January 10, 2014

#LMRanks: MCLA DII Preseason Top 20 Breakdown

by Tim Haslam | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

(Cecil Copeland)

Can anyone catch St. Thomas? The Tommies and preseason MCLA DII Player of the Year Will Hershman enter having won five titles in the past six years. Challengers like St. Johns and Grove City hope so, along with the rest of our preseason Top 20.

Lacrosse Magazine will continue its 2014 college lacrosse preview throughout January and into February, with team-by-team breakdowns of the top teams in NCAA Division I, II and III, and NJCAA and club men's and women's lacrosse. Follow the countdown at LaxMagazine.com/LMranks and on Twitter at #LMranks.

1. St. Thomas (17-0) | National Champion

Will St. Thomas further the depth of their dynasty? Having the Lacrosse Magazine Preseason Player of wthe Year, Will Hersman, on the team will only increase their chances.

2. St. Johns (13-3) | Semifinalist

The Johnies are primed for another postseason run, but do they have what it takes to knock off St. Thomas? After only graduating five seniors, head coach Derek Daehn has to feel good about his chances.

3. Grove City (11-3) | Quarterfinalist

The Wolverines have most of their scoring coming back, including David Hall and Daniel Casselli, who both averaged 4.857 ppg in their freshman seasons last year. Look for goalie Chris Dymski to continue to be solid between the pipes.

4. North Dakota State (7-6) | First Round

First round losses in both the UMLC playoffs and the tournament will be more than enough motivation for the Bison. They also return all of their Top 10 scorers and both goalies.

5. Concordia (12-4) | First Round

The Eagles only losses last season were to St. Thomas, Westminster, D-I Utah and 12-9 heartbreaker to Grove City in the tournament. Look for Concordia to rely on All-American Destin Seguin to continue their success.

6. Grand Valley State (11-7) | Quarterfinalist

The Lakers will miss the services of attackman Jeremy Pouba, but senior Brenden Austin and Charlie Farmer will be great replacements and will led GVSU to a CCLA title before taking on the field at the national tournament.

7. Coast Guard (12-3) | Quarterfinalist

Senior Eric Schmid will lead the Bears in their final season in the MCLA before going NCAA D-III in 2015. There Bears will hope to get to the national tournament one last time in 2014.

8. Indiana Tech (9-7) | Quarterfinalist

An at-large bid and a solid first round win over Palm Beach Atlantic has the Warriors feeling like they are on the path to glory in 2014.

9. Western Oregon (11-5) | First Round

The Wolves are perhaps the team with the most heart in the MCLA and will once again look to make their mark while defending their PNCLL D-II title.

10. SCAD (8-8) | First Round

After securing an at-large bid in 2013, the Bees will hope to automatically qualify in 2014 by winning the SELC.

11. Elon (9-4)

Elon returns it's second, third and fourth goal getters from a great 2013 squad. The only question mark is in goal, where lack of experience could hurt the Phoenix.

12. Palm Beach Atlantic (10-3) | First Round

Senior Dominic Scalzo was in the Top 10 in points and goals in 2013, and will hope to lead the Salifish back to the national tournament, where it debuted last spring.

13. Cal State Fullerton (15-5)

The Titans narrowly missed out on the '13 national tournament and will be hungry to get to the 2014 event in their backyard. Senior goalie Trevor Wada will hope to build on his previous campaign, registering a 61.8 save percentage.

14. Florida Gulf Coast (8-3)

The first two MCLA seasons for FGCU were strong, with back-to-back 8-3 seasons and a near-miss to the tournament in '13. The Eagles will have their hands full from the get-go, opening the regular season with an conference showdown at SCAD.

15. Dayton (4-5)

The Flyers are coming off their only losing season since 2006. Can newly appointed head coach Joe Venturella lead Dayton back to its winning ways?

16. DePaul (9-3) | First Round

Freshmen Dario Rovito and Michael Vaughn led the team in points per game last year, leaving the Blue Demons in a good spot to pick up where they left off. Look for DePaul to win the GRLC and hopefully avoid St. Thomas in the first round again.

17. St. Andrews (10-4)

The Knights made their MCLA debut last year and they certainly left their mark. Look for the St. Andrews to avenge its loss to SCAD in last year's SELC playoffs and book a trip to Orange County.

18. Portland (13-3)

The graduation of All-American attackman Ian McAnnis-Entenman will be a huge void to fill, but the likes of juniors Riley Walsh and Kevin Bastien will hope to put the Pilots into the national tournament for the first time.

19. Briarcliffe (8-5) | First Round

The Bulldogs lost their two top scorers and their coach, but they return two seniors in Jonathan Trama and Anthony Lapuma, followed by four top-notch Sophomores in Adam Davis, James Williams, Isaiah Sager and JJ Vatore. Briarcliffe will look to knock off Coast Guard squad come playoff time.

20. Sam Houston State (15-3) | First Round

The Bearkats have gone undefeated in LSA play for the past four years. Then they go to the national tournament and lose in the first round every year. Will 2014 be the same story or will Sam Houston State finally break the curse?

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