With the winter coming up fast we get to speculate where teams will start off the season by only looking at where they finished the season and which of the players for each team we know are coming back. One of the hardest things with the MCLA is trying to speculate a team’s incoming Freshman class and how much of an impact the youngsters will have on the team. Now with Davenport leaving the D2 level to take on the likes of Michigan St. in the D1 level we are going to see a couple new teams in the top 5 this year.
1.) St. Thomas: Kind of an obvious choice for numero uno but it’s hard to argue with this team right. The Tommies return a goalie who like his predecessor has the capability to carry the team on his back against on the biggest of stages, plus they return all of their offense and have gain some from transfer students.
2.) Dayton: One those teams that I love to watch year in and year out. I personally have come to call Dayton the Machine due the fact that no matter who they have on the team the do well and always end up near the top of any list for the best in the country. This year for the Flyers will be a good year with a possible Player of the Year in Will McCormick.
3.) Grand Valley State: With the graduation of Jack Dumsa the Lakers will look to Jeremy Pouba and Tyler Farmer to lead the offense. The Lakers also have their starting goalie from last year Danny Kransberger returning for his Junior year, he will be one of the goalies at the top the list at the end of the year looking for that All- American goaltender spot.
4.) North Dakota State: The last two seasons for the Bison have shown the leaps and bounds that the program is capable of making. I think this is the year that the Bison really make the leap from being that team that makes the National Tournament to being a team that will contend for the Championship. With an attack group led by Peter Flock and a midfield group that seems to have gotten more experienced with age, I don’t see any problems with the offense. The Bison also return their top 4 poles, one of which being All-American Honorable mentioned Scott Wheeler, which should help Junior keeper Ben Hardin who should finally get some quality starts now that Ryan Freeman has graduated.
5.) Westminster: With only 6 Seniors on the team last year the Griffins will have an experienced team this year. This will be their final year playing at the D2 level and will move up to the D1 level for the 2014 season. Now they graduate Gian Sexsmith who lead the Griffins in pretty much every offensive category, so the they will look to Junior attackman Matt Hearn and Senior midfielder Jake Arthur to fill the holes left by Sexsmith in this Griffins offense.
6.) Grand Canyon: The ‘Lopes only had 5 senior last senior and return all of their top offensive powers in Juniors Carson Barton, Kyle Mason, and Adam Shubert, including Sophomore attackman Matt Mountain. The ‘Lopes will look to repeat the success they had in their first year as an MCLA program this year.
7.) St. Johns: The perennial power in the MCLA, the Johnnies, have stalled out the last few years in the 2nd round of the National Tournament. They will look to change all that this year on the backs of their two Senior leaders Steve Johnson and Michael King, both of which have been All- Americans for the last few years. On offense the Johnnies will look to rely on Jacob Helmer and Michael Culshaw- Maurer to make plays happen. The Johnnies’ family was rock this past summer by the tragic death of attackman Adam Gott and this season will be an emotional one for the men from Collegeville, MN.
8.) Briarcliffe: The Bull dogs from Long Island will look to avenge an opening round defeat to NDSU last season at the National Tournament. The Bulldogs return their top 2 scorers from a year ago in Matt Karp and Jonathan Trama. They will also bring back almost every pole from last season which should help give some consistency to Junior goalie Matthew Gierl. The Bulldogs are looking to once again win the D2 PCLL.
9.) Concordia: Another team lost very little to graduation, the Eagles will return almost an entire roster, including all of their top offensive threats. Junior attackmen Josh Fegan and Destin Seguin will look to repeat their All- American Sophomore seasons and lead the Eagles back to the National Tournament.
10.) SCAD: The Bees are a perennial power from the SELC, although they have lost a lot due to graduation, namely Elmquist, McManus, and McQuaid, the Bees are known to find talent and always have it waiting in the wings just waiting for the chance to prove itself. The biggest question mark for the Bees will be in net, with the loss of Wade Winebrenner to graduation
12.) US Coast Guard:
13.) Cal State- Fullerton:
14.) Indiana Tech
15.) Saint Mary’s:
16.) Walsh- St. Louis:
20.) Kennesaw State: