(Photo Courtesy of Cornell Athletics)
Although the 2020 NCAA lacrosse season was cut short due to the Coronavirus outbreak, there were still some signs that the game’s growth continued, as this season there were 26 total players from outside of Canada, First Nations, and the United States, as well as one from Puerto Rico across all three divisions of the NCAA. What makes this even more amazing is that there was at least one representative from each continent (besides Antarctica, of course.).
While these are relatively small numbers compared to other sports like basketball, it is an increase from last season, and with the U19 World Championships still slated for this summer, which will surely feature college players playing for various countries, this is a clear step forward.
Here is a look at NCAA lacrosse players that hailed from outside of the United States and Canada during the 2020 season.
It should come as no surprise that Australia had the most players of any country outside of North America, considering that they’ve finished in the top four of every World Lacrosse Championship at the senior level since its inception, and have medaled in 10-of-13 tournaments.
Overall, there were eight Australians in the NCAA this year, with one in Division I, four in Division II, and three in Division III.
Cornell sophomore faceoff man Tim Graham was the only Australian in Division I for the second year in a row, and one of a total of five DI players to come from outside North America. Graham appeared in four out of five games for the Big Red, going 6-for-13 at the faceoff dot, scooping up one ground ball, and registering one shot on goal.
In Division II, Australia’s four players were split evenly between two teams: Coker and Lake Erie.
Coker had freshman attackman Jack Price, who didn’t see any action this season and sophomore midfielder Henry Haskett, who appeared in all eight games for the Cobras and started in one. Haskett recorded 17 goals on only 28 shots, which is good for a 60.7 shooting percentage. He also added two assists, eight ground balls, and three caused turnovers.
Lake Erie featured two juniors from Down Under in midfielder Thomas Polden and goalie Lincoln Potter. Polden appeared in four games, two of which he started, where he scooped up five ground balls. Potter appeared in three games in net for the Storm, starting once, where he stopped 43.5% of the shots he faced, with a goals against average of 13.79.
Division III featured three Aussies this season. Sophomore FOGO Aaron Salter of SUNY Cortland, sophomore midfielder Hamish Mathwin of Westminster (PA), and freshman midfielder Liam Harari of Transylvania.
Salter appeared in two of the Red Dragons’ four games, going 5-for-10 at the faceoff dot and scooping up three ground balls. Mathwin played in all seven games for Westminster, scoring three goals, picking up 10 ground balls, and causing one turnover. Harari played in all six contests for Transylvania, starting twice, where he recorded three points (1G/2A), 10 ground balls, and one caused turnover.
Additionally, Harari has been named to Australia’s 23-man roster for the upcoming U19 World Championships.
Germany led the way amongst European nations with four players playing NCAA lacrosse this season. Division I and II each had one German, while Division III had two.
Per-Anders Olters made history at Vermont last season for becoming the first German player to score a goal in the NCAA, but he did not see any action during his sophomore season for the Catamounts.
Eskander Kian Ben Aissa, a freshman LSM, was the lone German in DII, where he played in five of Maryville’s six games, causing two turnovers, picking up eight ground balls, and going 2-for-6 on faceoffs.
In Division III, St. John Fisher’s senior goalie Darin Eakins started all five games, saving 42.6% and having an 11.39 goals against average. Cooper Fowler, a sophomore midfielder for Becker, did not see any game action.
There were three players this season who hailed from England, one in Division I, and two in Division II.
The lone DI player was LIU captain and graduate student midfielder Alex Russell. He appeared in all seven games for the Sharks in their first season at the DI level, starting six. The England native scored 10 goals and dished our five assists , while also scooping 12 ground balls and causing one turnover.
In Division II, senior midfielder Tim Collins appeared in all seven of Mount Olive’s games, recording five starts. He had 12 points (7G/5A) and scooped up four ground balls. Freshman midfielder Marius Robinson played in all eight games for Mars Hill, starting once, where he scored four goals and recorded one assist. He also scooped up four ground balls.
Somewhat surprisingly, Russia has multiple representatives playing NCAA lacrosse this season, with one player in Division II and one in Division III.
Sophomore Roman Pepelyaev spent this season on the sidelines at DII Westminster (Utah), having spent last season at fellow DII school Adams State, where he was their primary faceoff specialist. Sophomore midfielder Connor Rogers played in seven games for DIII Piedmont, where he tallied 18 points (9G/9A), four ground balls, and one caused turnovers.
Ireland only had one representative playing NCAA lacrosse this year in Princeton’s Cathal Roberts, a sophomore defenseman whose older brother Aran started for the Tigers last season. Roberts played in one game for Princeton this year, causing one turnover and scooping up one ground ball.
Hampton senior defenseman Darren Almodiel was the only player hailing from the continent of Asia this season.
Almodiel played in all five games for the Pirates. He recorded three ground balls in his lone start. He started his college lacrosse career at NJIT before transferring to Hampton following the 2016 season.
Belgium had one representative this season in Mount Olive sophomore attackman Tim De Ceuster.
He appeared in two of Mount Olive’s seven games, causing one turnover and recording one shot.
The only player hailing from a South American country this year was Juan Bohorquez, a Colombian midfielder for first year program Illinois Tech.
The midfielder appeared in both of his team’s games, where he caused one turnover and scooped up one ground ball.
Finland had one player in the NCAA this season in junior defenseman Miska Granlund, who starting all six of DIII Averett’s games. Granlund led the team in caused turnovers with 12, while also picking up 15 ground balls for the Cougars.
*Editors Note: This list is based off of the player’s listed hometown on the team’s roster, but did feel this one case should be mentioned.*
Harvard freshman walk–on Asare-Konadu played high school lacrosse for Edgewater, Fla. where he was a team captain. However, he and his family immigrated to the United States from Ghana. Additionally, his brother, Sam, plays for NAIA powerhouse Aquinas (Mich.).
DII Chestnut Hill’s freshman FOGO William Clarkson was the lone Kiwi playing college lacrosse this year. The Auckland native played in five of his team’s six contests, going 15-for-31 on faceoffs, recording five ground balls, and taking one shot.
Puerto Rico has a promising future in lacrosse, finishing 8th at their first ever World Championships in 2018, with a roster full of Division I players, such as Duke All-American JT Giles-Harris, and 2016 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Scott Bieda.
However, most of those players grew up Stateside. Only one player in 2020 called the island home: Reigs sophomore midfielder Fernando Gomez.
While Gomez did not appear in any games this season, he also plays volleyball for the Lions.
Scotland had one representative this season in junior midfielder Cameron Steer of DIII Medaille.
Steer appeared in all four contests this season, starting three, where he caused two turnovers and scooped up two ground balls.
Sweden had one representative this season, with grad student defenseman Anton Johansson of DIII Springfield. However, Johansson did appear in any games this season.
Africa’s lone representative, and possibly the first ever African player in the NCAA, was Elmira junior midfielder Ravi Chauma of Harare, Zimbabwe. Chauma, in his first season playing, appeared in all five games for Elmira, picking up nine ground balls and causing one turnover.
Chauma also plays Tennis for Elmira.