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MCLA D2 Preseason Poll

edited August 2013 in MCLA Division II
Useless as always, but a preseason poll is due this time of year nonetheless. So here goes:
My understanding is the Westmini and Liberty are going D1 in 2014, anyone else?

1. UST: Loses only about 5 contributors from a far deeper roster than any other MCLA D2 team can boast. Vasko, Carbonneau, and Burke had strong careers, but year's with more talent graduating didn't stop this train. They bring back all of their big guns at the midfield as well and seeing the next two attackmen on the depth chart being rising sophomores should make the rest of the MCLA roll their eyes at how this program never runs out of talent. Spoiler alert, it won't. UST has given no one any reason to think they won't be the class of MCLA D2 until they and their neighbors go NCAA D3.

2. GVSU: Losing Vanderveen, Pouba, and Farmer--that hurts. What doesn't hurt is bringing back the eligible half of the 1st team AA goalie tandem two years running [Kransberger] and the rising junior tandem of the younger Farmer and Schwalm who powered the GVSU offense and team back into relevance after its most forgettable start in memory. They're attack were weak and lethargic by GVSU standards last season, call bringing back 4 out of 5 of the top attack options the rare chance for a do-over.

3. Grove City: Loses a chunk of their starting D-Core but very little on offense-only option 4 at attack. Had a 1-goal loss to GVSU and a 1-goal loss to Liberty to end season. Stays a step behind GVSU on proven pedigree--Grove City didn't get its first high quality win until Concordia in the National Tournament. That said, they seem to be the heir-apparent to CCLA dominance left by Davenport and Dayton and return what they need to continue climbing the D2 totem pole. Hope they show the consistency and staying power to make me right saying GC at 3.

4. SJU: What does every team want? Big time scoring threat, top goaltender, takeaway defender, a strong horse to ride at the Face-off X, and great depth...SJU seems to have always been short the first and the last, and just lost the middle three: two top vote getters for the Godekraw award G King and D Johnson as well as 4-year Face-off man Rahn. Expect a very different looking team next year, but don't expect much of a drop-off. Those 3 are literally all they lose, so their offense has little excuse not to become elite and they should finally have ever-allusive depth at middie. They've always been the class of MCLA D2 defense, losing two guys shouldn't change that. #s 2, 3, 4 in this poll could be in any order it seems.

5. NDSU: Their losses are only sustained in depth roles should be more than defrayed by 100% healthy Flock, any recruiting at all, and predictably solid coaching from Bosh. They mature in their key roles, on D, and in the net, so its hard to think they won't improve from last year. The question is whether they're the team that lost to Liberty and SJU by 1 or lost to Westmini by 11, SJU by 10 and GVSU by 8. They're have been excuses thrown around on their behalf, but there's no need for that here. I think we can safely say they were somewhere in the middle and, improving on that, #5 nationally and #3 in the UMLL suits them.

6. Concordia: Will keep scoring power with Seguin and Fagan despite losing 1st line midfield and #2 scoring option at Attack, as Chris Curtis said in a previous post "should keep their identity." I'm not sure how good they'll actually be, but they'll put up solid numbers, will avoid getting blown out against higher ranked, better opponents and won't be tested regularly enough an increasingly weak D2 west coast to move them lower than this.

7. Coast Guard: I would have them higher for their announcement, they didn't sustain too big of losses in the last senior class, but you wonder if Coast Guard as a service academy talent will see an upswing in incoming talent from going D3, especially 2 years out or if it will simply stay on its current track of steady year over year improvement. I bet the latter so they're 7.

8. Florida Gulf Coast: I suspect they're on the up and up as a school/program...don't lose very much (5 seemingly minor role players) and move up in the SELC by virtue of PBA--who can't play defense--losing 2 of its 3 prolific scorers (maybe only 1), Elon and SCAD losing tons of talent and falling, and Liberty leaving for D1...guess that's one way to climb 4 spots to the top.

9. Western Oregon: If you're picking based on returning talent, purely on talent, I think Bohince should be your frontrunner for Godekraw and WOU would be #5...but discipline is a factor as well and WOU is not in the top 25 where that is concerned. Let's hope a new coach can get them organized and eliminate the circus on the sidelines and Broadway Bullies routine on the field.

