The second of five posts taking an absurdly early look at the 2013 lacrosse season based on the information at hand today
20. BRYANT (14-4 in 2012)
Last seen: Outscoring Quinnipiac and Mount St. Mary’s by a combined 23-12 to win the Northeast Conference tournament. Alas, with no automatic bid, that would be it for Mike Pressler’s team for the season.
Senior starts lost: 48 of 180 (26.7 percent)
Scoring departing: 72 of 343 points (21.0 percent)
100ish-word lookahead: Even though there’s a lot of flotsam on Bryant’s schedule, the Bulldogs acquitted themselves exceptionally well this season – tight losses to Colgate, Fairfield and Yale, and one-goal defeats of Drexel and Stony Brook. They’ll need to find a goalie to replace the graduating Jameson Love, which looks like the biggest question heading into the offseason. Nonetheless, only two of the 12 Bulldogs with at least 10 points depart, and offensive-minded pole Mason Poli (19 goals, six assists) is back. Best of all for Bryant, the NEC is due to get an automatic bid after the standard two-year wait for a new league – welcome news for the certain preseason favorite.
19. FAIRFIELD (12-4)
Last seen: Falling to the Loyola buzzsaw in the ECAC title game, though that shouldn’t overshadow the Stags’ program-record 12 victories.
Senior starts lost: 79 of 160 (49.4 percent)
Scoring departing: 82 of 232 points (35.3 percent)
100ish-word lookahead: Make no mistake, Andy Copelan has done an outstanding job with the Stags, coaxing steady improvement from his team over four seasons and establishing Fairfield as one of the most consistent teams in New England. Now the caveat: It’s going to be tough to continue an upward trajectory next season. The most obvious concern will be finding a replacement for Charlie Cipriano, who logged 99.5 percent of Fairfield’s minutes in the cage this season. It will also be difficult to replicate a 6-0 record in one-goal games, and the Stags will presumably have to travel to Loyola and Denver next season.
18. HOFSTRA (6-8)
Last seen: Ending the season in thoroughly appropriate fashion, a double-overtime loss to Penn State that also functioned as the Pride’s sixth one-goal loss.
Senior starts lost: 38 of 140 (27.1 percent)
Scoring departing: 47 of 196 (24.0 percent)
100ish-word lookahead: The Pride was the anti-Fairfield – 1-6 in one-goal games, including 0-4 in overtime. It’s tough to tell which statistic was more painful for Hofstra: Being on the wrong end of a 47-26 scoring margin after the start of the fourth quarter (thanks in part to incredible meltdowns against Towson and North Carolina) or a dreadful 80.7 clearing percentage. But just as it is difficult to remain dominant in flip-of-the-coin games, it is not easy to be woeful in tight contests over the long haul. Hofstra is a prime candidate to rebound to some extent and should be a CAA contender in 2013.
17. ST. JOHN’S (8-7)
Last seen: Understandably running out of gas in the Big East title game two days after a stirring upset of Notre Dame.
Senior starts lost: 45 of 150 (30 percent)
Scoring departing: 65 of 214 points (30.4 percent)
100ish-word lookahead: It was a fun breakthrough for the Red Storm, who pieced together one of the more remarkable rallies of the season when they erased a two-goal deficit in the final 30 seconds against Georgetown before winning in overtime. St. John’s plays fast, smart and, most importantly, hard, and has a solid young nucleus to work with going forward. The Red Storm was not deep in 2012, fielding a roster of only 35 players, and the lack of numbers diminishes the wiggle room for the promising program. Nonetheless, this spring was an indication an NCAA bid could be possible in the immediate future.
16. SYRACUSE (9-8)
Last seen: Slogging through a 12-9 opening-round NCAA tournament loss to Duke after salvaging something from a frustrating season the week before with a Big East tournament title.
Senior starts lost: 51 of 170 (30 percent)
Scoring departing: 135 of 288 points (46.9 percent)
100ish-word lookahead: It feels like heresy to project Syracuse as a run-of-the-mill team, but it’s tough to ignore the Orange’s entirely unremarkable spring. Syracuse scored more than 10 goals just five times, and can’t even turn to bad luck as the reason for its so-so season (4-1 in one-goal games). The Orange loses three of its top four scorers (Tommy Palasek, Tim Desko and Bobby Eilers) and is in danger of having a senior class depart next season without reaching a final four for the first time since 1979 (it would also be the program’s first title-less senior class since 1999). Defenseman Brian Megill is a nice cornerstone and Syracuse might not have to play goalie roulette again in ’13, but it’s difficult to envision an immediate return to the top five.
Previously: Nos. 21-25