Part three: 2009 preseason poll
Here is the third version of the top teams in 2009. On Tuesday, I went through teams ranked Nos. 20 to 16 and on Wednesday, teams ranked Nos. 15 to 11. The following are the teams I feel deserve to be ranked from Nos. 10 to 6. Now that could change as incoming freshmen and transfers are confirmed, but I’m going with what is known now. Check back in on Friday for the top five teams.
10. Colgate (2007 record: 11-6; Tournament finish: first round)
Losses: The biggest gap will be felt on the defensive end of the field where starters E.J. Atamian and Tyler Philpot take leave from a unit that surrendered just 8.8 goals per game this past season.
Returners: An offense that ranked 19th in the country with 9.8 goals a contest welcomes back three starters in midfielder Brandon Corp and attackmen Kevin Colleluori and Zack Craumer and a key backup in midfielder Ian Murphy, who scored 24 goals.
Reason for pessimism: Two priorities for coach Jim Nagle: finding a "quarterback" to replace attackman Matt Lalli and a faceoff specialist to succeed Chris Eck, who ranked fifth in the nation in faceoff percentage.
Reason for optimism: After capturing their first Patriot League crown and nearly knocking off Notre Dame in overtime in the first round, the Raiders have momentum on their side.
9. Ohio State (11-6; quarterfinals)
Losses: The Buckeyes bid farewell to just two starters, but those two -- midfielder Kevin Buchanan (Calvert Hall) and goalkeeper Stefan Schroder -- were instrumental in the program’s resurgence.
Returners: The roster is littered with starters in attackmen Joel Dalgarno and Jeff Ryan and midfielders Peet Poillon and James Green and an emerging attackman in Mario Ventiquattro.
Reason for pessimism: The starting goalie job appears to be Brandon Freeman’s to lose. The sophomore turned in a 10.56 goals-against average in eight games this past season.Reason for optimism: Freeman may at least get to lean on an experienced defense in starters Scott Matthews (Boys’ Latin), Scott Foreman (Calvert Hall) and Keith Lovett.
8. UMBC (12-4; first round)
Losses: Only four seniors, but the Retrievers will miss starting midfielder Terry Kimener and faceoff specialist Taylor Marino. Even with the departure of Kimener, scoring should not be hard to come by.Returners: Starting attackmen Ryan Smith (Fallston), Matt Latham (Liberty) and Chris Jones and midfielders Kyle Wimer and Maxx Davis (Friends) should anchor an offense that averaged 10 goals a contest.
Reason for pessimism: Who will replace Kimener, who was selected eighth overall by the Chicago Machine in the Major Lacrosse League draft, as the team’s emotional leader?Reason for optimism: The defense could be even better than the offense. Goalkeeper Jeremy Blevins (Calvert Hall) and defensemen Bobby Atwell (Southern-AA), Kevin Goedeke (Fallston) and Matt Kresse return to their starting roles from this past season.
7. Duke (18-2; semifinals)Losses: Much about this team is up in the air, especially about whether attackman Zach Greer and midfielder Brad Ross return for their fifth years. Assuming that they do not, the Blue Devils must also say good-bye to four fifth-year starters in attackman Matt Danowski, long-stick midfielder Nick O’Hara, defenseman Tony McDevitt and goalie Dan Loftus.
Returners: Attackman Max Quinzani would be back as the NCAA’s leading producer in goals, and he would be joined by midfielders Ned Crotty, Steve Schoeffel and Mike Catalino. Also, faceoff specialist Sam Payton, ranked seventh in the nation in faceoff percentage, is back.
Reason for pessimism: If Rob Schroeder also elects not to return for a fifth year, the most experienced goalkeeper would be Devon Sherwood, who played 40 minutes this past season.Reason for optimism: Whoever is in the net can take some solace in starting defensemen Parker McKee and Mike Manley.
6. Johns Hopkins (11-6; finals)
Losses: The Blue Jays face holes on the attack (Kevin Huntley of Calvert Hall and Michael Doneger), midfield (Paul Rabil and Stephen Peyser) and defense (Eric Zerrlaut of St. Mary’s and Matt Bocklet).
Returners: Starting attackman Steven Boyle and midfielder Mark Bryan will lead a retooled offense, while defenseman Michael Evans (South River) and goalie Michael Gvozden (Severna Park) will team with key contributors Sam DeVore and Matt Drenan to lay the foundation for what could be a solid defense.
Reason for pessimism: Rabil, Huntley, Peyser, Doneger, Bocklet and defensive midfielder George Castle accounted for 62 percent and 42.4 percent of this season’s goals and assists, respectively.
Reason for optimism: Who better to motivate the Blue Jays into an us-versus-the-world theme than coach Dave Pietramala?