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...