By Edward Lee
8:00 AM EDT, June 15, 2012
Here is the third installment of an attempt at a premature poll for next season.
The top 20 will be broken up into four installments with Friday’s post involving teams ranked from Nos. 10 to 6. Wednesday featured Nos. 20 to 16, and Thursday looked at Nos. 15 to 11.
Monday will highlight teams ranked 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.
10. Denver (2012 record: 9-7; Tournament finish: quarterfinals)
Losses: Two starters in attackmen Mark Matthews (47 goals and 17 assists) and Alex Demopoulos (20 G, 27 A) and two key contributors in midfielder Patrick Rogers (3 G, 5 A) and short-stick defensive midfielder Henry Miketa (2 G, 2 A, 20 GB, 11 CT).
Returners: Eight starters including the entire first midfield of sophomore Jeremy Noble (25 G, 21 A) and juniors Cameron Flint (16 G, 7 A), and Chase Carraro (14 G, 6 A).
Reason for pessimism: Freshman Wes Berg (26 G, 11 A) is poised to join junior Eric Law (26 G, 16 A) on the starting attack, but can they mitigate the departure of Matthews, a two-time second-team All American?
Reason for optimism: The return of the entire starting defense of redshirt sophomore Drew Babb (21 GB, 11 CT), freshman Carson Cannon (14 GB, 8 CT) and junior Kyle Hercher (8 GB, 6 CT) anchors a unit that must choose a goalkeeper between sophomore Jamie Faus (8.17 goals-against average and .524 save percentage in five starts) and freshman Ryan LaPlante (9.93 GAA, .535 save percentage in 10 starts).
9. Lehigh (14-3; first round)
Losses: Three starters in midfielders Roman Lao-Gosney (19 G, 5 A) and Cameron Lao-Gosney (13 G, 9 A) and attackman Adam Johnston (21 G, 3 A).
Returners: Seven starters including the entire starting defense of freshman goalie Matthew Poillon (6.54 GAA, .595 save percentage), junior defenseman Mike Noone (38 GB, 28 CT) and sophomore defensemen Ty Souders (31 GB, 15 CT) and Lukas Mikelinich (16 GB, 10 CT).
Reason for pessimism: Junior Kyle Stiefel scored a team-high three goals in an NCAA tournament loss to Maryland, but can he and junior Brian Hess anchor the midfield?
Reason for optimism: The attack appears well-stocked with a pair of starters in juniors David DiMaria (22 G, 22 A) and Dante Fantoni (22 G, 19 A) and a pair of reserves in freshmen Patrick Corbett (18 G, 5 A) and Dan Taylor (11 G, 6 A).
8. Colgate (14-4; quarterfinals)
Losses: Two starters in midfielder Jeff Ledwick (32 G, 15 A) and goalkeeper Jared Madison (9.95 GAA, .440 save percentage) and two key contributors in long-stick midfielder Kevin Gordon (3 G, 1 A, 56 GB, 24 CT) and short-stick defensive midfielder John Donnally (8 G, 1 A, 39 GB, 14 CT).
Returners: Eight starters including the entire starting attack of 2012 Tewaaraton Award winner and junior Peter Baum (67 G, 30 A), freshman Ryan Walsh (38 G, 22 A) and sophomore Brendon McCann (23 G, 11 A) and the entire starting defense of sophomores Bobby Lawrence (2 G, 3 A, 49 GB, 29 CT) and Kevin Boyle (44 GB, 20 CT) and junior James Queeney (29 GB, 9 CT).
Reason for pessimism: Sophomore goalie Conor Murphy (11.60 GAA, .500 save percentage) started in both NCAA tournament games, but it’s unclear whether he is the answer for the Raiders’ woes in the net.
Reason for optimism: An offense that ranked second in Division I with a 13.1 average won’t give many opponents a day off with Baum at the helm.
7. Notre Dame (13-3; semifinals)
Losses: Three starters in attackman Sean Rogers (22 G, 8 A), midfielder Max Pfeifer (11 G, 9 A) and defenseman Kevin Randall (20 GB, 12 CT) and three key contributors in midfielder Eric Keppeler (7 G, 1 A), long-stick midfielder Bobby Smith (36 GB, 10 CT) and short-stick defensive midfielder Devon Dobson (32 GB, 9 CT).
Returners: Seven starters including four of the offense’s top five scorers in sophomore midfielder Jim Marlatt (19 G, 12 A), sophomore attackman Westy Hopkins (18 G, 7 A), junior midfielder Ryan Foley (13 G, 8 A) and freshman attackman Conor Doyle (13 G, 7 A).
Reason for pessimism: An offense that struggled to score 8.6 goals per game this past season needs an influx of talent to inject some adrenaline into that unit.
Reason for optimism: A defense that ranked first in the nation after allowing just 6.3 goals per game is headlined by the return of junior goalkeeper and first-team All American John Kemp, who led the country in both goals-against average (6.27) and save percentage (.637).
6. Johns Hopkins (12-4; quarterfinals)
Losses: Two starters in attackman Chris Boland (18 G, 13 A) and defenseman Gavin Crisafulli (24 GB, 13 CT) and two key contributors in midfielder Mark Goodrich (9 G, 2 A) and short-stick defensive midfielder Marshall Burkhart (1 G, 2 A, 20 GB, 6 CT).
Returners: Eight starters including four of the top five scorers in junior attackman Zach Palmer (27 G, 26 A), sophomore attackman Brandon Benn (30 G, 7 A), sophomore midfielder Rob Guida (17 G, 11 A) and junior midfielder John Ranagan (16 G, 7 A).
Reason for pessimism: Junior midfielder John Greeley (7 G, 7 A in 12 starts in 2012) and sophomore short-stick defensive midfielder Phil Castronova (4 G, 3 A, 42 GB, 9 CT in 2011) are scheduled to return in time for next season, but whether they will be fully effective is another matter.
Reason for optimism: A defense that ranked seventh in the country after surrendering just 7.4 goals per game should be fully loaded with sophomore long-tick midfielder Jack Reilly (21 GB, 6 CT) joining a pair of starting close defensemen in junior and Defenseman of the Year Tucker Durkin (35 GB, 19 CT) and junior Chris Lightner (18 GB, 6 CT) and junior goalie Pierce Bassett (7.47 GAA, .522 save percentage).
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