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Premature men's lacrosse rankings for 2017, Part 2

Here is the second installment of a very premature attempt to compile preseason rankings for next year.

The top 20 will be broken up into four installments with Wednesday's post involving teams ranked from Nos. 15 to 11. Tuesday's post featured teams ranked from Nos. 20 to 16. Thursday will highlight Nos. 10 to 6 and Friday Nos. 5 to 1.

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Unless there are confirmed reports about certain players planning to use fifth years of eligibility, this space will assume that seniors in 2016 will not return next season. Unannounced fifth-year seniors and potential transfers will affect the rankings that come out next February, but here's a spin anyway.

15. Marquette (2016 record: 11-5; NCAA tournament finish: first round)

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Losses: Four starters including long-pole and Big East Defensive Player of the Year Liam Byrnes (60 ground balls and 33 caused turnovers) and defenseman B.J. Grill (29 GB, 15 CT).

Returns: Six starters including junior attackmen Ryan McNamara (40 goals and 17 assists) and Kyran Clarke (13 G, 6 A).

Reason for pessimism: In addition to Byrnes and Grill, a defense that tied for eighth in Division I at only 8.1 goals allowed per game graduated short-stick defensive midfielder and third-team All American Jacob Richard (63 GB, 11 CT) and long-stick midfielder Tyler Gilligan (21 GB, 7 CT).

Reason for optimism: The offense does return three of its top four scorers in McNamara, junior midfielder Andy DeMichiei (17 G, 9 A) and sophomore midfielder Tanner Thompson (19 G, 2 A).

14. Air Force (15-3; first round)

Losses: Four starters including midfielders Christopher Allen (31 G, 6 A) and Danny Brown (10 G, 5 A).

Returns: Six starters including the entire attack of sophomores Chris Walsch (35 G, 29 A) and Nick Hruby (27 G, 15 A) and freshman Cameron Carter (11 G, 10 A).

Reason for pessimism: A defense that finished the season ranked fourth at just 7.7 goals allowed per game must replace goalkeeper and Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year Doug Gouchoe (7.49 goals-against average and .547 save percentage) and top defenseman Alex Warden (35 GB, 25 CT).

Reason for optimism: All is not entirely lost on defense, which should welcome back defenseman and Southern Conference Freshman of the Year Brandon Jones (43 GB, 28 CT) and sophomore defenseman Sean LaVine (23 GB, 12 CT).

13. Rutgers (11-5; no tournament)

Losses: Three starters including attackman Scott Bieda (28 G, 38 A) and goalie Kris Alleyne (9.91 GAA, .517 save percentage).

Returns: Seven starters including the entire midfield of junior Christian Trasolini (16 G, 5 A), redshirt sophomore Christian Mazzone (8 G, 4 A) and sophomore Christian Scarpello (4 G, 8 A).

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Reason for pessimism: In addition to Alleyne, the defense bade farewell to starting defenseman Branford Rogers (21 GB, 12 CT) and long-stick midfielder and honorable-mention All American Zack Sikora (7 G, 3 A, 45 GB, 18 CT).

Reason for optimism: An offense that ranked ninth in scoring at 12.4 goals per game should be fueled again by attackmen Jules Heningburg (39 G, 21 A) and Adam Charalambides (43 G, 14 A).

12. Villanova (9-5; no tournament)

Losses: Three starters including defenseman John Moderski (63 GB, 22 CT) and goalkeeper Dan Willis (9.64 GAA, .493 save percentage).

Returns: Seven starters including the entire attack of juniors Jake Froccaro (40 G, 16 A) and Devin McNamara (30 G, 19 A) and sophomore Christian Cuccinello (22 G, 13 A).

Reason for pessimism: Despite ranking second in the country in scoring at 13.6 goals per game, the offense was stymied by Denver and Marquette for three of the team's five losses.

Reason for optimism: The defense could be buoyed by the return of redshirt senior defenseman Jordan Cunningham (27 GB, 12 CT in 2015) from an ACL injury and the play of freshman goalie Nick Testa (13.31 GAA, .429 save percentage in six starts).

11. Duke (11-8; first round)

Losses: Five starters including the entire midfield of Myles Jones (33 G, 37 A), Deemer Class (50 G, 13 A) and Chad Cohan (26 G, 14 A).

Returns: Five starters including junior defensemen Ethan Powley (36 GB, 21 CT) and Brian Dunne (20 GB, 6 CT) and junior goalkeeper Danny Fowler (9.97 GAA, .514 save percentage).

Reason for pessimism: With the additional graduation of attackman Case Matheis, the offense will lose at least 56.1 percent of its point production.

Reason for optimism: The offense could get multiple chances to prove itself thanks to junior faceoff specialist Kyle Rowe (63.9 percent on 244-for-382, 153 GB, 3 G, 1 A).

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