(Photo Courtesy of Georgetown Athletics)
As the calendar turns to November it marks the end of fall ball and the beginning of, essentially, the pre-season for NCAA lacrosse. While it is still early and there is only so much you can take from fall ball scrimmages, let’s take a look at who some of the early contenders in each conference are.
When talking about the Big East, the one name that you can’t not mention is Denver. However, after the Pioneers shortcomings over the past few seasons the Big East has seemingly become more open each year.
As mentioned, the Pioneers are the best team on paper in the conference and on the national stage. However, Bill Tierney and his squad missed the NCAA tournament last season for the first time in his tenure at Denver. But they are certainly still a force and the perennial favorites in the Big East.
With senior Ethan Walker leading an impressive offensive unit, the Pioneers will be looking to put up similar numbers as last season. They will have some questions on defense, especially in goal, but with freshman Alec Stahatakis coming in they may have found their next great faceoff man to help lead them back to the top.
The Hoyas are back-to-back defending Big East champions and look to make it a three-peat in 2020. While they did lose some talent, including leading scorer Daniel Bucaro to graduation and sophomore goalie Chris Brandu who transferred out, the Hoyas should be a top-tier team in the conference again.
Georgetown’s offense will be led by senior Jake Carraway who tallied 87 points last season, but their next best-returning scorer is senior midfielder Massimo Bucci who tallied 25 points in 2019. However, with their loses on both sides of the ball, the Hoyas have found ways to prove people wrong over the past few seasons and head coach Kevin Warne and company should still be in the mix due to that.
The Villanova Wildcats seem to always be picked as a dark horse in the Big East, but coach Corrado might finally have something special in Philadelphia this season and over the seasons to come. With a younger core group on both sides of the ball, the time could now for the Wildcats.
Offensively, they return pretty much everybody from last season, including junior attackman Keegan Khan and senior midfielder Connor Kirst. They both combined for 99 points last season to lead the way for the Wildcats. On the defensive end, the Wildcats bring back a solid core group led by redshirt junior Patrick Kennedy and according to reports from fall, Villanova could have the best Short stick defensive midfielder group in the country with Penn grad transfer Jared Warner leading the way.