(Photo Courtesy of Lafayette Athletics)
The 2021 season was a season in which grad transfers and fifth-year players seemed to dominate the landscape. However, as usual, there were teams that relied heavily on freshmen for production on both ends of the field.
Here is a look at some of the teams who saw the most production from true freshmen during the 2021 campaign:
The Leopards haven’t won a game since February 23rd of 2019, but the future could be much brighter in Easton with how heavily Pat Myers’ squad leaned on freshmen this past season. Peter Lehman (19G/4A), who was named the Patriot League Rookie of The Year, and Charlie Cunniffe (13G/11A) started every single game at attack while fellow freshmen attackmen Carter Cecil (11G/6A) Kalman Kraham (9G/4A) each saw multiple starts at the position. Additionally, John Mathes (13G/1A) saw eight starts at midfield and Aidan Kelly served as the Leopard’s backup faceoff man, going 35-for-109 (32%) and scooping up 17 ground balls. Defensively, Noah Mendoza started all 11 games at close defense and ended the season third in ground balls (23), and caused turnovers (10).
Of the eight NCAA quarterfinalists, no team saw more production from freshmen than the Georgetown Hoyas. TJ Haley led the nation in assists with 49 while also adding five goals to end the season with 54 points and earning praise as not only one of the top freshmen but top attackmen overall in college lacrosse. Dylan Hess made similar headway at the midfield, making an impact at both ends and ending the season with 17 goals and seven assists for 24 points while also scooping up 23 ground balls and causing four turnovers. And on the defensive end, the Hoyas saw both LSM Wallace Halpert (27GB/10CT) and defenseman Will Tominovich (23GB/9CT), who made 10 starts, make massive impacts.
Bryant’s top-10 scorers put up 213 points this past season, 80 (or 37%) of which came from true freshmen. Attackman Bennett Albladian highlighted the true freshmen offensive effort, recorded 37 points off 29 goals and eight assists as the Bulldogs’ second-leading point-getter and top goal scorer, while midfielder’s Aidan Goltz (16G/2A) and Mason Drouin (11G/4A), and attackman Isaiah Davis (9G/1A) also contributed. Additionally, Nathan Laliberte served as one of the Bulldogs’ top options at the faceoff dot, going 82-for-137 (59%), and Jon Miller (1G/3A/19GB/6CT) made an impact on both ends at the midfield spot.
Joe Amplo and Navy brought in a stellar freshman class, and from day one the impact of that heralded 2020 recruiting class was seen. Jackson Bonitz started all nine games at close defense for the Midshipmen and certainly made a name for himself as one of the top freshmen in the nation this past season. Bonitz recorded 10 caused turnovers and 25 ground balls, while also scoring a goal. Additionally, Jon Jarosz appeared and started in all but one of Navy’s contests at midfield and ended the year as the team’s third-leading point-getter with 17 points off 12 goals and five assists. Dane Swanson also found a great deal of success at the midfield spot, starting and appearing in five games and ending the season as a top-10 scorer with eight points (5G/3A).
Canisius Golden Griffins
Mark Miyashita’s squad saw freshmen play a massive role in nearly every position this past season. Attackman Keegan Kozack (19G/5A) and midfielder Hunter Parucki (7G/9A) started in all 10 of the Golden Griffins’ contests and were top-three scorers with 24 and 16 points on the season to help lead the way for the Canisius offense. Jackson Webster (3G/2A) and Andrew Schermerhorn (2G/2A) were also top-10 point-getters for the Golden Griffins while Jacob Pahnke proved to be a leader on the back end, appearing in all 10 games and ranking second in ground balls with 29 and third in caused turnovers with seven.
Duke Blue Devils
The Duke Blue Devils came into the season with the most hyped freshman of all time in Brennan O’Neill on their roster. And while the attackman did live up to the hype during his first season in Durham, tallying 55 points off 45 goals and 10 assists to be the Blue Devils’ second-leading scorer, O’Neill isn’t the only freshman who made a big impact for Duke this past season. Jake Naso emerged as the Blue Devils’ top faceoff man, going 227-for-361 (62%) and asserting himself as one of the top faceoff men in the nation this past season. Additionally, Aidan Danenza (5G/8A) put together a solid season as a reserve midfielder, putting up 13 points off five goals and eight assists as a top-10 scorer.