April 9, 2012

Matt's Monday Midfielder: Sizing Up Division I Men's Lacrosse

by Matt Forman | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

Navy backup goaltender Nolan Hickey is among the tallest Division I men's players, listed at 6-foot-7. The smallest, by listed height, is 5-foot-4 Marist defenseman Zach Badalucco, showing lacrosse players come in all shapes and sizes.
© Gray Quetti

A month ago, The Monday Midfielder asked you to close your eyes and crystal-ball gaze. Today, we ask you to shut your eyelids and draw an image of a lacrosse player. Paint a picture in your mind.

We'll give you a moment. We're not stalling.

What did you come up with? A specific person — Steele Stanwick, Mark Matthews or Rob Pannell? Or the general skeleton of a body?

For the purposes of this column, let's concentrate on this: How tall did you make the player? How muscular?

Using publically available data on team websites, The Monday Midfielder gathered height and weight information for every NCAA Division I men's lacrosse player.

So what do the stats say? A lot.

Maybe most notable: From 6-foot-5, 285-pound Duke goalie Christopher Shannon to 5-foot-5, 133-pound Towson attackman Max Siskind, lacrosse players come in all shapes and sizes. No one is too big, or too small, to play lacrosse.

Four players tower over everyone else, standing 6-foot-7, while eight more are 6-foot-6. Only one player, Marist's Zach Badalucco, is 5-foot-4, while seven others are 5-foot-5.

Tallest Players Shortest Players
Ben Young, Albany, So., D (79 inches) Zach Badalucco, Marist, Sr., D (64 inches)
Sean Wright, Providence, So., A (79)
Max Siskind, Towson, Fr., A (65)
Alex Beatty, Princeton, Fr., D (79)
Alex Carros, Army, So., A (65)
Nolan Hickey, Navy, Jr., G (79)
Matt Bellando, Stony Brook, So., A (65)

Mike Francia, Villanova, Fr., A (65)
  Kevin Alexander, Mercer, Fr., D (65)
  Matt Morrison, Navy, So., M (65)
  Jake Thompson, Cornell, Jr., A (65)

Shannon, who also spent time as a reserve offensive tackle and long snapper on Duke's football team, tipped the scales as the heaviest player. He's also likely one of the strongest. Others weighed in anywhere from 260 to 133 pounds (like Siskind).

Heaviest Players Lightest Players
Christopher Shannon, Duke, Sr., G (285 pounds) Max Siskind, Towson, Fr., A (133)
Rich Akapnitis, Manhattan, So. G (260) Matt Thistle, Manhattan, Fr., A (135)
Forest Sonnenfeldt, Princeton, Jr., A (250) Alex Carros, Army, So., A (138)
Ethan Kibrick, Bryant, Fr., G (250)

How do teams and conferences compare to one another? What about players by position? Glad you asked.

Tallest Teams Shortest Teams
Lehigh: 72.9 inches Wagner: 71.0 inches
Duke: 72.8 Hobart: 71.1
North Carolina: 72.5 Michigan: 71.1
  St. John's: 71.1
  Marist: 71.1

Heaviest Teams Lightest Teams
Lehigh: 198.0 pounds Holy Cross: 179.3 pounds
Duke: 194.6 Marist: 176.5
Johns Hopkins: 194.1 Mercer: 173.3

Average Height, Weight, By Conference By Position
ACC: 72.4 inches, 189.9 pounds Attack: 71.2 inches, 180.3 pounds
America East: 71.7, 185.1 Defense: 72.9, 194.7
Big East: 71.8, 185.3 Goalie: 71.3, 181.8
CAA: 71.8, 182.6 Midfield: 71.5, 183.4

ECAC: 71.8, 183.6

Independent: 71.9, 185.2

Ivy: 71.8, 184.5  
MAAC: 71.5, 183.5

NEC: 71.6, 186.6

Patriot: 71.9, 186.7

What about the best players in the country? Tewaaraton Award Candidates: 71.7 inches, 189.4 pounds.

Anecdotally, The Monday Midfielder has heard that lacrosse players are getting bigger, faster and stronger. Some have said that, with the sport's growth, lacrosse has attracted better athletes than ever before. Athleticism is hard to gauge off a number, but size isn't.

The average Division I men's lacrosse player stands 71.8 inches tall (just under 6-foot) and weighs 185.3 pounds.

How does this compare over time? With the help of US Lacrosse archivist extraordinaire Joe Finn, The Monday Midfielder pulled rosters from the national championship winning teams from 10, 20, 30 and 40 years ago.

