December 14, 2009

All-DaSilva Team: NCAA Division II Men

by Matt DaSilva | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

All-Coyne Teams: MCLA I | MCLA II | WD3 | MD3
All-DaSilva Teams: WD2 | MD2

It’s that time of year. Preseason’s greetings!

Lacrosse Magazine
will release its preseason rankings in the January issue, but one of the things we don’t do is preseason All-Americans – we limit ourselves to Preseason Players of the Year, which, to be honest, is tough enough to deliberate and find a consensus.

(Look no further than LMO’s fan poll that ended Monday, the results of which will also be published in January.)

As an experiment, Jac Coyne and Matt DaSilva have developed their own preseason All-American teams – with a twist. We’re not looking for the best player at every position. Rather, we’re trying to construct the best team, blending styles and strengths. We want to devise a team that cannot be defeated in a 15-minute game with any combination of the remaining players in their division.

We’ll call them the All-Coyne and All-DaSilva teams, so as not to be confused with those other preseason All-Americans.

Think we’ve erred? Think you can do better? You can try to whip up a different combination of players at their designated positions (and post them in the comments section below) without using ours, but we promise, you won’t win.

Check back to LMO see our unbeatable squads from the MCLA ranks up through NCAA Division I men and women.


A - Jack Malone (Wheeling Jesuit)
A - John McClure (Dowling)
A - Kevin Gould (Bentley)
M - Albert Maione (Molloy)
M - Kevin Hennessy (NYIT)
M - Conrad Clevlen (NDNU)
FO - Mike Cama (C.W. Post)
LSM - Andrew Vossler (Rollins)
D - Joseph Biondolillo (Dowling)
D - Spencer Wims (Limestone)
D - Kyle Rubisch (Dowling)
G - Corey Spinale (Merrimack)

Why you can't beat me:

This proved to be the most challenging of the All-DaSilva teams to construct -- namely because many of the top players at their respective positions boast similar skill sets. Complementary parts were difficult to configure.

I designed this team with a singular purpose: transition. Recent history suggests that run-and-gun teams do the most damage in Division II. That means strong faceoff play (no-brainer with Cama), aggressive defense, swarming ground ball pursuit and the ability to handle/finish on the run -- none of this time-and-room nonsense.

A cursory glance at this squad might elicit a few knee-jerk reactions:

1. No Le Moyne players? Not even Drew Bezek, the reigning national defenseman of the year? What are you smoking, DaSilva?

This was by design. Nothing against the Dolphins, but Le Moyne's top players are classic "system guys." It's not that Bezek, attackman Jack Harmatuk or midfielder Matt Chadderdon -- all of whom were named preseason first-team All-Americans by Inside Lacrosse -- are not great players. But I don't have the same confidence in them playing outside Le Moyne's conservative systems. When has a Le Moyne grad made any noise in the pros or internationally?

2. Joseph Biondolillo on close defense? Um, he's a long-stick midfielder, dummy.

True, and a terrific one at that. He was the USILA's specialist of the year at the long-pole position, but I like Andrew Vossler. He's scrappier and racked up a ton of GBs for Rollins. Biondillo is a stronger defender who can get the ball on the ground and push the rock. He'll hold his own just fine down there on close ‘D.'

3. Who the heck is Conrad Clevlen?

The great thing about the All-DaSilva Team is I'm not bound by stats, geography or level of competition. I'm allowed intangibles. Clevlen's my guy. He's a two-way midfielder who can also spell Cama on faceoffs. But what really sold me was his leadership potential. How many lacrosse players do you know who are also student body presidents? And check out the flow on this kid. Notre Dame de Namur struggled to find willing opponents in 2009, but hung in tough games, including a one-goal loss to then-No. 6 Molloy. New coach Stephen Dini was able to land 14 dates in 2010, including 11 against Division II opponents.

Other observations:

- Jack Malone is my feeder on attack. I chose Malone over NYIT's Matt Sullivan and Dowling's Kyle O'Brien because he enjoyed the same kind of success with far fewer weapons as the quarterback of Wheeling Jesuit's offense. Imagine the jive he'll have with John McClure, a multi-dimensional finisher who has helped lead the Brampton Excelsiors to back-to-back Mann Cups in Canada. Rounding out the All-DaSilva attack is Kevin Gould, a role guy whose multi-sport background (soccer, golf, hockey) is evident in his field vision, off-ball abilities and nose for rebounds.

- Word out of Long Island was that Cama and Albert Maione got some healthy smack talk going when we ran our preseason player of the year fan poll. They even staged a one-on-one, simulated game in which Maione was forced to take faceoffs against Cama and Cama was forced to play defense against Maione. I like that kind of gamesmanship in my midfield. Also, I'm banking on Kevin Hennessy returning to form after an injury cut his 2009 season short. He was LM's '09 preseason player of the year. Does he still have ankle-breaking, game-breaking ability?

- In the design of an aggressive defense, Spencer Wims, an athletic specimen, and Kyle Rubisch, another Canadian, should flourish with the added support from Biondolillo. Corey Spinale is not one of those goalies who hides behind a conservative defense. He got peppered with shots last year and still ranked among national leaders in save percentage. He's the perfect backstop to this 'D.'

Not for nothing, but I'm liking Dowling a whole lot more in 2010 after this exercise.

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