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Previewing the top men's lacrosse teams in the nation, Maryland

Edward Lee takes a look at the top men's lacrosse teams in the nation and the outlook for each Division I school in Maryland.

PROJECTED NCAA SEEDS

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1. Denver

Big East Conference

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Last season: 16-3, NCAA tournament semifinals

Coach: Bill Tierney (sixth season, 66-23; 30th season overall, 338-116)

Top returning scorer: Wesley Berg, senior A (48 goals and 20 assists)

Other key returnees

Erik Adamson, senior M (44, 10)

Jack Bobzien, junior A (42, 21)

Zach Miller, sophomore A (38, 19)

Key newcomers

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Brendan Bomberry, freshman M

Connor Cannizzaro, sophomore A

Colton McCaffrey, freshman A

Outlook: Although the graduation of midfielder Jeremy Noble (13, 36) will hurt, the Pioneers can reload with the return of their top four scorers and six of their top seven. Senior goalkeeper Ryan LaPlante (8.66 goals-against average and .563 save percentage) anchors a defense that surrendered just 8.5 goals per game last season.

2. Notre Dame

Atlantic Coast Conference

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Last season: 12-6, NCAA final

Coach: Kevin Corrigan (27th season, 253-120)

Top returning scorer: Matt Kavanagh, junior A (42, 33)

Other key returnees

Conor Doyle, senior A (31, 19)

Conor Kelly, senior GK (10.28 goals-against average, .505 save percentage)

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Sergio Perkovic, sophomore M (28, 5)

Key newcomers

Brendan Collins, freshman M

Owen Molloy, freshman GK

Mikey Wynne, freshman A

Outlook: The Fighting Irish's biggest loss to graduation was defenseman Stephen O'Hara (32 ground balls and 21 caused turnovers). But the defense always has prided itself on sticking to its system. Finding a new faceoff specialist to replace Liam O'Connor (58.0 faceoff percentage and 124 ground balls) will be just as important.

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3. Syracuse

ACC

Last season: 11-6, NCAA first round

Coach: John Desko (17th season, 198-64)

Top returning scorer: Kevin Rice, senior A (36, 44)

Other key returnees

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Dylan Donahue, junior A (37, 17)

Brandon Mullins, junior D (36 ground balls, 17 caused turnovers)

Randy Staats, senior A (33, 23)

Key newcomers

Tim Barber, junior M

Warren Hill, junior GK

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Hayes McGinley, redshirt freshman M

Outlook: The Orange add National Junior College Athletic Association Player of the Year Barber (55, 36) to a potent offense. But will Hill, another Onondaga Community College (N.Y.) transfer, overtake senior Bobby Wardwell as the starting goalie? And can sophomore transfers Zach Vehar (Quinnipiac) and Ben Williams (Holy Cross) stabilize the faceoff position?

4. Johns Hopkins

Big Ten Conference

Last season: 11-5, NCAA tournament quarterfinals

Coach: Dave Pietramala (15th season, 158-55; 18th season overall, 181-72)

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Top returning scorer: Wells Stanwick, senior A (23, 44)

Other key returnees

Ryan Brown, junior A (40, 14)

John Kelly, senior D (38 ground balls, 12 caused turnovers)

Eric Schneider, redshirt senior GK (8.84 goals-against average, .547 save percentage)

Key newcomers

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Hunter Moreland, freshman F/O

Shack Stanwick, freshman A

Joel Tinney, freshman M

Outlook: The Blue Jays feel sophomore Wilkins Dismuke and the younger Stanwick can fill out the attack. The midfield, led by junior Holden Cattoni (29, 6) is deep, and sophomore Nick Fields is poised to switch from long-stick midfielder to close defenseman, joining Kelly and senior Robert Enright (18 ground balls, six caused turnovers).

OTHERS IN MARYLAND

Loyola Maryland

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Patriot League

Last season: 15-2, NCAA first round

Coach: Charley Toomey (10th season, 90-42)

Top returning scorer: Nikko Pontrello, senior A (51, 12)

Other key returnees

Pat Frazier, senior D (27 ground balls, 15 caused turnovers)

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Ryan Fournier, sophomore LSM (32 ground balls, 9 caused turnovers)

Brian Sherlock, sophomore M (19, 10)

Key newcomers

Foster Huggins, freshman D

Jared Mintzlaff, freshman SSDM

Danny Simonetti, sophomore SSDM

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Outlook: Pontrello will get some help from the return of junior attackman Zach Herreweyers, who had 19 goals and three assists in 2013 but was academically ineligible for most of last spring. Senior goalkeeper Pat McEnerney will open the season in the net, but freshman Grant Limone could step in if needed.