10. Briarcliffe: Loses leading scorer, 1st line middie, coach. Compared to everyone else, though, that's not very much to lose at all. One or two native, local Long Islanders and they're even definitely better next year. Even without it, maybe they can reshuffle, retool, improve, and keep pace with USCG.

11. PBA: They way lacrosse is established and growing in Florida, it's hard to imagine they won't find some players to replace losses sufficiently enough to hang around, especially in a far, far weaker 2014 SELC. Keys to improvement 1. Bring Ciringione back. 2. Find anyone who can use a D-pole or being solid in the crease.

12. Lindenwood-Belleville: Loses one player, has great athleticism and if year two to year three improvement is as anything like year one to year two they will walk through the GRLC this time around.

13. Indiana Tech: They lose 15 seniors, but they return enough--3 of top 5 scorers, starting goalie, most of their defense and some depth and middie--to remain in the outer orbit of relevance in the deflated D2 field

14. Dayton: If I had any evidence that last year was just a hiccup--albeit an extremely large, embarrassing, and painful one--I would have them higher. I don't, so I'll just say they were very young last year, should still have the same coaching in place, and put them here on reputation as well as the fact that they have the single best face-off man in the country. Period. watch J.P.-Hewitt

15. Western Washington: Had little depth to speak of but also lost next to nothing, especially when compared to everyone keeping them out of the top 25 polls. Welcome back top 8 scorers and starting goalie, losing only two poles and 1 role playing middie.

16. Depaul: Noone else to put here. Didn't lose much, got tourney experience, was a very young team, and is a growing program. Placing them here we'll focus on the good times--beating MoBap and LBU in the GRLC tourney and only losing by 8 to UST (though they didn't exactly attempt to pour it on--and not the bad times--losses to Judson and Taylor...

Post edited by god2 on


  • edited August 2013
    Way Down:
    Elon-loses tons off a non-tourney team
    SCAD-Loses every All-SELC team member and the Polka goalie-scorer tandem that brought them back from an embarrassing start
    Portland- Competed with WOU for this year only to lose their #2 middie, an offense-defining leading scorer, and a strong starting goalie. However, seems to have a nucleus of rising juniors, see them in 2015 to win PNCLL D2 title
    Siena Heights-Lose three key scorers and a lot of D off a team already hurting for goals. CCLA will be better next season than last as it redefines itself. SH will not be at the top of that redefinition despite threatening with 2 1-goal losses in 2013. However, maybe they can find a real statkeeper and turn things around...or they can go .500 and Mailloux will have an NHL save pct.
    Gonzaga-Lost almost their whole defense it seems--poles had 54 GP in 2013, just lost 46 of them plus starting DM--and entire line 2 of middies...and their #2 scoring option
    Stonehill-Were just outside the mix with USCG and Briarcliffe, now probably way outside losing both goalies, top scorer and 2 out of 3 midfield lines. While none of the guys they lost were really great players, they're down in 2014 due to depth and experiences issues and look to have that same problem for the foreseeable future with the makeup/contribution of their current 3 classes
    Cal State Fullerton-Should keep steady as far as talent is concerned with a decent recruiting class-don't lose too much or none at all-but they were way overrated last year since they got early credit for a meaningless St. Mary's win and UST played backups against them. In reality, they were 15 goals worse than Westmini and Concordia, if they play a stronger schedule this year that will be obvious and drop them.
    Post edited by god2 on
  • socolax2socolax2 CT's finest
    I wouldn't have Briarcliffe in my top 10 at this point, maybe 20-25 if a core of their guys don't transfer. Pagano as a coach is a huge loss, especially considering the guy they brought in, and several players are transferring out as a result of his leaving.

    I like your analysis of SHSU-LOL

    I don't think Stonehill is as down as you say but losing Phillips hurts.

    I'd keep an eye on Siena Heights and St Andrew's. St A's was a team full of freshmen only bringing in more talent out of Maryland and SHU has come a long way from when we played them.
  • @ilikelax A lot of good points. Way too early for my MCLA polls as I like to get a sense of what teams might be bringing in as far as incoming class size. I do have my concerns that the West Coast D2 teams will have even weaker schedules as compared to midwest teams this year versus years past with the removal of Westminster. Here's my guess for the PNCLL without seeing any rosters.

