March 18, 2013

Washburn: Revealing My Top 10 Media Poll Votes; Tewaaraton Watch

by Evan Washburn |

Four of Notre Dame's five games have been decided by one goal, with three in overtime. The Irish check in at No. 3 in Evan Washburn's rankings.
© Marc Piscotty

Each Sunday night I put together my Top 20 for the national media poll. It's a process I take very seriously and, at times, agonize over. In an exercise to hopefully generate some feedback, I'm posting for the first time my Top 10 teams.

My ranking system includes three factors that I attempt to weigh equally.

  • The eye test: How good does a team look when I break down the tape.
  • Record: Simply put, wins and losses are very telling.
  • Strength of schedule: Quality of opponents is something that holds a lot of weight in my book.

1. Maryland (6-0)

The Terps were tested Saturday night at Villanova, but found a way to grind out a 10-7 win.

Maryland has no visible flaws.

The offense is dangerously balanced, with five players with double-digit point totals. The defense is holding opponents under seven goals per game, thanks in large part to junior goalie Niko Amato, who is playing at goalie of the year level.

This team's two toughest games come in the next two weeks against North Carolina and Virginia.

Who's next: North Carolina

2. Cornell (6-0)

The Ivy League is the deepest conference in the nation and the Big Red is its best team. Three of Cornell's six wins have come against ranked opponents and much like Maryland, balance has been their calling card.

Offensive chemistry jumps off the screen, with Rob Pannell playing conductor. Senior attackman Steve Mock could not be happier to see Pannell back in the lineup. The finisher has 20 goals through six games nearly matching his total of 23 goals in 2012.

Who's next: Penn

3. Notre Dame (4-1)

The cardiac kids of South Bend won another one-goal game in overtime, this time against No. 5 Denver at Invesco Field in the Mile High City. The Irish have played five games — four have been decided by one goal and three have gone to overtime.

Finding ways to win is a skill not learned but earned and with each "W" comes more confidence.

The offense has a number of weapons that share the spotlight. The Irish's top three scorers all have 14 points. Only one player, junior Jim Marlatt, has taken more than 30 shots.

This team is extremely efficient and disciplined and while they don't wow me with the eye test, their results speak for themselves.

Who's next: Ohio State

4. Syracuse (4-1)

Watching this team play Saturday afternoon against Johns Hopkins was a real pleasure.

If you want an example of a team that passes my eye test, the Orange is it. There are great athletes all over the field that possess speed and skill, but this year, more than ever, they have an understanding of their roles.

The Orange first midfield of JoJo Marasco, Scott Loy and Luke Cometti is the only midfield line in the country that rivals Maryland's lethal crew of John Haus, Mike Chanenchuk and Jake Bernhardt.

The one question that remains is goaltending. Starter Bobby Wardwell was pulled after the first half of Saturday's win over Hopkins for Dominic Lamolinara, who looked very strong in his first action of the season.

Who's next: Providence

Denver attackman Eric Law is playing at a Tewaaraton Award level through the early part of 2013.
© Marc Piscotty

5. Denver (5-2)

This was my toughest ranking to slot.

My heart wants to put Penn (5-1) in this spot, but the reality is that Denver beat Penn 15-12 in the Mile High City on March 2. That can't be ignored.

The Pioneers fell to Notre Dame Saturday in overtime, but still are a top five team based off an offense that, when in sync, is as tough to defend as any in the nation.

Eric Law is playing at a player of the year level alongside weapons like Cameron Flint, Wes Berg, Jeremy Noble, Gordie Koerber and a finally healthy Chase Carraro.

My biggest question continues to be defense. Against the Irish, coach Bill Tierney employed a zone defense for most of the game. It was effective at times, but it is just a band-aid over a gapping wound.

Who's Next: Air Force

No. 6 thru No. 10 in order: Penn (5-1), Ohio State (5-1), Hofstra (5-1), Duke (5-4), Loyola (5-2).

Stock Up, Stock Down

Last week I gave you my top Tewaaraton candidates and this past week the group did not let me down.

Rob Pannell – Cornell Sr. Attack, Stock Up

Had two goals and three assists, all to Steve Mock, in a 12-10 win over Yale. The Big Red continues to roll thanks to Pannell's quarterbacking.

Tommy Schreiber – Princeton Jr. Midfield, Neutral

Schreiber was the best player on the field in Princeton's 11-10 loss to Penn, unfortunately it wasn't enough. The midfielder had three goals and two assists in the game.

Lyle Thompson – Albany, Soph. Attack, Stock Up

The converted midfielder had a big day in Albany's 17-15 win over Bryant, with five assists and three goals. Thompson's performance in his next four games will be vital to his place on this list. The Danes play Bucknell, Harvard, Binghamton and Johns Hopkins in the next two weeks.

Jesse Bernhardt – Maryland Sr. Long-Stick Midfield, Neutral

Just another day at the office for Bernhardt in the Terps' 10-7 win against Villanova. The long pole had one assist and four ground balls. His stock remains neutral because he wasn't the best player on the defensive end. That honor goes to goaltender Niko Amato, who had 11 saves and kept the Wildcats at bay, when they were making a run.

Eric Law – Denver Sr. Attack, Stock Up

Despite a 13-12 overtime loss to Notre Dame, Law showed me he not only deserves to be on this list, but could be higher. Law had four goals, on five shots, and two assists in the loss.

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