Since the Transfer Portal came into existence in the fall of 2018, it has changed the game of lacrosse. The portal not only gives coaches another tool to address needs but it also gives players a chance to test the waters and see what their stock is, or find a new home easier than ever before.
Due to the NCAA’s ruling that granted players and extra year of eligibility, this summer saw more transfers (grad and undergrad) than every before. It truly felt like college lacrosse free agency. And while names like Michael Sowers (Princeton to Duke), Jackson Morrill (Yale to Denver), and Connor Kirst (Villanova to Rutgers) dominated headlines, there are plenty of less notable players that entered the portal this offseason and could make a major impact at their new team.
These guys might not be household names, but they will certainly be key pieces for their respective teams this spring.
Morgan Macko, Attack, Marquette From Bellarmine
A grad transfer, Macko elected to head to up to Milwaukee to spend his final season of eligibility with the Marquette Golden Eagles. A three-year starter for Bellarmine, Macko was consistently one of the biggest offensive threats on Knights’ roster during his time with the SoCon program. Through 45 career games, the 6-foot, 190-pound attackman tallied 94 points (61G/33A). Marquette started two freshman, Devon Cowan and Jake Stegman, and a senior, Ryan Fazio, at attack last season. With all three back, Macko provides more talent depth and experience at the position and has a serious chance to either start or be their top reserve day one.
Eric Wenz, Defense, Ohio State From Hofstra
Wenz got more attention this offseason than anyone else on this list, but he still wasn’t a headlining name by any means. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound grad transfer was a two-year starter at Hofstra. He recorded 20 ground balls and 12 caused turnovers last season and was well on track to double his totals from 2019 when the season was cut short. A long, rangy, and experienced defender, Wenz is more than capable of stepping in and being a force on the back end for the Buckeyes. Alongside fifth-year returnee Jeff Henrick, Wenz will help make arguably the best defense in the Big Ten even better.
Ian Groom, Faceoff, Hartford From Hampton
The top faceoff man for Hampton the past two seasons, Groom amassed a career total of 281 faceoff wins out of 429 attempts (65%). He finished the 2019 season ranked third nationally in faceoff percentage. Hartford trotted out DIII Wilkes University transfer Andrew Moynihan as their primary guy last season and he was solid, going 51% on the year. Groom should be in contention for that top spot and even if he isn’t their number one guy, the one-two punch that Hartford now has at the faceoff dot is pretty solid.
Jon Dugenio, Faceoff, Rutgers From St. John’s
Rutgers was the worst team in the Big Ten and third-worst in the nation in faceoff win percentage last season. That’s why Dugenio is arguably the biggest addition to this Scarlet Knights’ roster. As a freshman last season at St. John’s, the New Jersey native went 113-for-205 (.551) at the dot. That included an 80% performance against Rutgers. Dugenio ranked 3rd nationally in faceoffs won and 35th nationally in win percentage. He’ll naturally step in and take over that top spot, and with him being a sophomore he will continue to grow and develop
Justin Scott, A/M, Delaware From Hobart
A mid-year transfer, Scott was a three-year starter at Hobart and one of the Statesmen’s more formidable shooting threats on one of the most electric offenses in the nation. Playing attack and midfield, he tallied 122 points (96G/26A) during his time at Hobart and ranks fifth in career goals during their DI era. Delaware returns their entire starting attack line of Charlie Kitchen, Tye Kurtz, and Mike Robinson who combined for 74 points last season. Scott, with his elite shooting ability, only deepens the Hens’ offense and should be a big asset, whether as a starter or top reserve at either the attack or midfield spot. He’s simply too good a player to not see the field.
Jack Zullo, Goalie, Saint Joseph’s From Notre Dame
With Mike Adler transferring out for his final season of eligibility, Saint Joseph’s has a huge spot to fill in cage. Enter Zullo. A grad transfer from Notre Dame with three years of eligibility left, Zullo saw seven appearances over four seasons in South Bend. He started four games in 2019, going 2-2 and making 43 saves with a .518 save percentage. The Rockville Centre, N.Y., native has more experience than any other goalie on that roster and could very well be the next man up in between the pipes on Haw Hill.
Mitch Wykoff, LSM, Syracuse From Gettysburg (DIII)
Syracuse lost LSM Jared Fernandez to transfer and defenseman Nick Mellen elected to not come back for a fifth season, leaving some holes on that back end. Whether they play him at LSM or close, Wykoff can certainly fill in some of those gaps. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound defenseman grad transfer started 64 games during his career at Gettysburg, recording a career total of 57 caused turnovers, 274 ground balls, and 13 points (11G/2A). Described as a “a plug-in defenseman at any level,” by Inside Lacrosse’s Dan Kaplan, his versatility is most certainly going to allow him to make an impact in some way, shape, or form at Syracuse this season.
Jimmy McAfee, SSDM, Villanova From Amherst (DIII)
Villanova has housed one of the nation’s best SSDM units over the past few seasons. That looks to be the case again in 2021, especially with McAfee hopping on board. A grad transfer, McAfee saw action in 61 games and recorded 71 points (36G/35A), scooped up 199 ground balls, and caused 38 turnovers during his time at Amherst. Plugging McAfee into this unit alongside Chet Comizio, who had a strong 2020 campaign, creates a deadly situation at the SSDM spot on this Villanova roster, once again.