    1. WOU - Third coach in four seasons for WOU but Coaches Blair and Patton are confident in the returners they have plus the big incoming class. Bohince's name will surely come up a lot and while WOU has other options I think the biggest area they need to improve is their attack unit.

    2. WWU - You mentioned that WWU retuners their starting goalie but Patmount is actually out of eligibility. Also the loss of C Goodman at close defense is big but they have young talent at defense and a scary trio in J Goodman, Hatcher, and Wettack on offense.

    3. GU - Huge question about Gonzaga is how many of the seniors with eligibilty left return. I'm leaning towards not many but if Hilder returns it completely changes their team.

    4. SOU - I think SOU has a bright future, Chase and Halley should be solid up front, they always seem to find answers on defense under Coach Brown, they have two solid goalies, and a very good FOS. They just need a midfield to produce. If they can grind out games they have a good shot.

    5. UP - They've been on the rise in recent years leading up to actually having a chance to win the title in 2013 but the lose of McAnnis-Entenman, M Timm, and Henry are massive. If they can return or replace Gloyd and Carter at close d that will greatly help but offensively they only have one guy now in Chris Timm.
  • socolax2socolax2 CT's finest
    edited August 2013
    Hey Chris, Do you know of any new teams joining the PNCLL?

    Also nice to see Patton back at it.
    Post edited by socolax2 on
  • socolax2socolax2 CT's finest
    Also, I wouldn't sleep on Judson. They graduate 4 guys, 3 of whom were only worth 1 ppg, bring back 2 attackmen Josh Elmore and Taylor Stark (each pushing 7ppg and Elmore leading DII in assists) and only lost to 2 teams last season, MoBap twice and Siena Heights. This could be the year they take the GRLC.
  • @socolax2 No new teams were proposed at last year's AGM. If any teams enter the league this year it was be voted at the AGM but they would have to enter as a probationary team.
  • @ilike & @C2 Whitman has a great core returning and could easily be # 2 or 3 in the PNCLL for the coming years if they pull it together. A big IF, but I'm optimistic.
  • @503laxghost Do you have any insight to Whitman's incoming class? They have Skotheim and MacNichol but also only return two poles.
  • @C2 I'm hearing 5-6 guys, which for us is better than usual. May know more after next weekend.
  • @socolax2 I will jump on St. Andrews', not Siena's, bandwagon. It's a great call, somehow they escaped my scope when breaking down teams. They should definitely be in the 9-12 range with two 1-goal difference games vs SCAD and everyone coming back.
  • thestringer7thestringer7 big rapids, mi
    I actually have a former player from siena heights as my head coach here at ferris state now. I guess he holds the record for points scored there. last name is gumbleton, @socolax2 ever heard of him? pretty sure he played attack. Back to the point, damn I would love for Ferris to be put on this list next year. #IcanWishIfiWant
  • socolax2socolax2 CT's finest
    I am aware of Ryan Gumbleton, he was on their team when SCSU came out your guys way and played SHU and John Carroll a couple of years ago.
  • Good preseason question for everyone. Which new head coach do see making the most positive impact? Negative?

    List of traditionally strong D2 schools with new leadership.
    Grove City
  • Can someone give me some insight on why Siena Heights is getting left out completely? A team that lost three games last year (Dayton by one, Grove City by one, and Indiana Tech by six), returns an impressive defensive unit and five players who saw double digit goals and didn’t crack the top 20, but, a Palm Beach team that has no concept of defense loses over half their offensive output from 2013 and is still a top 12 program.
  • socolax2socolax2 CT's finest
    That is not the official poll, thats just lax magazines poll (which is only top 20.)

    The top 25 pre-season poll will be releasing some time this month
  • socolax2socolax2 CT's finest
    What, pray tell, is miserable about this attempt? I thought it was better than the laxmag top 20 poll. That thing was atrocious.

    Also, there are a lot of holes to fill with Westminster and Liberty moving up, and some teams falling off the map. I am shocked SHSU is even ranked, they won't be by the end of the season. I don't see the LSA having a ranked team unless St Edward's seriously impresses on their road trip, and don't expect a WCLL or RMLC team to crack the top 20 unless Fort Lewis, Northern Colorado, and St Mary's do something big.
  • socolax2socolax2 CT's finest
    That is true, I was pretty disappointed in that turnout. I submitted mine the night we received them. On the bright side, if a coach misses 2 ballots, they will be removed and the conference director will be asked to have someone else do it, so they are trying to find coaches who will submit ballots in a timely manner. I hope other coaches take it as seriously as I do.

  • @socolax2 Will, here are my big takeaways leading to a valid use of the word miserable.

    51 teams received votes
    13 teams receiving votes had a 2013 record below .500
    8 teams didn't even make their conference playoffs

    Beyond that I'm confused why the poll publish date was moved up from the 26th to the 21st? Would keeping the original date have any impact on those 7 absentee ballots?

    Now I get it, its preseason only a handful of teams have their official roster listed on the MCLA and some don't even have their full schedules in still but some of the rankings just confuse me. And maybe this wouldn't bother me so much if I knew that the coaches poll was fluid but that fact remains that come Feb. 25th lazy voters will just vote the way they did last poll or maybe worse just gravitate towards the most recent public poll.

    Maybe the best argument is just the extreme lack of originality. All 25 teams on the 2014 poll were on the 2013 end of year poll (when you remove Westmin and Liberty and move every team up two). Even worse There are only three teams that moved more than two spots up or down (Sam Houston -5, Gonzaga -3, and St. Andrews +5). To me that is not just a coincidence, that is poll voters not doing research.

    To pick on a few teams, is anyone concerned that GVSU's website roster is missing Kransberger right now?

    Do people think Indiana Tech is going to replace the 57.3% point production drop along with their best pole, faceoff man, and starting goalie to warrant an increase in their poll ranking over last season?

    What about SCAD, they lose every player with league and national honors plus 43.7% of their point production and they shoot up two spots over last year?

    On the positive side what about Fort Lewis? You said you don't expect a RMLC team to crack the top 20, why is that? Clearly strength of schedule is an issue but they should return all three AAs, 5 of 6 all RMLC guys, and 89.4% of their point production. By my count, only three teams in the entire poll bring back a more intact offense by point production percentage.
  • socolax2socolax2 CT's finest
    edited January 24
    Fort Lewis doesn't play anyone. St Mary's is the only decent OOC game. Northern Colorado at least plays FGCU and PBA. If UNC loses those games, the RMLC has done 0 nationally to make an impression on the voters. Every team except Westy in RMLC DII finished .500 or worse. Fort Lewis went 9-9, UNC 5-6. Unless they do something big, I just don't see it. Bringing back lots of talent is great, but those teams were so far behind Westminster that its tough to anoint them at this point. RMLC, WCLL, and GRLC in DII are total toss-ups IMO.

    I am appalled that SHSU received any votes (they received no vote from me) because they have lost all of their roster, have no OOC games so are not eligible for AL bid, and no AQ. 14 players total, 2 of whom are goalies. I have done the 12 guys for a season thing, and no matter how talented you are, you can't avoid injuries and depth. Mann's little brother is not as good as the older Mann. St Edward's is going to house them this year. Especially being coached by a guy who just graduated and has no coaching experience, and Michael Small (St Ed's AA mid) now has his younger brother to play with.

    I had many of these teams you're talking about way down. I would beware of Briarcliffe this year. New coach, new players, new outlook. They have a freshman captain, Mike Austin, who is an absolute beast of a human being, who's brother is the offensive coordinator and plays for the Long Island Lizard's MLL team. Donnie Denning is doing a pretty bang up job despite losing some guys.

    Word on the street is Adam Davis (18 goals, 4 assists with BC as a freshman, very dynamic athlete) transferred to Palm Beach Atlantic, though I am not sure he is playing for them or not (I expect him to. I talked to him at the PCLL championship last year and I don't see him quitting the sport.)

    Coast Guard continues to re-load as they gear up for NCAA next year. Very dangerous.

