(Photo Courtesy of North Carolina Athletics)
With the college lacrosse season just months away, Lacrosse Bucket is looking forward and examining some of the top positional units coming into the 2021 season.
Here is a look at some of the top attack units in college lacrosse:
The Duke Blue Devils might very well have the scariest offense that we’ve seen in college lacrosse for quite a while. And that lethality starts at the attack position. Dyson Williams (25G/5A) led the way as a freshman last season, while JP Basile (5G/14A) and Joey Manown (14G/4A), who returns for a fifth season, also had strong seasons as starters. Additionally, the Blue Devils added Princeton grad transfer Michael Sowers who is the Tewaaraton favorite and could be the best attackman the Blue Devils have had since Jordan Wolf. Joe Robertson will also be back after missing last season with a torn ACL and highly-touted freshman Brennan O’Neill could make some serious noise.
The arrival of Chris Gray via the transfer portal immediately took the Tar Heels’ offense to the next level last season. The leader of this revived offense, Gray led the nation with 48 points (27G/21A) during the 2020 season. Expect him to continue being one of the best attackmen in the nation in 2021. Alongside Gray, Nicky Soloman (13G/16A) and Brian Cameron (10G/5A) return as starters from last season. Alex Trippi (10G/7A), who served as the Tar Heels’ primary reserve attackman last season will also return and could see much-increased production and time this season.
Last season, the Hoyas’ starting attack line accounted for over 50% of their offensive production. And it doesn’t look like that will change in 2021. Jake Carraway (23G/11A) was handed the keys to this offense last season and flourished. Returning for a fifth season, expect another strong season from the Annapolis, Md., native. Dylan Watson (23G/2A) had a breakout season last year and could very well put up similar numbers in 2021. Colgate grad transfer Nicky Petkevich is a huge addition to this offense and is expected to tear it up this season just as he did the past four seasons in the Patriot League.
The Cavaliers lose 26 points off last year’s squad with the graduation of Michael Kraus. However, they still return leading-scorer Matt Moore (19G/16A) and Ian Laviano (11G/3A). Virginia also landed the services of Merrimack grad transfer Charlie Bertrand, who is expected to step right into that QB role. Payton Cormier (12G/7A) and highly-touted redshirt freshman Connor Shellenberger are both natural attackmen who will likely play midfield mostly this season but could see some time at attack if needed.
Griffin Westlin (6G/10A) and Pat Kavanagh (10G/6A) has very strong sophomore and freshman campaigns last season, and Wheaton Jackoboice (8G/3A) put up another solid season as a junior. This attack line only got better and deeper over the summer, as the Irish added two stud grad transfer attackman in Will York (Bucknell) and Sean Lahey (Providence).
Last season, the Pioneers housed one of the best, young-ish, offenses in the Big East. And Ethan Walker (15G/10A), who is one of the best shooters in college lacrosse, was a big part of that offense once again. Denver also returns JJ Sillstrop (10G) at the attack spot after a stellar freshman season and adds Yale grad transfer, Jackson Morrill.
Losing a generational-type player like Grant Ament is never easy. But this Penn State attack unit should still be as killer as ever without him. Mac O’Keefe (28G/8A) will be running the show this season, alongside TJ Malone (16G/7A). Dylan Foulds (12G/4A) and Jack Traynor (11G/2A) could see time at either attack or midfield again this season, and redshirt freshman Canyon Birch could step up big time at attack.