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Premature men’s lacrosse rankings for 2019, Part 1

The Yale men’s lacrosse team made its first trip to the NCAA Division I tournament final count, defeating Duke, 13-11, on Monday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. While the Bulldogs collected their first national championship since 1883 when they were “awarded” the title that year, the setback prevented the Blue Devils from capturing their fourth crown since 2010.

So without further ado, here is a very premature attempt to compile preseason rankings for next season.

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

Unless there are confirmed reports about certain players planning to use fifth years of eligibility, this space will assume that seniors in 2018 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.

20. Delaware

(2018 record: 6-8; NCAA tournament finish: no tournament)

Losses: Two starters in midfielders Will Hirschmann (27 G, 15 A) and Dean DiSimone (24 G, 12 A).

Returns: Eight starters, including the entire attack of sophomores Charlie Kitchen (37 G, 14 A) and Bryce Reid (20 G, 4 A) and junior Joe Eisele (21 G, 2 A).

Reason for pessimism: Junior faceoff specialist Jake Hervada (46.7 percent on 98 of 210, 49 ground balls) is expected to be back, but the team would be wise to find ways to improve on its 45.3 percent success rate on draws.

Reason for optimism: All three starting defensemen in Austin Haynes (35 GB, 26 CT), freshman Liam Duff (21 GB, 9 CT) and sophomore Zach Strassner (16 GB, 4 CT) and sophomore goalkeeper Matt DeLuca (10.23 GAA, .531 save percentage) will get another year together to try to lower the defense’s 10.5 goals-per-game average.

19. Rutgers

(9-6; no tournament)

Losses: Five starters, including defensemen Michael Rexrode (25 ground balls and 10 caused turnovers) and Alex Bronzo (19 GB, 8 CT) and goalkeeper Max Edelmann (9.52 goals-against average and .505 save percentage).

Returns: Five starters, including four of the offense’s top six scorers in sophomore attackman Kieran Mullins (31 goals and 17 assists), redshirt junior midfielder Casey Rose (21 G, 7 A), freshman attackman Tommy Coyne (16 G, 8 A) and freshman midfielder Ryan Gallagher (6 G, 13 A).

Reason for pessimism: The defense was further depleted by the departure of three of the top four short-stick defensive midfielders in Christian Scarpello (29 GB, 7 CT), Austin Divitcos (7 GB, 5 CT) and Chad Toliver (6 GB, 3 CT).

Reason for optimism: The offense might be able to overcome the graduation of attackman Jules Heningburg (37 G, 35 A) if redshirt sophomore attackman Adam Charalambides can return from a two-year absence necessitated by back-to-back ACL injuries.

18. Albany

(16-3; semifinals)

Losses: Five starters, including attackmen Connor Fields (34 G, 52 A) and Justin Reh (21 G, 19 A) and midfielder Kyle McClancy (29 G, 19 A).

Returns: Five starters, including a pair of midfielders in sophomore Jakob Patterson (42 G, 7 A) and junior Sean Eccles (33 G, 14 A) and freshman attackman Tehoka Nanticoke (50 G, 32 A).

Reason for pessimism: A defense that surrendered only 8.6 goals per game will have to make up for the losses of goalkeeper JD Colarusso (8.24 GAA, .556 save percentage), top defenseman Stone Sims (13 GB, 18 CT) and top long-stick midfielder Troy Reh (45 GB, 17 CT, 11 G).

Reason for optimism: The return of sophomore faceoff specialist TD Ierlan (NCAA single-season records with 359 faceoff wins and 254 ground balls) could alleviate some of the pressure on the defense and aid the offense.

17. Princeton

(8-5; no tournament)

Losses: Four starters, including defenseman Daniel Winschuh (6 GB, 7 CT) and goalie Tyler Blaisdell (11.53 GAA, .530 save percentage).

Returns: Six starters, including three 30-point scorers in sophomore attackman Michael Sowers (27 G, 56 A), freshman midfielder Chris Brown (23 G, 15 A) and sophomore attackman Phillip Robertson (33 G, 3 A).

Reason for pessimism: The graduation of faceoff specialist Sam Bonafede (51.4 percent on 126-of-245 and 64 GB) is a hole to fill.

Reason for optimism: As long as Sowers is playing his usual quarterback role, an offense that averaged 13.6 goals should still remain dangerous.

16. Georgetown

(12-5; first round)

Losses: Three starters in midfielder Craig Berge (23 G, 24 A), defenseman Connor Moran (16 GB, 10 CT) and goalie Nick Marrocco (7.95 GAA, .545 save percentage).

Returns: Seven starters, including the entire attack of sophomore Jake Carraway (44 G, 20 A), junior Daniel Bucaro (34 G, 21 A) and junior Austin McDonald (11 G, 4 A).

Reason for pessimism: The graduation of short-stick defensive midfielders Ryan Hursey (13 GB, 6 CT) and Greg Galligan (21 GB, 22 CT) and long-stick midfielder Kieran Jenkins (29 GB, 15 CT) further depletes a defense that allowed 8.1 goals per game.

Reason for optimism: If senior faceoff specialist Peter Tagliaferri (54.1 percent on 157 of 290, 70 GB, 1 G, 4 A) can gain another year of eligibility after sitting out the 2015 season because of injury, that would be a boost on both sides of the ball.

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