    I don't know what to expect from Stonehill. SCSU and Stonehill both left the CCSU jamboree before the final game this fall so I didn't get a chance to watch them play. The PCLL pre-season poll has CCSU ahead of Stonehill. CCSU freshman Ismail Abdussabur midfielder is a ridiculous athlete and has a powerful shot, and they bring back Spencer Rentas (1st Team PCLL FOS) and Dan Carson (1st Team PCLL D) and major point getter John Bronke, but they do lose AA Kyle Wills. It will be interesting to see.

    St Andrew's, IMO, is going to be a team to watch and I thought should have been ranked higher. They lose no one, have a great schedule, and continue to recruit out of Maryland and Canada.

    I agree with ITU, SCAD, and GVSU possibly being down (esp with GVSU without Kransberger) But looking at their schedules we will find out for sure what those 3 programs are made of. I think a big piece of the pre-season poll, for me, is who is scheduling tough, who is coming back with a big roster/good recruiting class, and who is taking it to the next level. Someone earlier asked about why Siena Heights is getting no love, look at their schedule. Their OOC is MoBap and LUB, not terrible but certainly not setting the world on fire, for a team thats on the bubble I think you need to play up to get recognized. Lub on the otherhand, has an absolute nasty schedule and will be battle tested going into the GRLC tournament.

    I hope things balance themselves out in the Feb poll. PCLL teams are playing much earlier this year, traveling out to some warm weather places, and I am looking to see who does what in the coming month. I know I will be keeping tabs.
    Post edited by socolax2 on
  • @socolax2 Good insight Will especially on the PCLL. Again in regards to teams like Fort Lewis I would caution saying things like "Fort doesn't play anyone" that statements shows you have already decided the teams they play are weak based on last year's evidence. If that is the only deciding factor, why have a preseason poll? Maybe that is why this year's preseason poll is almost an exact replica of the end of year poll last year. And I get it, teams looking to prove themselves look at the past year ranking and "say let's get them on the schedule." But strength of schedule should not be the sole factor to rank a team, even in the preseason.

    Using the "Fort Lewis was so far behind Westminster" argument isn't that great either when trying to compare a team like Fort to other teams. I mean Westminster dismantled all but three D2 teams they faced last year. You can't really blame a team for having a bully in their conference, would the GRLC still have 3 teams in the Top 25 this year if Westy had beaten them all by 15+?

    Another team you mentioned was St. Andrew's. Personally, I'm okay with where they are ranked but saying "they lose no one" is a huge assumption. Case in point, looking at the SAU lacrosse website roster 11 players from last season are missing leaving with them are the top two point scorers, 40.1% of the offensive production and 3 of 5 all SELC players. So there is a big difference between losing no one and losing your two best attackman, LSM, and FOS.
  • socolax2socolax2 CT's finest
    edited January 24
    Chris; connect the dots to what I said from Fort Lewis, to the paragraph RE: ITU, GVSU, etc.

    I said "I think a big piece of the pre-season poll, for me, is who is scheduling tough, who is coming back with a big roster/good recruiting class, and who is taking it to the next level. " and "for a team thats on the bubble I think you need to play up to get recognized." specifically. I am not writing Fort Lewis off, I am very simply saying that, based on the facts/analysis I have available, I am not impressed yet, and they didn't go out of their way to schedule big names like the aforementioned teams. Even if you have a bully in your conference, others should rise above the rest to some degree. Fort and UNC kind of did that, but still boasted a .500 or worse record overall. I still think RMLC is a toss up.

    I think St Andrew's is on the up and up for 2 reasons.

    1. Chris Sherman does an excellent job recruiting.

    2. They had something like 28 freshmen last year? Attrition is normal for any team, even without graduation, but the guys returning are only going to be more experienced and have more time under the coach.
    Post edited by socolax2 on
  • For what it's worth, Chris is no longer the head coach at SAU, effective mid-December.
  • socolax2socolax2 CT's finest
    Oh, wow. I had no idea. Do you know if the new coach is going to remain committed to the games as scheduled? We're supposed to be meeting them in Maryland for a game in a month.
  • socolax2socolax2 CT's finest
    Nevermind, I got a hold of the new coach. All is well in the world.
  • @DDaehn Coach Daehn, I am apt to think that most coaches like yourself put little to no stock in preseason polls and that's fine. But I was always taught that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing right and I feel the discrepancies in the current poll warrant a discussion. A discussion that has only happened between me and Will thus far.

