College lacrosse

The Baltimore Sun

PROJECTED NCAA SEEDS

1. Duke

Atlantic Coast Conference (17-3, NCAA tournament finals)

Coach: John Danowski

Second season

26th season overall, 236-142

TOP RETURNING SCORER

MATT DANOWSKI

Senior A

(44 goals, 52 assists)

ALSO BACK

Zack Greer, senior M (67, 27)

Ned Crotty, junior M (25, 8)

Dan Loftus, senior G

Nick O'Hara, senior LSM

Tony McDevitt, senior D

KEY ADDITIONS

Zach Howell, freshman A

Mike Manley, freshman D

Tom Montelli, freshman D

THE SUN'S TAKE

Reigning Player of the Year Matt Danowski is not fully recovered from offseason surgery to repair a ligament in his right foot, and junior A Gibbs Fogarty is out for the season with an undisclosed injury. But the Blue Devils -- who return their top four scorers after Danowski -- shouldn't have any trouble on offense. The defense is deep, and Loftus is solid.

2. Johns Hopkins

Independent

(13-4, NCAA champions)

Coach: Dave Pietramala

Eighth season, 85-19 11th season overall, 108-36

Projected top NCAA seeds

TOP RETURNING SCORER

PAUL RABIL

Senior M

(27, 26)

ALSO BACK

Steven Boyle, sophomore A (23, 14)

Kevin Huntley, senior A (22, 9)

Stephen Peyser, senior M (16, 10)

Michael Evans, junior D

Matt Drenan, junior D

KEY ADDITIONS

Tim Donovan, freshman M

Mark Goodrich, freshman M

Orry Michael, freshman LSM

THE SUN'S TAKE

Winning a third national championship in four years would add legitimacy to talk of a Blue Jays dynasty. And with Rabil, Boyle, Huntley and Michael Kimmel -- four of last year's top five scorers -- returning, Johns Hopkins should make another title run. There are a few questions regarding a backup faceoff specialist and a No. 3 attackman.

3. Virginia

Atlantic Coast Conference

(12-4, NCAA first round)

Coach: Dom Starsia

16th season, 170-58

26th season overall, 271-104

TOP RETURNING SCORER

BEN RUBEOR

Senior A

(46, 22)

ALSO BACK

Danny Glading, junior A (31, 17)

Garrett Billings, junior A (21, 22)

Will Barrow, senior M

Ken Clausen, sophomore D

Mike Timms, junior LSM

KEY ADDITIONS

Peter Lamade, senior M

Rhamel Bratton, freshman M

Shamel Bratton, freshman M

Adam Ghitelman, freshman G

4. Georgetown

Eastern College Athletic Conf.

(12-3, NCAA quarterfinals)

Coach: Dave Urick

19th season, 184-70

29th season overall, 306-100

TOP RETURNING SCORER

BRENDAN CANNON

Senior A (21, 23)

ALSO BACK

Andrew Baird, senior A (20, 10)

Craig Dowd, sophomore A (17, 8)

Andrew Brancaccio, sophomore M (20, 1)

Miles Kass, senior G

Jerry Lambe, senior D

KEY ADDITIONS

Max Seligmann, freshman M

Ryan Shuler, freshman A

Brian Tabb, freshman M

THE SUN'S TAKE

A second national crown in three years will likely depend on the return of Rubeor,who is dealing with a knee injury that he aggravated in his first practice. Until then, the Cavaliers will lean on Glading and Billings to lead the attack. The midfield unit might boast even more potential, especially with the Bratton twins. Senior Bud Petit, sophomore Mark Wade and Ghitelman are competing to succeed goalie Kip Turner.

KEY ADDITIONS

Max Seligmann, freshman M

Ryan Shuler, freshman A

Brian Tabb, freshman M

THE SUN'S TAKE

A trademark of the Hoyas has been a stingy defense, and that reputation won't change this season under Kass and Lambe'sl eadership. Georgetown limited opponents to nine goals or fewer 12 times last year. The Hoyas' top four scorers are back, but they'll probably need more production in the tough ECAC.

OTHER STATE SCHOOLS

Loyola

Eastern College Athletic Conf.

(7-6, NCAA first round)

Coach: Charley Toomey

Third season, 13-12

TOP RETURNING SCORER

SHANE KOPPENS

Senior A

(20, 26)

ALSO BACK

Paul Richards, senior M (7, 6)

Eddie Graham, senior D

David Moore, senior D

Alex Peaty, junior G

P.T. Ricci, junior D

KEY ADDITIONS

Collin Finnerty, sophomore A

Tim McDermott, senior M

Bobby Caetta, freshman M

Matt Langan, freshman A

THE SUN'S TAKE

Graduating 80 percent of last year's offense will be a huge hurdle, but the Greyhounds should continue to challenge Georgetown for the conference title. Toomey has added speed to the attack, and Peaty anchors a stingy defense.

