(Photo Courtesy of Robert Morris 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 NEC is never easy to gauge. Last season, Robert Morris was sitting with a 1-7 record in late March before going on an eight-game winning streak to win the NEC and get that NCAA tournament bid. While the Colonials will likely be contenders again in 2020, Hobart and Mount St. Mary’s will also have a chance to make some serious noise.
Losing their leading scorer in Tyson Gibson and goalie Alex Heger is a big hit for the Colonials, but they do return their second and third-leading scorers from last season in junior attackman Corson Kealey and senior attackman Ryan Smith. Additionally, Austin Popovich and Jake Boudreau look to take a bigger role in 2020, as well. This may be a bit of a different look Robert Morris team than in past years but they certainly have the talent, especially on the offensive end to sit atop the NEC.
The Statesmen really took a big step in 2019, going 11-5 after a 4-10 2018 season. Hobart looks to continue their success in 2020 with four of their top five scorers returning from last season, including leading scorer Eric Holden. With Stephen Brundage taking over as the offensive coordinator and progress seen in fall, the Statesmen could have the best offense in the conference. Additionally, their defense is solid with junior Sam Lucchesi returning in goal and the other returners on that side of the field, including defenseman PJ Delpha and LSM Dan Ryan.
Mount St. Mary’s
Mount St. Mary’s had a phenomenal season last year with senior attackman Chris Dipretoro leading the way. With Dipretoro graduated some of the younger guys they had last season will have to step up and take the lead. Offensively, the Mountaineers return senior attackman Brenden McCarthy and junior midfielder Luke Frankeny who was their second and third leading scorers from last season. Additionally, junior goalie Dylan Furnback- who was named the 2019 NEC Defensive Player of The Year- returns, as well.