    To answer your rhetorical question, I do think St. Johns will be better despite the weighty loses at a few positions.

    As far as my poll I will be posting it soon. I guess I have the luxary that was not afforded to the poll voters in that I can wait until a few more critical teams post their roster.

    With regards to best upcoming early games, I'm keeping an eye on these ones:

    2/1 #19 St. Andrews vs. NR TWC

    Despite losing half of their team from last year and their head coach everyone seems very high on SAU. This could be a good early test at home from a TWC team that looks get back into poll contention.

    2/9 #16 Dayton at #19 St. Andrews

    Of course if St. Andrews can roll past TWC they have a much bigger task coming down to Laurinburg the very next week. Should be a good weekend to see how the post Charlie Mark era at Dayton is going.

    2/15 #9 SCAD vs. #10 PBA
    2/21 #9 SCAD vs. #13 FGCU
    2/22 #9 SCAD vs. #12 Elon

    These three games will go a long way to sorting out this year's SELC. Games with four of the five favored SELC teams playing. SCAD will really need to pull out some big wins at home remain relevant, dropping the first two games and they are out of the playoffs, hold serve and they have a huge leg up on their schedule and over the SELC. The SCAD/Elon game always has that odd early season dynamic where SCAD will be playing in their sixth game while Elon will just have one scrimmage under their belt.

    2/22 #3 Grove City vs. #14 Briarcliffe

    Two new coaches going for their first MCLA win. Briarcliffe has won the past two meetings but people can't seem to make up their minds on where this team is with the loss of Pagano. Grove should be favored bringing back a more intact squad at home but I can't count out BC, especially without seeing their roster.
  • I'll maintain the chorus; I think at best it's a (horribly) inexact science. My team looks radically different from last season, but we won't know much until at least next weekend (at Florida) or the weekend after (at CofC, SCAD, Emmanuel). We all try to make guesses based on last year, like SHSU at #17. Time will tell if they're able to put together a competitive team with a new coach, etc.

    As far as interesting games are concerned, I like these games leading up to the next poll release (Feb. 25):

    2/9 #16 Dayton at #19 St. Andrew's – This will show if SAU can handle their losses, but the winner will get the benefit of the doubt even if the original rankings were not accurate.
    2/15 #10 Palm Beach Atlantic at #9 SCAD – I'm biased here. A huge road game.
    2/21 #13 Florida Gulf Coast at #9 SCAD – All of SCAD's divisional games are at home. A very enviable road to Atlanta.
    2/22 Humboldt State at #11 Western Oregon - I've heard rumblings of an improved Humboldt team. This will validate or dash those thoughts quickly.
    2/22 #12 Elon at #9 SCAD – SCAD's third Top 15 game in a week. Nothing like preparing for May lacrosse...
    2/22 #14 Briarcliffe at #3 Grove City – BC's question marks make this a very intriguing game.
    2/23 Missouri State at Kennesaw State – I think MSU is better than many believe. I'm also curious to see if Kennesaw can rebound from 2013.
  • @DDaehn Just for fun I'll combine both convos. Here is the Preseason MCLA National Tournament seeding (based on the preseason poll)

    #1 St. Thomas (AL 1) vs.
    #16 Humboldt St (WCLL AQ)

    #8 Indiana Tech (AL 5) vs.
    #9 SCAD (SELC AQ)

    #4 GVSU (AL 3) vs.
    #13 Florida Gulf Coast (AL 8)

    #5 Coast Guard (PCLL) vs.
    #12 Elon (AL 7)

    #2 St. Johnas (AL 2) vs.
    #15 Fort Lewis (RMLC AQ)

    #7 NDSU (AL 4) vs.
    #10 Palm Beach (AL 6)

    #3 Grove City (CCLA AQ) vs.
    #14 DePaul (GRLC AQ)

    #6 Concordia (SLC AQ) vs.
    #11 WOU (PNCLL AQ)

    First teams out: Briarcliffe, Fullerton, Dayton
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