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Review & preview: Premature 2012 poll part 1

With Virginia closing out 2011 with the program’s fifth national championship, the 2012 college lacrosse season is just seven months away. What better way to preface the upcoming campaign with a preseason and premature poll?

The top 20 will be broken up into four installments with Monday’s post involving teams ranked from Nos. 20 to 16. Tuesday will feature Nos. 15 to 11, Wednesday Nos. 10 to 6 and Thursday Nos. 5 to 1. Friday will include three schools not mentioned in the poll that could make some waves.

Unless there are confirmed reports about certain players planning to use fifth years of eligibility, this space will assume that seniors in 2010 will not return next year. Unannounced fifth-year seniors and potential transfers will affect the rankings that come out next February, but here’s a spin anyway.

20. Colgate (2011 record: 11-5; Tournament finish: no tournament)

Losses: Four starters in attackman Andrew Mould (23 goals and 5 assists), defenseman Greg Perkins (24 ground balls and 12 caused turnovers), faceoff specialist Jim Carroll (2, 6; 85 GBs, 163-of-286 for .570) and short-stick defensive midfielder Dave Tucciarone (52 GBs, 22 CTs) and two key contributors in attackman Ben McCabe (20, 5) and midfielder Rob Bosco (9, 9).

Returners: Three-fourths of the starting defense in sophomore defenseman James Queeney (20 GBs, 10 CTs) and freshman defenseman Bobby Lawrence (30 GBs, 17 CTs) and junior goalkeeper Jared Madison (8.13 goals-against average and .539 save percentage).

Reason for pessimism: Carroll’s graduation leaves the Raiders with just one experienced faceoff specialist in sophomore Robert Grabher (12 GBs, 17-of-35 for .486).

Reason for optimism: The return of a talented midfield is headlined by sophomore and two-time All-Patriot League first-team selection Peter Baum, who led the team in points (49), goals (34) and assists (15).

19. Hartford (11-7; first round)

Losses: Four starters including a pair of defensemen in Conor Flynn (73 GBs, 43 CTs) and Dan Gillespie (20 GBs, 7 CTs), faceoff specialist Tim Fallon (166 GBs, 238-of-383 for .621), and short-stick defensive midfielder Brendan Marlow (39 GBs).

Returners: The entire starting attack of juniors Ryan Compitello (22, 27) and Aidan Genik (23, 10) and sophomore Rory Nunamacher (22, 13) and the first midfielder of juniors Carter Bender (35, 18) and Martin Bowes (20, 13) and sophomore Jared Franze (25, 4).

Reason for pessimism: After Fallon, sophomore Mike Brown is the next experienced faceoff specialist, having won 14-of-21 draws this past spring.

Reason for optimism: Refortifying the defense may be somewhat easier on the nerves as the team has appeared to settle on its goalie of the near future. Junior Scott Bement made the last seven starts, registering a 9.28 goals-against average and a .535 save percentage.

18. Ohio State (8-8; no tournament)

Losses: One starter in midfielder Jarred Bowman (8, 3) and a key reserve in defenseman Conor David (18 GBs, 10 CTs).

Returners: The entire starting attack of sophomores Logan Schuss (32, 20) and Jeff Tundo (33, 12) and freshman Tyler Frederick (18, 14) and the starting defense of juniors Keenan Ochwat (36 GBs, 28 CTs) and Joe Bonnani (15 GBs, 7 CTs) and redshirt junior Matt Kawamoto (32 GBs, 14 CTs) and freshman goalkeeper Greg Dutton (8.35 GAA, .516 save percentage).

Reason for pessimism: Aside from sophomore midfielder Domonique Alexander (16, 8), the Buckeyes need more production from their midfield to alleviate some of the pressure on the attack.

Reason for optimism: A defense that surrendered an average of 8.1 goals per game – which tied for 11th in Division I – could get stronger with the insertion of freshman Joe Meurer (30 GBs, 8 CTs) and incoming recruit Eric Chadderon.

17. Drexel (8-6; no tournament)

Losses: Just one starter in attackman and Colonial Atheltic Association Player of the Year Scott Perri (39, 27) and one key reserve in midfielder Dan Layfield (7, 5).

Returners: Four of last season’s top five scorers in sophomore attackmen Robert Church (27, 22) and Brendan Glynn (23, 6), junior midfielder Kyle Bergman (19, 12) and sophomore attackman Nick Trizano (19, 5). Junior goalkeeper Mark Manos (9.09 GAA, .563 save percentage) is also back.

Reason for pessimism: The Dragons return three starting defensemen in juniors Frank Tufano (48 GBs, 25 CTs), Dana Wilber (39 GBs, 11 CTs) and Brian Teuber (23 GBs, 16 CTs) and freshman long-stick midfielder Matt Dusek (24 GBs, 13 Cts), but there is not much depth behind those guys.

Reason for optimism: An offense that averaged 11.3 goals en route to finishing the season ranked ninth in the country could become more potent with the addition of incoming attackman Cory Dobyns, who switched his commitment from Maryland to Drexel.

16. Bucknell (14-3; first round)

Losses: Four starters in defensemen Alex Lyons (64 GBs, 27 CTs) and John Collett (22 GBs, 21 CTs), midfielder Ryan Klipstein (32, 21) and attackman Mike Danylyshyn (18, 18).

Returners: Six of the top eight scorers including junior midfielder Charlie Streep (28, 9), junior attackman Billy Eisenreich (19, 15) and freshman attackman Todd Heritage (26, 7).

Reason for pessimism: Can sophomore Ryan Gutowski (20 GBs, 48-of-91 for .527) replace Jake Clarke (105 GBs, 130-of-259 for .502) as the team’s primary faceoff specialist?

Reason for optimism: The cupboard on defense isn’t entirely bare as junior Jason Neithamer (21 GBs, 7 CTs) and freshman Jackson Place (15 GBs, 7 CTs) could move into the starting lineup and sophomore goalie Kyle Feeney (7.24 GAA, .539 save percentage) should continue his development.

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)

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Faceoff is The Baltimore Sun's blog devoted to college and high school lacrosse. Faceoff contributors include Sun reporters Edward Lee, Mike Preston and Katherine Dunn.

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