By: Marisa Ingemi
With the men’s lacrosse schedule out there is a chance to analyze the Boston University Terriers. Like most other teams, the schedule is heavy with conference opponents and local teams. Duke looks to be the most high-profile game on the schedule, and this season the Blue Devils travel to Nickerson Field.
The Patriot League looks different than it has in recent years with several teams losing top talent. While teams like Navy and Holy Cross are upstart clubs who could contend for a few wins, the powers-that-be in the conference could look much different at the end of 2016. It will all come down to how teams like Loyola rebound and Colgate replaces its talent, but there is a window of opportunity for the Terriers to take advantage of.
Here’s a look at how BU stacks up against those teams.
vs Navy February 27th
Navy provides what might be the toughest test for the Terriers in-conference. After going 9-5 last season, the Midshipmen are the only team in the conference that can come close to matching BU’s faceoff game, Chris Fennell returns as the PL’s defensive player of the year and the entire starting attack unit. John Connors had a fantastic fall in the crease, shutting down powers such as Notre Dame and Syracuse, and should be projected to be the conference’s goalie of the year. With offensive studs such as Patrick Keena and Jack Ray returning, the Midshipmen have lost the least of veteran Patriot League clubs.
vs Colgate March 12th
Colgate rattled off six wins in a row last season to show its strength, but there are three major holes the Raiders might not be able to fill; Ryan Walsh, Matt Yeager, and Matt Clarkson. Colgate’s strength in 2015 was its offense, and losing both Walsh and Clarkson will have an impact on that. Peter Donato is the midfielder projected to replace Walsh’s presence in the lineup after scoring 25 points last season. Anthony Abbadessa, last year’s Patriot League Rookie of the Year, is also a player who should improve in 2016. The question for the Raiders is if those players can fill the void of Walsh and Clarkson.
at Bucknell March 19th
Bucknell lost its star in David Dickson, but going overlooked is how it graduated five of its starters. The Bison went 9-6 last season but it will be hard for them to replicate that success with not only the loss of Dickson but also their starting goaltender. BU defeated Bucknell last season in one of its three conference victories. Jarrett Witzel is a freshman to watch out for in the faceoff dot, and overall the Bison have one of the stronger freshmen classes in the conference. The Bison may make some noise in 2016 and it may surprise followers of NCAA lacrosse.
at Lafayette March 26th
The Leopards keep most of their players from 2015, a big advantage in a conference that might lack chemistry with all the losses. However, Lafayette was an abysmal 4-10 last season. The Leopards won back-to-back games late in the season, and even had a conference victory, but the Leopards are on track for another last place finish in the conference.
vs Lehigh April 2nd
Lehigh has lost as much as any NCAA team going into 2016. Dan Taylor and Patrick Corbett are gone on the offense while goaltender Matt Poillon was also drafted. The Mountain Hawks finished 2015 strong but it wasn’t quite enouh to earn an NCAA tournament bid. For the past few years, Lehigh has been one of the best representations of the conference (along with Lolyoa), but with so many losses it might be difficult to contend for the PL title. Taylor, drafted into both Major League Lacrosse and the National Lacrosse League, was the Patriot League’s Offensive Player of the Year. The ‘Hawks return just one of their top-five scorers, Reid Webber. Lehigh can’t be overlooked, but it certainly is not the same team to be feared as in years past.
vs Army April 9th
John Glesener is one of the most significant losses in all of college lacrosse. Army had an odd 2015, but finished the season a solid 10-7 overall. The Black Knights may have lost Glesener, and also starting goalie Sam Somers, but they also return much of their roster. Dan Grabher is one of the better faceoff men in the conference, something that needs to be looked at for every BU opponent. Army has always been able to produce stars; before Glesener it was Jeremy Boltus and Garrett Thul. Seven of the ‘Knights top ten scorers will return, but that still may not be able to reproduce the star power their lineups have been accustomed to. Glesener’s brother, sophomore Ted Glesener, could be on pace for a breakout season along with senior Connor Cook.
at Holy Cross April 22nd
Holy Cross should take a step forward in 2016. The Crusaders defeated BU last season, 12-10, and they pose a threat for certain again. Last year Holy Cross upset then-eighth ranked Loyola and they return some sneaky talent. Sean Kilpatrick is the player to watch out for on the Crusaders roster; all 6’6, 218 lbs of him. An attackman, he could become one of the most dangerous offensive threats in the conference if he could hone his rather raw skillset. The Crusaders are surprisingly strong in net between Will Hudson and Alex Haavik who impressed in pre season play.
at Loyola April 16th
Loyola is the mystery team in the Patriot League. Typically a powerhouse, the Greyhounds took a major step back in 2015 with their 7-8 record, mostly because of an 0-6 record in one goal games. That record is rather luck-oriented, therefore its hard to predict how Loyola will fare in 2016. Headlined by Zach Herreweyers, the Greyhounds still have plenty of talent and it would not be surprising to see them contend for the conference title. Romar Dennis seems on pace to step up as a leader the team has lacked since losing former championship members Eric Lusby and Mike Sawyer. Jeff Chase should have a full season after missing time with a knee injury last season, and if he stays healthy, Chase might be one of the most overlooked players in the conference.