(Photo Courtesy of Marist 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.
The MAAC always seemed to take some weird twist and turns, especially in the conference tournament. However, just as open as the conference may seem at times, the MAAC does always have one or two teams sitting atop the rest each and every year. In 2020, Marist may be the early favorite but, as always, Quinnipiac should arise as top dogs, as well.
Things are looking good in Poughkeepsie after proving everyone wrong last season, winning the MAAC in 2019, and being one of the most talked about teams this fall after their showing at the Colleluori Classic against Navy and Lehigh.
Marist’s offensive firepower is what really sets them apart from the rest of the pack in the MAAC. The are, indeed, a buzzsaw type of offense. With junior attackman Jake Weinman and sophomore attackman JoJo Pirreca back after both putting up 41 and 35 points last season, this offense has a great pair at the attack position. In the midfield, senior Joe Tierney- who switched to midfield last season- and sophomore Jamison Embury run the show. This is an offense that immediately puts the rets of the MAAC on alert. While Marist does return junior goalie Jack MacGregor their defense is where they lost the most to graduation, losing two defensemen. But with defensemen Sam Ahlgrim and Tyler Ammirato back they shouldn’t have too many lapses and get that unit gelling pretty quick.
Last year could be called a cinderella year for Quinnipiac with then interim head coach Mason Poli leading them to the MAAC championship game despite all the off-field issues they had in the fall. Poli has been elevated to full head coach and the Bobcats look ready to make another run in 2020.
While Quinnipiac does lose a lot on both sides of the field due to graduation they still have some serious talent that should help lead them this season, especially on the offensive end. Junior attackman Jake Tomsik and sophomore midfielder Will Abbott are the Bobcats’ top two returning scorers and should be catalysts’ on the offensive end again this season. Defensively, the Bobcats only key returners are junior LSM Matt Di Lella sophomore goalie Nick DiMuccio. Quinnipiac may struggle a bit early on with the amount of new faces, but this is a program that always seems to pull off surprises.
After Marist and Quinnipiac the next two in the MAAC look to be Canisius and Detroit Mercy. The Griffins and Titans both return some very good young talent from last season, but do lose some talent to graduation. Both of these teams have the ability to break through and make a run in 2020, but they will need to put all the pieces