With the start of the 2016 college lacrosse season just a few weeks away, here is the sixth installment of a series that offers a preview of the battles for conference championships in Division I. The leagues are scheduled to appear via alphabetical order. Thursday’s visit was with the Colonial Athletic Association. Friday takes a spin through the Ivy League.
Team on top: Brown captured a share of the conference title for the first time since sharing the 2010 version with Cornell, Princeton and Yale, and the cupboard appears full for another run at the crown. Although the team did graduate four starters, including defensemen Will Swindell (50 ground balls and 20 caused turnovers) and Stephen Loudon (25 GB, 16 CT), the program does welcome back its entire attack of junior Dylan Molloy (62 goals and 30 assists) and seniors Henry Blynn (38 G, 14 A) and Kylor Bellistri (35 G, 7 A).
Team on the rise: After earning the league’s regular-season title in 2014, Harvard slipped back to the pack, mustering a 7-7 overall record and a 2-4 conference mark. The starting attack of seniors Devin Dwyer (20 G, 29 A), Deke Burns (26 G, 2 A) and Will Walker (18 G, 5 A) is back for a third consecutive year, and sophomore Joe Lang (21 G, 7 A) will lead the midfield. The question is whether senior goalkeeper Bryan Moore (11.48 goals-against average and .541 save percentage) and the rest of the defense can limit opportunities for opponents.
Team on the decline: Cornell has claimed
failed to claim at least a share of the regular-season crown in 12 of for only the second time in the past 13 years, but the climb back to the top appears steeper than usual and might get shut out again this spring. Graduation took a toll on the Big Red, who bade farewell to six starters including their top four scorers and a pair of defensemen. Senior midfielder John Edmonds (21 G, 9 A), junior defenseman Marshall Peters (58 GB, 23 CT) and junior faceoff specialist Domenic Massimilian (65.4 percent and 150 GB) are back, but can they offset the losses on offense and defense?
Prime-time player: Only a third-team All-American choice last year, Molloy might find himself in the conversation for Tewaaraton Award finalist. His 62 goals set a school record at Brown and were tied for the second-most in Division I. His 92 points ranked third in the nation, and he ranks 21st on the school’s all-time list in points with 131. Molloy went from being an honorable mention in the conference as a freshman to sharing Ivy League Player of the Year honors with Princeton attackman Mike MacDonald. Opposing defenses are bound to pay Molloy a lot of attention this spring.
Underrated player: Larken Kemp was regarded in some circles last season as the best long-stick midfielder in the country, but he earned only second-team All-American status behind North Carolina’s Ryan Kilpatrick. The junior’s candidacy should be much stronger this spring. Kemp led Brown in caused turnovers with 33 and ranked third in ground balls with 77. But he was a spark plug in the transition game, recording nine goals and six assists. Thriving in the Bears’ up-tempo system, Kemp should find plenty of chances for fast breaks once again.