(Photo Courtesy of Boston U. Athletics)
Ryan Polley has built Boston U. lacrosse from scratch and the rise has been fairly quick.
After going 2-12 during their inaugural season in 2014, the Terriers went 6-8 in 2015 and 8-7 in 2017, where they made the Patriot League Tournament for the first time in program history. And since then, winning around 8-12 games per season and making the postseason has been the norm for the Terriers.
However, there is one hump that they have not been able to get over: the Patriot League Semifinals. They lost to Army, 10-7, in 2017, Loyola, 13-8, in 2018, and Lehigh, 10-9, in 2019.
Before the season was cancelled due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the Terriers went 3-3 overall and had their worst start since their inaugural season. The loss of Chris Gray, who transferred to North Carolina following the 2019 season, was noticeable, in addition to the very young core they had, especially on offense. But coming into 2021, things could look different. In fact, 2021 could be more than just a bounce back year for the Terriers. It could also be the year that they get over that conference semifinals hump and possibly make a run for the big dance.
But while there is certainly reason for optimism around this program heading into the 2021 season, they will have to replace some key figures on the defensive end. First and foremost, they lose a three-year starter in goal with the graduation of Joe McSorley. The Forest Hills, Md. native has been the backbone of the Terriers’ defense for the past three seasons. He racked up 74 saves with a (54%) save percentage last season.
The Terriers will also have to replace two of the best LSMs in the nation in Reece Eddy (31GB/16CT) and Chase Levesque (22GB/9GB). The duo wrecked havoc and were the best poles on the Terriers’ defense. They were also able to spark a lot of transition, which the Terriers seemed to lean a bit more on this past season than in years past.
However, if they can plug those holes in goal and at the LSM spots with guys that are in the same neighborhood, talent wise, as the guys they lost, they should be good. And they do return some other key guys on defense, including junior defenseman Will Carson (7GB/6CT), and some younger guys that should be able to step into a bigger role and succeed after seeing some minutes during 2020.
Now where the real improvement and cohesiveness should be seen in this Terriers team come February should be on the offensive end. While they don’t have that premier attackman to lean on like they have in the past, there is a ton of experienced youth that could make some serious headway after a decent showing this past season.
The Terriers will return every single one of their top ten scorers from a year ago, including their entire starting attack line of Sophomore Vine D’Alto (14G/7A), sophomore Louis Perfetto (8G/9A), and junior Timmy Ley (8G/5A).
At the midfielder, junior Jake Cates (7G/5A), senior Tommy Nook (2G/7A) both return. The two were the only midfielders to garner starts in all six of the Terriers’ contests last season.
With this mush cohesiveness among players who were full-time starters last season, in addition to multiple others who made an impact and will be back, the Terriers’ offense should take a pretty big step forward and could be pretty dangerous during the upcoming season. And look for D’Alto to be driver of the offense and their primary target, just as he was for the majority of the season last spring.
If that offense can get going and Sean Christmas, who went 68-for-109 (62%) at the faceoff dot last season, can keep ensuring possessions and some of these newer faces show up big time on defense, this could possibly be much more than just a bounce back season for Boston U.