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Ivy League men's lacrosse outlook for 2015

Will Cornell return to the top of the Ivy League men's lacrosse standings in 2015?
Will Cornell return to the top of the Ivy League men's lacrosse standings in 2015? (Kim Hairston, Baltimore Sun)

Team on top: Last season was the 11th time in the past 12 years that Cornell captured at least a share of the Ivy League championship. The Big Red have the personnel to make another strong run at a title. They return eight starters, including their entire attack of seniors Matt Donovan (35 goals and 23 assists) and Dan Lintner (47, 5) and junior John Edmonds (24, 9). The key will be finding a capable faceoff specialist to replace Doug Tesoriero, who is the school's career leader in faceoff wins (667) and ground balls (362).

Team on the rise: Harvard's regular-season title in 2014 (shared with Cornell) was only the program's fourth overall and first since 1990. But the Crimson don't appear to be in any hurry to leave as they welcome back seven starters. The entire attack of juniors Devin Dwyer (12, 35), Will Walker (35, 4) and Deke Burns (18, 6) will anchor a rising offense, and the defense will be anchored by three starters in junior defensemen Stephen Jahelka and Robert Duvnjak and senior goalkeeper Jake Gambitsky.

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Team on the decline: Yale has earned berths in two of the last three NCAA tournaments, but a third trip in four years seems unlikely. The Bulldogs graduated four starters, including attackman Brandon Mangan (top 10 in school history in career points, goals and assists) and faceoff specialist Dylan Levings (second in career win percentage). The hope is that a defense that was tied for 11th in Division I after allowing just 8.6 goals per game will settle the team until the offense finds its footing.

Prime-time player: Princeton midfielder Tom Schreiber was a Tewaaraton Award finalist in 2013 and 2014, but Cornell midfielder Connor Buczek was the Ivy League Player of the Year. Some thought Buczek deserved to be a finalist over Schreiber. Nonetheless, the senior was the catalyst for the Big Red last spring and with 47 points on 30 goals and 17 assists, he became the 14th midfielder in program history to compile 100 points in a career.

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Underrated player: While Buczek ran the offensive side of the field for Cornell, the team leaned on goalkeeper Christian Knight to anchor the defense. The Baltimore resident and Boys' Latin graduate responded by ranking 29th in the nation in goals-against average (9.98) and 20th in save percentage (.542). Those numbers were good enough to convince the league to name Knight as the Rookie of the Year. Now a sophomore, Knight will be expected to backstop the Big Red again this spring.

Note: In the originial blog, I wrote that 2014 was only the second time in the past 12 years that Cornell had not clinched at least a share of the Ivy League championship. That is incorrect as the Big Red shared the regular-season crown with Harvard. Thanks to Julie Greco of Cornell for pointing out the error.

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