Maryland

Big Ten

Last season: 13-4, NCAA semifinals

Coach: John Tillman (fifth season, 48-18; seventh season overall, 68-37)

Top returning scorer: Matt Rambo, sophomore A (30, 6)

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Other key returnees

Jay Carlson, senior A (26, 5)

Casey Ikeda, senior D (29 ground balls, 17 caused turnovers)

Joe LoCascio, senior M (20, 5)

Key newcomers

Connor Kelly, freshman M

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Dylan Maltz, sophomore A

Bryce Young, freshman D

Outlook: The Terps are hoping Maltz, a Syracuse transfer, can fortify the starting attack with Carlson and Rambo, who won't play until he fulfills certain obligations related to charges stemming from an incident in October. Senior goalkeeper Kyle Bernlohr has the inside track for the starting job over sophomore Dan Morris. Senior Charlie Raffa (68.6 faceoff percentage and 114 ground balls) is one of the best faceoff specialists in the nation.

Mount St. Mary's

Northeast Conference

Last season: 1-15, missed NCAA tournament

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Coach: Tom Gravante (20th season, 128-170)

Top returning scorer: Bubba Johnson, junior A (13, 7)

Other key returnees

Mark Hojnoski, senior A (12, 6)

Nick Firman, senior D (34 ground balls, 10 caused turnovers)

Kyle O'Brien, senior D (34 ground balls, 13 caused turnovers)

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Key newcomers

Justin Gosnell, junior M

Mike Moynihan, freshman A

Matt Vierheller, freshman GK

Outlooks: All eyes will be on the defense. Vierheller might open the season as the starting goalie, as junior Frankie McCarthy still is rebounding from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered in April. The Mountaineers also must develop a new long-stick midfielder and another short-stick defensive midfielder.

Navy

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Patriot League

Last season: 4-10, missed NCAA tournament

Coach: Rick Sowell (fourth season, 13-26; 16th season overall, 99-107)

Top returning scorer: T.J. Hanzsche, junior A (22, 2)

Other key returnees

John Connors, junior GK (9.14 goals-against average, .535 save percentage)

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Matt Rees, sophomore D (26 ground balls, nine caused turnovers)

Gabe Voumard, senior M (15, 8)

Key newcomers

David Little, freshman A

Noah Pounds, freshman GK

Jack Ray, freshman A

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Outlook: An offense that struggled to score last season might have similar troubles after graduating four starters. But the Midshipmen are optimistic that Ray and Little can make an impact. Pounds is pushing Connors for the starting role in goal, and freshman Joe Varello is vying with sophomore Brady Dove to be the primary faceoff specialist.

Towson

Colonial Athletic Association

Last season: 8-7, missed NCAA tournament

Coach: Shawn Nadelen (fourth season, 25-23)

Top returning scorer: Greg Cuccinello, senior M (20, 9)

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Other key returnees

JoJo Ostrander, senior D (22 ground balls, nine caused turnovers)

Joe Seider, sophomore A (23, 5)

Tyler White, senior GK (9.63 goals-against average, .502 save percentage)

Key newcomers

Spencer Parks, junior A

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Joey Pfister, junior LSM

Jesse Uhlman, freshman M

Outlook: The Tigers graduated just two starters, but attackman Thomas DeNapoli (17, 19) was the offense's playmaker. Parks is a North Carolina transfer who had seven goals and seven assists in 2014. A deep midfield gets even deeper with the return of redshirt senior Andrew Hodgson (27, 14 in 2013), who sat out last spring after undergoing surgery.

UMBC

America East Conference

Last season: 8-7, missed NCAA tournament

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Coach: Don Zimmerman (22nd season, 155-138; 29th season overall, 228-153)

Top returning scorer: Pat Young, junior M (33, 10)

Other key returnees

Zach Esser, junior D (32 ground balls, 18 caused turnovers)

Connor Gordon, sophomore GK (11.49 goals-against average, .508 save percentage)

Max Maxwell, sophomore A (15, 26)

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Key newcomers

Pat Dignan, redshirt freshman D

Brett Malamphy, freshman F/O

Max Haldeman, freshman M

Outlook: The Retrievers return nine of 10 starters but must find someone to replace attackman Matt Gregorie, who set a single-season program record with 48 goals. Senior Ty Kashur will move from midfield to join Maxwell and junior Nate Lewnes as starting attackmen. Sophomore Steve Larson succeeds Phil Poe as the primary faceoff specialist.


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