Finnerty, a Duke transfer, has already shown flashes of his potential despite recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery last summer, and McDermott won 67.8 percent of faceoffs for SUNY Geneseo last season.

Maryland

Atlantic Coast Conference

(10-6, NCAA first round)

Coach: Dave Cottle

Seventh season, 67-28

26th season overall, 248-98

MAX RITZ

Senior A

(24, 25)

Dan Groot, junior M (21, 11)

Jeremy Sieverts, junior M (15, 6)Drew Evans, senior M (12, 7)Joe Cinosky, senior DWill Dalton, senior M

Tony Mendes, freshman M

Grant Catalino, freshman A

Ryan Young, freshman A

Max Schmidt, freshman D

With the return of four of last year?s top six scorers, the Terps have enough firepower to take aim at a title in the country's toughest conference. The midfield has depth, and Young and Catalino have shown the kind of potential that might earn them starts alongside Ritz. The key will be developing a defense in front of an unsettled goalie situation. Sophomore Brian Phipps started all but three games last year, but junior Jason Carter returns from a broken collarbone.

Mount St. Mary's

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conf.

(4-10)

Coach: Tom Gravante

13th season, 87-104

JOE DERWENT

Senior M

(5, 8)

Drew Dunn, sophomore M

Geery Grant, junior M

Tim Henry, sophomore A

Russell Moncure, sophomore D

Phil Thomas, senior D

Brendan Flanagan, senior D

Dan Gassel, sophomore D

T.C. DiBartolo, freshman G

Andrew Miller, freshman D

Replenishing a roster that graduated 12 players (including nine starters) will be key, but Gravante knows the Mount won?t be shown much mercy in the MAAC. A pair of transfers from Butler, Flanagan and Gassel, anchor a defense eager to propel the team back to the MAAC tournament after missing last season?s playoffs for the first time since 2004.

Navy

Patriot League

(11-4, NCAA first round)

Coach: Richie Meade

14th season, 110-69

18th season overall, 137-92

NICK MIRABITO

Senior A (23, 21)

Tim Paul, sophomore A (13, 7)

Basil Daratsos, sophomore M (17, 2)

Terence Higgins, senior M (4, 9)

Jordan DiNola, senior D

Brendan Teague, senior D

Evan Boyle, senior M

Critics have harped on the graduations of A Ian Dingman (33, 9), M Billy Looney (20, 14) and M Tommy Wallin (13, 9), but the Midshipmen are eager to prove those doubters wrong. Mirabito led Navy in scoring last year, and Paul adds firepower on attack. The rehabilitation of Daratsos? injured knee could be pivotal, but the defense should continue to be a solid foundation as the Mids take aim at their fifth conference title in as many seasons.

Towson

Colonial Athletic Association

(9-7, NCAA first round)

Coach: Tony Seaman

10th season, 77-56

27th season overall, 241-129

JONATHAN ENGELKE

Senior A

(25, 8)

Brian Vetter, senior M (15, 10)

Adam Hagelin, senior M (9, 8)

Brock Armour, sophomore M

Fred Lee, senior D

Ryan O?Donnell, senior D

Blake Best, senior A

Tim Stratton, freshman A

The Tigers' bid for their sixth NCAA tournament berth in eight years will rely heavily on an abundance of depth overcoming the lack of a superstar. Vetter and Hagelin power a talented midfield, but replacing faceoff specialist Matt Eckerl is a priority. Best, a Severna Park native who transferred from Lehigh, posted 49 goals and 29 assists in his three years there, and Stratton set a national high school scoring record with 587 career points. Seniors Matt Antol and Billy Sadtler are competing to start in goal.

UMBC

America East Conference

(11-6, NCAA quarterfinals)

Coach: Don Zimmerman

15th season, 101-91

22nd season overall, 174-106

TERRY KIMENER

Senior M

(18, 20)

Alex Hopmann, junior M (20, 8)

Bobby Atwell, junior D

Jeremy Blevins, junior G

Matt Kresse, sophomore D

Taylor Marino, senior M

Kevin Goedeke, junior D

Ryan Smith, junior A

Jamie Kimbles, freshman M

Bobby Stockton, freshman M

Despite having lost a starting attack unit (Andy Gallagher and Drew Westervelt graduated and Cayle Ratcliffe chose to stay home in British Columbia) that combined for 112 goals, the Retrievers aren?t giving up hope for a third straight NCAA tournament appearance. Blevins, Atwell and Kresse headline a defense that surrendered fewer than 10 goals in seven games, all UMBC wins.With only four seniors on the roster, Zimmerman is depending on fresh faces such as Smith and Kimbles to make an impact quickly.