Average Height, Weight of National Champions of Decades Past:
2002 Syracuse: 72.6 inches, 192.1 pounds
1992 Princeton: 71.5 inches, 178.8 pounds
1982 North Carolina: 71.1 inches, 177.0 pounds
1972 Virginia: 71.1 inches, 171.5 pounds





Lacrosse players have gotten about a half-inch taller and 15 pounds heavier, which isn't too far off the growth of the average adult male over the same time period. (We're assuming, of course, that athletes have overstated their height and weight by similar margins over time.)

Make of these findings what you will, but know that lacrosse players are tall and short, heavy and light.

Now, back to your drawing... if you pictured Steele Stanwick as having the prototypical lacrosse player's frame, you weren't far off. The 6-foot, 190-pound Stanwick is a quarter-inch taller and five pounds heavier than average. His skills on the field, though, are anything but.

The 10 Spot Countdown: Stats to Stew

Haven't digested enough numbers? Here are a few more...

10 – One-goal games played in Division I men's lacrosse this weekend, including five that went to overtime. Proponents of parity, take note. No team is safe, and there's no such thing as an easy win.

9 – Saves made by freshman goalie Bobby Wardwell, making his first career start, in Syracuse's 10-9 win over Princeton on Saturday. Coach John Desko admitted the decision to go with Wardwell was risky with the Orange having lost two straight and fighting for their postseason lives. But Wardwell, the acclaimed rookie, rose to the occasion. "They hit a couple pipes early, and some guys would maybe not get better as the game went on, and he got better as the game went on," Desko said. "He's very comfortable in tight. I think it showed his mental toughness today."

8 – Home victories for Duke in 2012, after Saturday's 10-9 close call against Marist, as the Blue Devils closed out the home portion of their schedule with a perfect record at Koskinen Stadium. All three of Duke's losses have come away from its friendly confines: Notre Dame, Maryland and Loyola. John Danowski is 58-6 in home games as Duke's head coach.

7 – Different goal-scorers for Massachusetts in its 14-3 win against Towson. Talk about balance. Junior Kyle Smith tickled the twine a game-high four times, while Colin Fleming (3), Will Manny (2) and Art Kell (2) all scored more than once for the Minutemen, which remained unbeaten and improved to a program-best 10-0 start. The Tigers, which should have been the Cardiac Cats in recent weeks for their late comebacks, held UMass close until halftime but were outscored 10-1 after intermission.

6 – Consecutive goals scored by Virginia in a 20-minute stretch during the second and third quarters of Saturday's 15-10 win over North Carolina, turning a 4-4 tie into a 10-4 lead. Steele Stanwick was his usual surgical self during that stretch, scoring two goals and dishing out a pair of assists. Even as the Tar Heels mounted a fourth-quarter rally, the Cavaliers' cushion built during that earlier stretch was the difference.

5 – Fourth-quarter saves made by Penn State's Austin Kaut to help the Nittany Lions hang onto a 10-9 defeat of Drexel. Penn State rode a 7-4 second-half rally and stellar pay by Kaut down the stretch to win its sixth game of the year. With wins over Notre Dame, Ohio State and Villanova that will stand the test of time, and losses to near-lock tournament teams North Carolina, Denver, UMass and Lehigh, the Nits have built a strong postseason resume.

4 – Regular-season weekends remaining before the start of the NCAA tournament, with first-round games scheduled for May 12-13. Can you feel it?

3 – Teams tied atop the Patriot League standings with a 3-1 record after Colgate snapped Lehigh's nine-game winning streak and Bucknell's eight-game streak ended against Army in double overtime. The Bison will play Lehigh April 14 and Colgate April 20 with a chance to take the conference crown. How the selection committee handles the Patriot League come Selection Sunday could be interesting.

2 – Combined goals scored by Loyola's Eric Lusby and Mike Sawyer in the Greyhounds' 8-6 defeat of Fairfield, a season-low for the dynamic left-righty duo from Evergreen. Lusby was held scoreless on six shots Saturday, and Sawyer found the back of the net twice in what was only the second time all year Loyola has been held under double-digit goals. But as coach Charley Toomey said: "That's who this team is. ... Somebody is going to get this team going and then we're all going to rally."

1 – Goal allowed by Notre Dame's vaunted defense against Providence in Saturday's 9-1 victory, the fewest the Fighting Irish have given up in a game this year. That's saying something, considering they've held opponents to five or fewer scores on five occasions. Notre Dame also did it without star senior captain Kevin Randall, who has been battling an undisclosed upper body injury. Junior goalie John Kemp made seven saves, and the Friars took only 18 shots.


Good day, and good lacrosse.

comments powered by Disqus

More Headlines