Breakout Players From 2021: Defense

(Photo Courtesy of Loyola Athletics)

The 2021 season is in the books by nearly two weeks. And while this past season was like any other, we still witnessed players across the landscape put together breakout seasons. Over the next week, Lacrosse Bucket will be highlighting some of the players who broke out at each position during the 2021 season.

Here is a look at some of this season’s breakout players on the defensive end of the field:

*Note: Goalies are not included in this list. A separate list for specialist list will be released.*

Patrick Morrison, Defense, Boston U.

After not starting a single game and only recording one ground ball during the shortened 2020 season as a freshman, Morrison made some serious headway during the 2021 season. Morrison led the Terriers in ground balls with 38 while being second in caused turnovers with 11.

Matt Hughes, Defense, Loyola

Following his transfer from Mercer after a solid freshman season with the Bears in 2018, Hughes took a medical redshirt in 2019 and in 2020 only saw action in four games and grabbed two ground balls. However, in 2021 he took his play to a whole other level, starting all 16 games while leading the Greyhounds in caused turnovers (22) and scooping up 39 ground balls.

Christian Clifford, Defense, Manhattan

A first-time starter in 2021, Clifford made his mark as a leader on the back end. Clifford led the Jaspers in caused turnovers with 21 and ground balls with 20.

Jared Reinson, Defense/LSM, Johns Hopkins

Starting all 13 games at close defense after being an LSM for the first two seasons of his career, Reinsn led the Blue Jays in caused turnovers with 17 while also grabbing 37 ground balls. He led the Big Ten in caused turnovers per game (1.31).

Roy Meyer, LSM, Boston U.

Being tasked with stepping into the role as the Terriers’ top LSM, Meyer took the challenge and shined during his sophomore campaign in 2021. Meyer led the Terriers in caused turnovers with 26 while being second in ground balls with 32.

Grayson Sallade, SSDM, Virginia

In 2019, Sallade missed time due to injury and in 2020 he only saw action in five of the six games Virginia got in due to an injury. But in 2021, Sallade put together his best and most compete season to date, scooping up 54 ground balls, causing 13 turnovers, and putting up five points off four goals and an assists as the Cavaliers’ top SSDM.

Donovan Lacey, SSDM, Sacred Heart

A fist-team All-NEC selection, Lacey put together the best season of his career. The defensive midfielder led the Pioneers in caused turnovers with 14 and ground balls with 42, in addition to putting up six points (3G/3A).

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