Over the next few weeks, we will be previewing the Top 20 teams in Division III according to Inside Lacrosse’s Face-Off Yearbook rankings. Two teams will be featured each day so be sure to check out the front page for all of the updates as we countdown to the 2014 season. Click here to see a full archive of the Top 20 Countdown.
No. 10 Washington College
2013 Record: 13-5, 5-3 Centennial
Last Game: NCAA Tournament Second Round, L 17-11 vs. Stevenson
Scoring Average: 11.67 goals per game, 9.11 goals against
Leading Returning Scorer: Hunter Nowicki, Sr. – 20 goals, 13 assists, 33 points
The Centennial is one of our most represented conferences in the Top 20 Countdown, sharing the honor with Dickinson and Gettysburg (which we got yesterday, check it out). WAC comes right in the middle of those two, and can thank their depth for as much. Hunter Nowicki was second on the team in points last year, behind the now-departed Bennett Cord, but is separated from the next highest returners, J.D. Campbell (17 goals, 15 assists) and Jim Cusick (28, 4), by just a single point. Grant Hughes (16, 5) rounds out the returning group of 20+ point scorers and full-time goalkeeper Ted DiSalvo (8.98 GAA, 57.6 save percentage) returns between the pipes. Michael Trapp will try to replicate his 64.8 winning percentage on faceoffs in 2014 and, if he does, could be a major piece of WAC’s chances moving forward.
The Shoremen will face ranked teams in Washington & Lee, St. Mary’s, and Salisbury before diving headlong into the Centennial schedule that sees them host Gettysburg and travel to Dickinson.
No. 9 Lynchburg
2013 Record: 14-6, 7-2 Old Dominion
Last Game: NCAA Quarterfinals, L 13-7 vs. Stevenson
Scoring Average: 12.40 goals per game, 7.50 goals allowed
Leading Returning Scorer: Austin Stewart, So. – 31 goals, 6 assists, 37 points
Another post, another representative of the ODAC. This time around, it is the Lynchburg Hornets turn to go under the microscope and despite a great end to last year’s season, the Hornets are coming back a bit thinner than most of the teams we have seen thus far. Gone are top scorers Max Voumard and Derek Sweet, leaving sophomore Austin Stewart as the team’s leading returning scorer. Campbell Armstrong (22 goals, 13 assists) is the only other member of last season’s top-five back for 2014. As you move down the scoring sheet, things get a little more uplifting thanks to strong underclassmen performances from several players. In all, seven of the 12 players to score at least 10 points are back for 2014. along with starting goalkeeper Adam Davey (7.69 GAA, 57.4 save percentage).
Lynchburg will open the season on Feb. 15 with Salisbury, followed by Franklin & Marshall, Cabrini and Gettysburg before starting its ODAC schedule. Then, non-conference matchups with Cortland, Nazareth, and Stevenson await before the bulk of the ODAC slate gets underway. That is as close to a murderer’s row as you’ll see in college lacrosse and Lynchburg will have to be really good to survive it.