BEST OF THE OUTSIDERS

Albany

America East Conference

(15-3, NCAA quarterfinals)

Coach: Scott Marr

Eighth season, 65-43

TOP RETURNING SCORER

JORDAN LEVINE

Senior M

(23, 16)

ALSO BACK

Derek Dale, senior A (20, 18)

Corey Small, junior A (24, 7)

Mike Ammann, senior M (11, 20)

Brett Queener, senior G

Chris Schongar, junior D

KEY ADDITIONS

Trevor Ortolano, senior M

Brian Caufield, freshman A

Michael Banks, freshman D

THE SUN?S TAKE

The Great Danes must replace Frank Resetarits and Merrick Thomson,who scored 46 percent of their goals last year. Marr will lean on a talented midfield and defense to spark the transition game. Despite the question marks, expect Albany, conference champions in four of the past five seasons, to make another run.

Cornell

Ivy League

(15-1, NCAA semifinals)

Coach: Jeff Tambroni

Eighth season, 73-26

JOHN GLYNN

Senior M

(23, 22)

Max Seibald, junior M (17, 20)

Rocco Romero, junior M (9, 7)

John Espey, senior A (10, 5)

Matt Moyer, junior D

Danny Nathan, senior M

Jack Dudley, freshman M

Mat Martinez, freshman G

Shane O?Neill, freshman M

After reaching the final four for the first time since 1988, the Big Red said farewell to an attack that contributed 14 goals a game. Replenishing that unit will be a priority, as will finding a starting goalie among senior Jake Myers, Butler transfer and junior Kyle Harer and Martinez. Glynn, Seibald and Romero lead a deep midfield as Cornell renews its rivalry with Princeton for a sixth consecutive Ivy League championship.

North Carolina

Atlantic Coast Conference

(10-6, NCAA quarterfinals)

Coach: John Haus

Seventh season, 50-46

14th season overall, 117-74

BART WAGNER

Junior A

(23, 21)

Gavin Petracca, sophomore A (24, 17)

Michael Burns, junior A (28, 7)

Grant Zimmerman, junior G

Shane Walterhoefer, junior M

Tim Kaiser, senior D

Billy Bitter, freshman A

Ryan Flanagan, freshman D

Chris Hunt, freshman M

Observers are high on the Tar Heels,who return nine of 10 starters from last season?s team. Led by Wagner and Burns, the offense should continue to excel and get many chances thanks to Walterhoefer,who won more than 60 percent of his faceoffs last year. Zimmerman is a capable goalkeeper, but Haus is expecting the defense to improve on the 9.94 goals the unit surrendered per game.

Notre Dame

Great Western Lacrosse League

(11-4, NCAA first round)

Coach: Kevin Corrigan

20th season, 167-92

22nd season overall, 177-107

RYAN HOFF

Junior A

(40, 4)

Michael Podgajny, senior M (26, 13)

Alex Wharton, senior A (8, 10)

Taylor Clagett, senior M

Sean Dougherty, senior D

Joey Kemp, senior G

Zach Brenneman, freshman M

David Earl, freshman M

Kevin Ridgway, freshman D

The indefinite suspension of sophomore A Will Yeatman (21, 25) is a huge loss, but the Fighting Irish might be able to fill the void with Hoff,Wharton and junior A Duncan Swezey. Notre Dame is loaded on the back end with Kemp and Dougherty anchoring a fierce defense.

Princeton

Ivy League

(10-4, NCAA first round)

Coach: Bill Tierney

21st season, 218-77

24th season overall, 252-84

TOMMY DAVIS

Junior A (18, 17)

Mark Kovler, junior M (23, 5)

Alex Haynie, senior A (10, 8)

Alex Hewit, senior G; A (15, 1)

Dan Cocoziello, senior D

Chris Peyser, junior D

Chris McBride, freshman A

Jack McBride, freshman A

To win a national title, Princeton must revive a dormant offense that averaged just 9.8 goals last season. Hewit, regarded as the best goalie in the country, will keep the Tigers in tight games. Three of their four losses were by one goal.

Syracuse Independent

(5-8)

Coach: John Desko

10th season, 102-38

MIKE LEVEILLE

Senior A (22, 17)

Dan Hardy, junior M (22, 10)

Kenny Nims, junior A (18, 12)

Steven Brooks, senior M (19, 7)

Matt Abbott, junior M

Brendan Loftus, senior M

Josh Amidon, freshman M

Jovan Miller, freshman M

Joel White, freshman LSM

The Orange missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1982, and Desko wants the players to remember the pain. Leveille and Hardy will settle a young offense, but the key is whether Lelan Rogers, named defensive coordinator during the offseason, can tighten a defense that surrendered 17 goals to Johns Hopkins, 16 to Cornell and 12 to Colgate. Junior G Peter Coluccini,who started all 13 games last season, is being challenged by freshman John Galloway.

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