Washed Up Lacrosse Predictions: 2018 NCAA Lacrosse Season
Now fortune telling was never my thing. I haven’t come close to winning the lottery and I have mustered about 10 wins over the last four fantasy football seasons. But every year, I like to make predictions of how is going to win the national championship for each division of NCAA lacrosse. Just like any sport, there is no way you can guess who gets hot at the right time or who is the healthiest going into crunch time.
NCAA Division One
Pick: Maryland Terrapins
For my guess, I believe the Maryland Terrapins will repeat as your 2018 Division One National Champions. They did not graduate too much. They did lose All-American Shortstick Midfielder Isiah Davis Allen who was very much overrated in my opinion. The guy was an absolute turnstile during the NCAA tournament. Out of all their losses, the Maryland Attack line of Rambo, Heacock, and Maltz is absolutely painful. Look for Maryland to be explosive out of the midfield with veteran Tim Rotanz leading the pack. Jared Bernhardt is listed as a midfielder but I expect to see him invert or even see some time as an attackman. The kid has some wheels. Defensively, there aren’t too many big names which can be a good thing. Maryland defenses in the past have been extremely physical and slide with a purpose. I wouldn’t expect anything to change and based on what I have seen during their scrimmage against Stony Brook and Harvard over the fall, it won’t be. They were leaving bodies where they lay. Dan Morris will be back in the cage and hopefully, the good Dan shows up more than the bad Dan. Morris has the ability to steal games when he wants to. The Maryland Hawgpen will be back. All their faceoff guys, have seen playing time as the number one various times so each can be called upon at the X. Another “X” factor will be the coaching staff. John Tillman is a great coach, a players coach and will have his team ready to go in February.
Sleeper Pick: Albany Great Danes
Every year it seems like Albany gets another piece to the puzzle and gets that much closer to winning the chip. When the Thompson Brothers were on the team, the Great Danes were all offense and totally cottage cheese on defense. They couldn’t win a faceoff and had to rely on defensive stops, transition and offensive mastery from the Thompsons. Since then, Conor Fields has taken over as the number one guy, he can be considered one of the top finishers in division one although he does play in a weak conference. The Great Danes also have a top faceoff guy in Ierlan. The guy basically won the Carolina game all by himself. Can Albany straighten out their defense? We all know that they will make the NCAA’s through winning the American East. Can they beat multiple ranked opponents to get home field advantage during the NCAA’s? Maybe this is Albany’s year. Time will only tell.
NCAA Division Two:
Pick: NE-10 Champion
With Limestone graduating their top faceoff guy, I believe they will struggle. They play a relatively weak schedule so they won’t be prepared for the big game. The 2018 national champion will come out of the NE-10. The ECC was once a powerhouse conference has now become the Powerpuff conference with the departure of my Dowling Golden Lions (R.I.P). The NE-10 has consistently over the past few years been the strongest conference in division 2. Any team is capable of beating another team unless you are American International or Saint Rose. We saw Southern New Hampshire take down the Lemoyne Dolphins in a blizzard last year. Bentley is always a solid team. Assumption is an up and coming team. Those little puppies still have time to grow until they are allowed to play with the big dogs, Adelphi, Merrimack, and Lemoyne. It is really a coin toss with these teams. It just sucks that the strongest will come out beaten and battered going to NCAA playoffs because of the slugfest which is called the NE-10 conference championship. Lemoyne is primed to be the number one team this year. They didn’t graduate much. Adelphi took a hit on defense this year from graduation. Merrimack lost their star power. It’s going to come down to which program can get their underclassman ready the quickest? Who is going to take the path of least resistance?
Sleeper Pick: Mercyhurst Lakers
It’s been all quiet in Lake Erie. Way too quiet. The last few years we have seen the Lakers fly a bit under the radar. They always had solid seasons putting up a good amount of wins only to lose to a team that they shouldn’t have lost to. Mercyhurst has always been a well-coached team with plenty of tradition and personally was one of my favorite teams to play against. They recently moved to the GMAC which on paper is a cupcake conference. They should relatively breeze through their conference schedule. The thorn in the side has been their non-conference schedule. Those god damn Wingate Bulldogs. Now I have a bias but that game is circled on my calendar. It is still a rivalry game. Dowling down South versus the Mercyhurst Lakers. The Lakers dropped this game two years in a row and have a sour pit in their stomachs. If they can jump this hurdle, I believe the Lakers have the green light to do some damage in Division 2 this year.
NCAA Division 3
Pick: Salisbury Sea Gulls
I believe the saying goes, you can beat Coach Berkman once, but you can’t beat him twice. You can’t count out Salisbury. It is a little bit of a crap shoot picking a team for division 3 because there are so many teams with so many different paths to victory. But the Sea Gulls I believe always a good path to victory. They have a weak conference schedule with a couple heavyweight tills sprinkled into between. Salisbury is very well coached and will be ready for the dance.
Sleeper: Tuft Jumbos
Tufts is always in the mix. Can they get out of the NESCAC in one piece? They have done so before, why not again?