NCAA Team Reviews: Holy Cross Crusaders

Photo credit to Dao Chung
Photo credit to Dao Chung

For the better part of four months, many of us watched some exciting college lacrosse, whether it was on TV, online, or in person.  There were good games, which included all of Championship Weekend, and there were bad games, such as low scoring affairs and of course, the horrendous winter weather.  I take a look back at all 69 Division I teams and how they fared this season and what to look forward to in 2016.

Check out previous recaps: NJIT Highlanders, UMass Lowell River Hawks, VMI Keydets, Manhattan Jaspers, Canisius Golden Griffins, Robert Morris Colonials, St. John’s Red Storm, Wagner Seahawks, Binghamton Bearcats, Bellarmine Knights, Jacksonville Dolphins, Furman Paladins, Lafayette Leopards, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers, Siena Saints, Delaware Blue Hens, UMBC Retrievers, Dartmouth Big Green, Providence Friars, Mercer Bears, Penn State Nittany Lions, Hofstra Pride, Michigan Wolverines, UMass Minutemen, Monmouth Hawks, Vermont Catamounts, Sacred Heart Pioneers


2014 Record 3-12
2014 Conference Record 1-7 (8th in Patriot League)
2014 Scoring Offense 9.07 Goals Per Game (49th in DI)
2014 Scoring Defense 13.47 Goals Against Per Game (66th in DI)
2014 Goals Leader #29 Terry McKenna – Junior (27 Gs)
2014 Assists Leader #4 Sean Wilkinson – Sophomore (22 As)
2014 Points Leader #4 Sean Wilkinson – Sophomore (43 Pts)
2014 Goaltending Leader #1 Michael Ortlieb – Sophomore (.440 SV %)
2014 Face-Off Leader #48 Ben Williams – Freshman (.531 FO %)
2014 Ground Balls Leader #48 Ben Williams – Freshman (95 GBs)
2014 Caused Turnovers Leader #38 Jack McGovern – Freshman (10 CTs)
2014 Quality Wins Richmond (11-9), Hartford (13-8)
2014 Bad Losses Boston (9-8), Dartmouth (17-12)


2015 Record 6-7
2015 Conference Record 3-5 (7th in Patriot League)
2015 Scoring Offense 9.23 Goals Per Game (47th in DI)
2015 Scoring Defense 11.85 Goals Against Per Game (59th in DI)
2015 Goals Leader #16 Kevin Lux – Sophomore (21 Gs)
2015 Assists Leader #4 Sean Wilkinson – Junior (20 As)
2015 Points Leader #4 Sean Wilkinson – Junior (40 Pts)
2015 Goaltending Leader #1 Michael Ortlieb – Junior (.444 SV %)
2015 Face-Off Leader #6 Tyler Purdue – Senior (.496 FO %)
2015 Ground Balls Leader #6 Tyler Purdue – Senior (58 GBs)
2015 Caused Turnovers Leader #46 Will Gaudreau – Freshman (14 CTs)
2015 Quality Wins Loyola (13-12), Army (7-6)
2015 Bad Losses Delaware (18-6), Lafayette (11-7)


The Crusaders looked like two different teams for much of the 2015 season.  One team was beating top ten teams and looked to be surprising favorites in the Patriot League.  The other Holy Cross looked like how they were in 2014, not so good.  That inconsistency cost Holy Cross a chance to go to the Patriot League Tournament with a 7th place finish, including losing the last three of their final four league games.  Had the Crusaders been consistent in 2015, they would have made it to the Patriot League Tournament and possibly have competed for an at-large bid.

You couldn’t have asked for a better start for Holy Cross, going 2-0 and even being ranked after one-goal victories against Fairfield and Loyola.  But slip ups against Navy and Delaware put the Crusaders back at .500 entering another top-ten matchup against Army West Point.  Unlike their game against Navy, they were on the positive end of a 7-6 result to the Black Knights.  But two more losses followed against Harvard and Bucknell, but they were still eligible for the Patriot League Tournament.  Wins over Hartford and St. John’s set Holy Cross up for their final four games of the season, all against Patriot League teams.  But it wasn’t good for the Crusaders, as the team fell to a Lehigh team starting to build steam, followed by another loss to last place Lafayette, and a one-goal defeat to eventual Patriot League Champion Colgate.  Although they defeated Boston in the final game of the regular season, Holy Cross fell short of reaching the Patriot League Tournament.It’s going to be tough to see what Holy Cross will be in 2016.  Picture Ben Williams, now at Syracuse, still taking face-offs.  Would Holy Cross have made it to the Patriot League Tournament?

Would they have even made it to the Patriot League Championship?  The Crusaders will need a new face-off specialist next season, but it looks like they can build a team that is capable of making a run to play in late April and hopefully into May.


Alex Oropall Midfield Greenwich (CT)
Evan Kachris Attack Bishop Moore (FL)
William Hudson Goalie Westminster (GA)
Drew Babiak Attack Glastonbury (CT)
Jack McKenna Midfield Oratory Prep (NJ)
Liam Ryan Defense Rockhurst Jesuit (MO)
Clifton Mathis Defense/LSM Charlotte Latin (NC)
Broderick Vitalie Midfield/FO Cherry Creek (CO)
Richard Barkauskas III Defense Mountain Lakes (NJ)
Matt Farrell Defense Seton Hall Prep (NJ)
Griffin Tiedy Defense Greenwich (CT)

Holy Cross will replace eight seniors with 11 incoming recruits for 2016.  The Crusaders brought in three players from Connecticut and New Jersey, but also players from non-traditional states such as Florida, Georgia, Missouri, North Carolina, and Colorado.  Matt Farrell is on Ty Xanders’s watchlist for incoming seniors, so he might be getting some playing time right out of the gate. It’ll be interesting to see what Holy Cross uses these recruits for 2016, even looking at Broderick Vitalie as a possible starter at facing off.