G, 33 A) and midfielders Greg Mahony (20 G, 8 A) and Matt Miller (9 G, 1 A) and two key contributors in short-stick defensive midfielders Michael Pratt (7 G, 52 GB, 8 CT) and Mark Dobrosky (2 G, 3 A, 23 GB, 12 CT).
Returners: Seven starters including the entire defense of sophomore goalkeeper Jack Meyer (8.69 GAA, .487 save percentage), junior defensemen Michael McCormack (3 G, 4 A, 55 GB, 34 CT) and Peter Johnson (50 GB, 29 CT) and freshman defenseman Harry Kucharczyk (34 GB, 14 CT).
Reason for pessimism: Junior Deron Dempster (37 G, 2 A) is poised to join sophomore Brandon Mangan (26 G, 11 A) and freshman Conrad Overbeck (20 G, 6 A) as starters on attack, but who will fill Gibson’s role as the quarterback?
Reason for optimism: The offense should be bolstered by the return of sophomore Dylan Levings, who ranked fourth in the country with a 63.2 success rate on faceoffs.