xml:space="preserve">

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 featured teams ranked from Nos. 20 to 16. Thursday will highlight Nos. 10 to 6 and Friday Nos. 5 to 1.

Advertisement

Unless there are confirmed reports about certain players planning to use fifth years of eligibility, this space will assume that seniors in 2015 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. Yale (2015 record: 11-5; NCAA tournament finish: first round)

Losses: Four starters including offensive quarterback Conrad Oberbeck (39 G, 23 A) and goalkeeper Eric Natale (8.13 GAA, .504 save percentage).

Returns: Six starters including three 20-goal scorers in sophomore attackman Jeff Cimbalista (30 G, 5 A), freshman attackman Ben Reeves (25 G, 18 A) and sophomore midfielder Eric Scott (22 G, 6 A).

Reason for pessimism: In addition to Natale and starting defenseman Alirio DeMeireles (6 GB, 4 CT), the defense also bade farewell to its top two short-stick defensive midfielders in James Tjarksen (29 GB, 9 CT) and Harry Kucharczyk (20 GB, 5 CT).

Reason for optimism: With 43 points, Reeves -- the Ivy League Rookie of the Year -- passed the program's previous freshman record of 39 points shared by Mike Devlin (1979) and Brendan Gibson (2007).

14. Georgetown (10-6; no tournament)

Losses: Three starters in attackmen Bo Stafford (34 goals and 26 assists) and Reilly O'Connor (22 G, 24 A) and midfielder Joe Bucci (12 G, 1 A).

Returns: Seven starters including all three close defensemen in sophomores Michael Mayer (30 ground balls and 15 caused turnovers), Chris Pauzer (11 Gb, 9 CT) and Ed Blatz Jr. (12 GB, 6 CT).

Reason for pessimism: Not only must the offense replace its top two scorers, but the unit might get fewer chances after the graduation of faceoff specialists Gabriel Mendola (47.6 percent on 127-of-267 and 75 GB) and Anthony Heaton (45.4 percent on 59-of-130 and 38 GB).

Reason for optimism: Freshman Nick Marrocco (10.80 goals-against average and .549 save percentage) ranked third in Division I in saves per game (12.9).

13. Drexel (7-8; no tournament)

Losses: One starter in midfielder Ryan Belka (32 G, 20 A).

Returns: Nine starters including the entire attack of sophomores Cole Shafer (29 G, 9 A) and Robert Frazee (17 G, 5 A) and junior Chris Frederick (4 G, 5 A).

Advertisement

Reason for pessimism: The offense will miss faceoff specialist Nick Saputo, who graduated ranked 24th in the country in faceoff percentage (54.1 on 173-of-320) and tied for eighth in ground balls (112).

Reason for optimism: The defense should be fortified by the return of three close defensemen in junior Miles Thomas (37 GB, 22 CT), sophomore Jake Kiernan (24 GB, 15 CT) and freshman Michael Meurer (15 GB, 7 CT) and sophomore goalie Jimmy Joe Granito (8.35 GAA, .533 save percentage).

12. Towson (12-6; first round)

Losses: Four starters including the entire first midfield of Justin Mabus (13 G, 11 A), Andrew Hodgson (15 G, 4 A) and Greg Cuccinello (7 G, 4 A).

Returns: Six starters including the entire attack of sophomores Joe Seider (34 G, 7 A) and Ryan Drenner (17 G, 18 A) and junior Spencer Parks (16 G, 15 A).

Reason for pessimism: With the departure of Hodgson and Cuccinello whom coach Shawn Nadelen relied on to set up the offense, the Tigers must find a new facilitator to lead the unit.

Reason for optimism: A defense that ranked 6th in the nation in fewest goals per game allowed will be anchored again by redshirt junior goalkeeper Tyler White, who ranked fourth in goals-against average (7.57) and ninth in save percentage (.567).

11. Syracuse (13-3; quarterfinals)

Losses: Seven starters including the entire first midfield of Nicky Galasso (36 G, 9 A), Hakeem Lecky (17 G, 8 A) and Henry Schoonmaker (17 G, 4 A).

Returns: Three starters in redshirt junior attackman Dylan Donahue (50 G, 21 A), redshirt junior defenseman Brandon Mullins (16 GB, 14 CT) and junior defenseman Jay McDermott (19 GB, 4 CT).

Reason for pessimism: With attackmen Kevin Rice (36 G, 48 A) and Randy Staats (29 G, 24 A) also gone, there will be a lot of pressure on Donahue to help develop a youthful, inexperienced offense.

Reason for optimism: The Orange welcomes a recruiting class with four Under Armour All-Americans, which is the most by any Division I program.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement