PROJECTED TOP SEEDS
Last season: 15-3, NCAA tournament quarterfinal
Coach: Scott Marr (18th season, 163-111)
Top returning scorer: Connor Fields, senior attackman (55 goals, 62 assists)
Other key returnees: TD Ierlan, sophomore faceoff specialist (70.8 percent on 323 of 456, 202 ground balls, 4 G, 6 A); Kyle McClancy, senior midfielder (29 G, 13 A); Justin Reh, senior A (39 G, 19 A)
Key newcomers: Alex Burgmaster, freshman M; Tehoka Nanticoke, freshman A; Peter Schwab, freshman M
Outlook: After toiling as a solid midtier contender, the Great Danes are ready to take center stage among the bluebloods. In some circles, Fields is the preseason favorite to win the Tewaaraton Award, college lacrosse’s version of the Heisman Trophy. Redshirt senior goalkeeper J.D. Colarusso (9.37 goals-against average, .536 save percentage) anchors an underrated defense.
Last season: 13-4, NCAA tournament semifinal
Coach: Bill Tierney (ninth season, 109-32; 34th season overall, 381-125)
Top returning scorer: Ethan Walker, sophomore A (40 G, 32 A)
Other key returnees: Trevor Baptiste, senior F/O (74.4 percent on 297 of 399, 178 GB, 12 G, 2 A); Austin French, junior A (28 G, 19 A); Dylan Gaines, junior D (16 GB, 13 CT)
Key newcomers: Jack Hannah, freshman M; Ted Sullivan, freshman M; Drew Supinski, junior M (Johns Hopkins)
Outlook: Fresh from setting a freshman school record in points, Walker headlines an offense that ranked fifth in Division I in scoring last season at 13.5 goals per game. That unit will continue to get opportunities as long as Baptiste, a Tewaaraton Award finalist, continues to burnish his reputation as the game’s most prolific faceoff specialist.
Atlantic Coast Conference
Last season: 13-5, NCAA tournament quarterfinal
Coach: John Danowski (12th season, 164-51; 35th season overall, 383-190)
Top returning scorer: Justin Guterding, senior A (51 G, 46 A)
Other key returnees: Danny Fowler, graduate GK (8.81 GAA, .519 save percentage); Cade Van Raaphorst, junior D (40 GB, 19 CT, 1 G, 2 A); Brad Smith, junior M (20 G, 19 A)
Key newcomers: Nakeie Montgomery, freshman M; Joe Robertson, freshman A; Joseph Stein, freshman F/O
Outlook: The team’s success might hinge on the play of the defense because the offense is in the capable hands of Guterding and Smith. The return of Fowler for a graduate year is a huge benefit for a defense that graduated long-stick midfielder Ethan Powley (31 GB, 19 CT) and short-stick defensive midfielder Thomas Zenker (24 GB, 7 CT).
Last season: 10-6, NCAA tournament first round
Coach: Andy Shay (15th season, 121-82)
Top returning scorer: Ben Reeves, senior A (42 G, 37 A)
Other key returnees: Matt Gaudet, sophomore A (32 G, 5 A); Conor Mackie, senior F/O (60.3 percent on 246 of 408, 142 GB); Jackson Morrill, sophomore A (20 G, 19 A)
Key newcomers: Will Cabrera, freshman A; Chris Fake, freshman D; Brian Tevlin, freshman M
Outlook: The Bulldogs might have been considered a lock for the NCAA title game if not for the graduation of senior goalie Phil Huffard (9.89 GAA, .498 save percentage). But whoever starts in the net will have one of the deepest offenses in Division I in front of him, beginning with Reeves, a Tewaaraton Award finalist.
Last season: 8-7, NCAA tournament first round
Coach: Dave Pietramala (18th season, 185-76; 21st season overall, 208-93)
Top returning scorer: Shack Stanwick, senior A (26 G, 21 A)
Other key returnees: Kyle Marr, junior A (25 G, 20 A); Jack Rapine, sophomore D (29 GB, 17 CT); Joel Tinney, senior M (19 G, 9 A)
Key newcomers: Connor DeSimone, freshman M; Jack Keogh, freshman A; Jared Reinson, freshman D
Outlook: The Blue Jays’ defensive woes in 2017 could be put to rest if senior goalkeeper Brock Turnbaugh (12.59 GAA, .408 save percentage) can turn potential into production. Tinney is the lone known commodity in the midfield, but he, Stanwick and Marr should continue to fuel an offense that ranked 16th in Division I (11.6 goals per game).
Last season: 10-6, NCAA tournament first round
Coach: Charley Toomey (13th season, 121-60)
Top returning scorer: Pat Spencer, junior A (28 G, 55 A)
Other key returnees: Foster Huggins, senior D (36 GB, 17 CT); Alex McGovern, junior M (24 G, 20 A); Jacob Stover, junior GK (7.74 GAA, .547 save percentage)
Key newcomers: Kevin Lindley, freshman A; Aidan Olmstead, freshman A; Bailey Savio, freshman F/O
Outlook: Spencer, a finalist for last year’s Tewaaraton Award, leads what was the 11th-best offense in the country in 2017. Senior long-stick midfielder Zac Davliakos (38 GB, 15 CT, 2 G, 3 A) and senior short-stick defensive midfielders Jared Mintzlaff (17 GB, 15 CT, 6 G, 3 A) and Brian Begley (32 GB, 9 CT, 7 G, 1 A) form one of the best rope units in the country.
Last season: 16-3, NCAA champion
Coach: John Tillman (eighth season, 96-29; 10th season overall, 116-48)
Top returning scorer: Connor Kelly, senior M (46 G, 11 A)
Other key returnees: Dan Morris, senior GK (8.75 GAA, .548 save percentage); Tim Rotanz, senior M (33 G, 11 A); Bryce Young, senior D (38 GB, 13 CT, 2 G, 1 A)
Key newcomers: Bubba Fairman, freshman M; Colin Hinton, freshman D; Logan Wisnauskas, redshirt freshman A (Syracuse)
Outlook: Defending the 2017 national championship might be difficult without the prolific attack of Tewaaraton Award winner Matt Rambo, Colin Heacock and Dylan Maltz, but Kelly and Rotanz fuel a potent midfield. The defense should continue to be the team’s foundation thanks to Morris, Young and senior long-stick midfielder Matt Neufeldt (68 GB, 21 CT, 3 G, 2 A).
MOUNT ST. MARY’S
Last season: 4-10, missed NCAA tournament
Coach: Tom Gravante (24th season, 144-197)
Top returning scorer: Chris DiPretoro, junior A (29 G, 9 A)
Other key returnees: Daniel Barber, senior D (27 GB, 16 CT); Jack Mangan, junior M (13 G, 11 A, 49 GB, 9 CT); Matt Vierheller, senior GK (11.51 goals-against average, .486 save percentage)
Key newcomers: Luke Frankeny, freshman M; Bryan McIntosh, freshman D; Sam Stephan, freshman F/O
Outlook: The Mountaineers have holes to fill on offense and defense. DiPretoro and Mangan will carry much of the scoring load, but need help from others such as sophomore attackman Brenden McCarthy (9 G, 10 A). Sophomore Joshua Davies (8 GB, 4 CT) is poised to join Barber and redshirt senior Kevin Verkler (24 GB, 11 CT) as starting defensemen.
Last season: 6-8, missed NCAA tournament
Coach: Rick Sowell (seventh season, 39-44; 19th season overall, 125-125)
Top returning scorer: Greyson Torain, junior M (23 G, 15 A)
Other key returnees: Ryan Kern, sophomore GK (9.19 GAA, .508 save percentage); DJ Plumer, senior SSDM (21 GB, 12 CT, 2 G, 2 A); Ryan Wade, junior M (13 G, 25 A)
Key newcomers: Christian Daniel, freshman A; Jeff Durden, freshman LSM/D; Nick Franchuk, freshman D
Outlook: The offense appears to be the team’s strength, especially after the return of senior midfielder Casey Rees (34 G, 3 A in 2016) from a torn ACL. But graduation took a toll on the defense and faceoff unit, both of which were exposed in Sunday’s 12-7 loss at Jacksonville. The indefinite suspension of senior faceoff specialist Joe Varello is worrisome.
Colonial Athletic Association
Last season: 12-5, NCAA tournament semifinal
Coach: Shawn Nadelen (seventh season, 65-37)
Top returning scorer: Jon Mazza, junior M (16 G, 4 A)
Other key returnees: Sid Ewell, senior D (24 GB, 12 CT); Zach Goodrich, junior SSDM (47 GB, 19 CT, 7 G, 1 A); Alex Woodall, junior F/O (58.9 percent on 188 of 319, 94 GB)
Key newcomers: Nick Arvin, freshman D; Timmy Monahan, junior A/M; Andrew O’Dare, freshman SSDM
Outlook: The return of three starting defensemen is huge for the fourth-stingiest defense in Division I last season, but the unit needs a consistent effort from senior goalkeeper Josh Miller (7.92 GAA, .500 save percentage in eight starts). The only returning player who scored more than 10 points last year, Mazza will be the offense’s de facto leader.
America East Conference
Last season: 6-8, missed NCAA tournament
Coach: Ryan Moran (second season, 6-8)
Top returning scorer: Billy Nolan, junior M (18 G, 6 A)
Other key returnees: Jack Andrews, junior A (12 G, 11 A); Jason Brewster, junior D (24 GB, 16 CT); Billy O’Hara, senior LSM/D (51 GB, 18 CT, 1 G, 1 A)
Key newcomers: Nick Doyle, freshman D; Ben Keller, freshman A; Trevor Patschorke, freshman A
Outlook: The Retrievers welcome back eight of 10 starters, including their entire first midfield and starting close defense. But the biggest question is finding a goalkeeper to replace Ruston Souder (9.00 GAA, .496 save percentage), who graduated. Senior David Pisanic, a Boys’ Latin graduate who has not played in the past two seasons, is the leading candidate to start.