Review & preview: Premature 2010 poll Part 3
Here is the third installment of a preseason and premature poll for the 2010 season, publishing the teams ranked from Nos. 10 to 6. Thursday will be the last entry, featuring the teams ranked from Nos. 5 to 1.
Unless there are confirmed reports about certain players planning to use fifth years of eligibility, this space will assume that seniors in 2009 will not be back next season. Unannounced fifth-year seniors and potential transfers will affect the rankings that come out next February, but here are the teams that I think will fall between Nos. 10 and 6.
10. Georgetown (2009 record: 7-7; Tournament finish: no tournament)
Losses: Two starters in defenseman Stevie Bauer (44 groundballs and 34 caused turnovers) and midfielder Todd Cochran and four reserves in midfielders Jake Semperton (11 goals and four assists) and Dan D’Agnes (10, 3) and face-off specialists Dan Vinson (38 gb’s, 55.8 win percentage) and Michael Shotwell (36 gb’s, 54.0 win percentage).
Returners: Eight starters including the team’s top four scorers in junior attackman Craig Dowd (10, 22), junior attackman Ricky Mirabito (23, 6), junior midfielder Scott Kocis (21, 8) and junior midfielder Andrew Brancaccio (22, 3).
Reason for pessimism: Despite returning junior defensemen Barney Ehrmann (61 gb’s, 22 ct’s), Chris Nixon (38 gb’s, 24 ct’s) and Eric Bicknese and junior goalkeeper Jack Davis, this same unit surrendered nine or more goals in five losses.
Reason for optimism: The Hoyas tied Virginia for the most Under Armour All Americans with six in this year’s incoming class.
9. Notre Dame (15-1; first round)
Losses: Four starters in attackmen Duncan Swezey (22, 20) and Ryan Hoff (32, 3), midfielder Peter Christman (15, 18) and defenseman Regis McDermott (53 gb’s).
Returners: Six starters including junior attackman Neal Hicks (25, 18), junior midfielder Grant Krebs (29, 9) and sophomore midfielder Zach Brenneman (17, 7).
Reason for pessimism: It will be interesting to see how the Fighting Irish fare in the newly created Big East conference with the likes of Syracuse, Georgetown, Villanova and St. John’s.
Reason for optimism: If reports about goalie Scott Rodgers returning for a fifth year are true, Notre Dame will have the nation’s leader in goals-against average (6.14) and save percentage (.663).
8. Maryland (10-7; quarterfinal)
Losses: Three starters in midfielders Dan Groot (21, 14) and Jeremy Sieverts (17, 6) and defenseman Mike Griswold (25 gb’s) and two reserves in midfielder Jeff Reynolds (12, 4, 52 gb’s) and goalkeeper Jason Carter (7.95 gaa, .488 save).
Returners: Seven starters including attackmen Grant Catalino (25, 22), Ryan Young (19, 21) and Will Yeatman (13, 15), sophomore defensemen Max Schmidt (38 gb’s, 24 ct’s) and Brett Schmidt (33 gb’s, 23 ct’s) and junior goalie Brian Phipps (7.17 gaa, .593 save).
Reason for pessimism: Assuming Phipps can successfully return from surgery to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, that still doesn’t address the defense’s lack of speed.
Reason for optimism: Maybe moving junior Brian Farrell back to long-stick midfielder from close defense can revitalize an offense that sputtered during the season.
7. Princeton (13-3; quarterfinal)
Losses: Four starters including three of the team’s top four scorers in attackman Tommy Davis (27, 17) and midfielders Mark Kovler (34, 9) and Rich Sgalardi (18, 24) and two key defensive players in starting defenseman Chris Peyser and long-stick midfielder Charlie Kolkin.
Returners: Six starters in sophomore attackman Jack McBride (35, 7), junior attackman Scott MacKenzie (13, 16), sophomore midfielder Chris McBride (18, 6), freshman defenseman Chad Wiedmaier (29 gb’s, 24 ct’s), junior defenseman Jeremy Hirsch (25 gb’s) and freshman goalkeeper Tyler Fiorito (7.40 gaa, .587 save).
Reason for pessimism: The losses above will take a toll, but none might cut deeper than the departure of former head coach Bill Tierney, the architect of the Tigers’ six national championships.
Reason for optimism: If Fiorito can build on his solid freshman campaign, the defense might not miss Tierney after all.
6. Navy (11-5; first round)
Losses: Two starters in defenseman Andy Tormey (44 gb’s, 32 ct’s) and goalkeeper Tommy Phelan (8.58 gaa, .585 save) and five reserves in short-stick defensive midfielders Geoff Leone (3, 3, 31 gb’s, 18 ct’s) and Bobby Lennon (2, 4, 19 gb’s, 12 ct’s), attackman Bruce Nechanicky (13, 3), midfielder Matt Bitter (34 gb’s) and goalie Matt Coughlin (6.57 gaa, .487 save).
Returners: Eight starters including seven of the team’s top eight scorers in attackmen Tim Paul (18, 14), Brendan Connors (21, 10) and Andy Warner (13, 14) and midfielders Patrick Moran (20, 3), Joe Lennon (14, 9), Evan Sullivan (8, 3) and Brian Striffler (7, 4).
Reason for pessimism: As deep as the losses of Tormey, Leone and Lennon will be felt, the biggest question is whether sophomore R.J. Wickham (7.00 gaa, .500 save) will be able to succeed Phelan in the cage.
Reason for optimism: The Midshipmen welcome an incoming class that had been ranked eighth in the country by Inside Lacrosse in 2008 prior to spending last season at Naval Academy Preparatory School.