December 30, 2010

The All-Coyne Team: MCLA Division I

by Jac Coyne | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff | Coyne Archive | Twitter

Michigan pole Harry Freid will anchor the All-Coyne defensive unit. Fortunately for Freid, one of his traditional antagonists - Michigan State attackman Patrick Nemes - will be on the same squad.
© Marc Piscotty

The concept of the All-Coyne team is simple.

I choose my team – comprised of three attackmen, three middies, a face-off specialist, an LSM, three close defenders, and a goalie – and give you, the reader, the rest of the players in the country to form a unit that could beat mine in a 15-minute game.

Admittedly, it's a false competition because you can't beat mine. My team is perfectly blended to make it invincible, even though there are a couple of combinations that might be able to stay close...for three or four minutes.

Here's why you can't beat my 2011 MCLA-I All-Coyne squad:

Let's start up front. I've got the premier crease attackman in Michigan's Trevor Yealy (78 goals last year), who is a guy who can turn a mistake into a goal better than anyone in the league. Add Colorado State's Cooper Kehoe. Kehoe not only gives me another capable scorer (46g), but he has the ability to set up Yealy (Kehoe had 40 dimes last spring). So right off the bat I've got a one-two combo that is going to give nightmares to any opponent's slide package.

As such, I've opted to forgo the addition of a jitterbugging dodger like Colorado's James Blackburn and tabbed Michigan State's Patrick Nemes. He might be a surprise pick, but the junior can finish – which is really all I'm looking for out of my third attackman. What cemented the pick was Nemes' ability (30 goals) to get his markers despite being the No. 1 focus of every team he played. He even owned archrival Michigan, racking up four goals and four assists in a pair of games last spring.

With most of the attention being paid to Kehoe and Yealy, Nemes will have acres of space to get off his shot. I'll also have the ability to move Nemes (18 assists) behind the cage and have him quarterback the offense if need be, which will kill you as you try to find a defensive scheme.

The key person to my entire team lurks in the midfield. If your defense wasn't uncomfortable enough with my attack unit, standing at the top of the box is Arizona State's Ryan Westfall (55g, 37a) with your sweating LSM trying to face-guard him. But with a quick screen, Westfall is free and the ball is in his stick as he angles his way to the net. All of your defensive hopes and dreams have been dashed and even if you're entire defense doesn't act like a pack of Fainting Goats, a goal is imminent.

Meanwhile, while your two D-middies are trying to figure out which slide makes the most sense, I have BYU's Andrew Harding (23g, 17a) and Minnesota-Duluth's Brandon Nispel (27g, 20a) waiting to pitch in. With his proficiency with both hands, I'll have Harding floating to open areas waiting for a secondary feed from Kehoe or Westfall. Nispel, who played in the shadow of Dan Pitzl last year, will be perfect as secondary assist man on the wing.

I've snatched the best face-off man in Colorado State senior Scott Gelston, who was running at a 65.8 percent clip last season and has been impressive this fall. On the far wing on face-offs will be Chapman's junior LSM Matt Walrath. Walrath gives me a steady defensive presence, and can also take a face-off – as he demonstrated with aplomb in last year's semifinals – if I need him. On the near wing will be Westfall, whose defensive abilities get overlooked with his transition and offensive prowess.

My defense is very similar to last year's, with Michigan's Harry Fried and Chapman's Andrew Salcido providing a physical, yet smart, approach to the defensive end. Joining them this year will be Florida State's Jack Mata, an All-SELC pick who gives the Seminoles a steady presence in the back. The way my face-off unit and attack is crafted, I don't need take-away guys, just steady players who can wait you out.

With my MD3 and MCLA-II teams, I had the luxury of plugging in a goalie that was perfectly suited for my personnel, but in the MCLA senior circuit there are a lot of combinations out there that could give me trouble from time to time. Thus, I'm just going with the best guy: Oregon's Nick Johnston. He has the physical tools as well as the experience I'm looking for. I might not get the shutout, but in a 15-minute contest any opponent will be lucky to stay within five goals.

So there it is: the unbeatable MCLA Division I All-Coyne team.

A – Cooper Kehoe – Sr., Colorado State
A – Patrick Nemes – Jr., Michigan State
A – Trevor Yealy – Sr., Michigan
M – Andrew Harding – Jr., Brigham Young
M – Brandon Nispel – Sr., Minnesota-Duluth
M – Ryan Westfall – Sr., Arizona State
FO – Scott Gelston – Sr., Colorado State
LSM – Matt Walrath – Jr., Chapman
D – Harry Freid – Sr., Michigan
D – Jack Mata – Sr., Florida State
D – Andrew Salcido – Sr., Chapman
G – Nick Johnston – Sr., Oregon

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