(Photo Courtesy of LIU Athletics)
*Note: This article was contributed to Lacrosse Bucket by Ian Stephenson and only includes teams who played in 2021. This list is based on the listed hometown of the players.*
During the 2021 college lacrosse season, 28 players at the NCAA level across all three divisions hailed from outside of Canada, First Nations, and the United States. Of those 28 players, 14 of them suited up in DII while 12 played at the DIII level, and two were on DI rosters.
While these are relatively small numbers compared to other sports like basketball, it is a small increase from last season (26) and is a sizable difference from 2019 when only 17 played hailed from outside of North America.
Here is a look at NCAA lacrosse players that hailed from outside of the United States and Canada during the 2021 season.
Unsurprisingly, Australia once again led the way with the highest number of NCAA players of any country outside of North America with eight layers (not including Cornell’s Tim Graham) hailing from Down Under this past season. Six of those eight players suited up in DII while two played DIII ball.
In Division II, two teams featured multiple Aussies: Coker and Lake Erie.
Coker featured a trio of Australians with freshman attackman Cal Gibson, sophomore attackman Jack Price, and junior midfielder Henry Haskett all suiting up for the Cobras in 2021. Gibson appeared and started in 13 of the Cobras’ 14 games this season, tallying 30 points off 19 goals and 11 assists, which included an 11-goal outing against Mars Hill, and recording a point in all but one of the games in which he played. He also scooped up 27 ground balls and caused four turnovers.
Haskett appeared in all fourteen games, making eight starts, where he set career highs in points (26), goals (19), assists (7), ground balls (12), and caused turnovers (4). He also went 2-for-2 from the faceoff X. Price did not see any game action this past season.
Lake Erie had a pair of seniors at the back end in defenseman Thomas Polden and goalie Lincoln Potter. Potter started all thirteen games in net for the Storm, posting a 49.2% save percentage with 14.8 goals-against average. Polden played in nine games where he recorded one assist, seven ground balls, and caused three turnovers.
Chowan’s freshman midfielder Harrison Buckman rounded out the Australian contingent in Division II, appearing in 10 games where he had one assist and six ground balls.
In Division III, there were a pair of sophomore midfielders representing Australia in Hamish Mathwin of Westminster (PA) and Liam Harari of Transylvania. Mathwin appeared in twelve of Westminster’s fourteen games, recording 21 goals (seven coming on man-up opportunities) and 6 assists while also grabbing nine ground balls and causing two turnovers. Harari did not see game action for the Pioneers.
Just behind Australia is England, who had five players spread across all three divisions this past season.
Alex Russell was one of two non-North American players on a Division I roster in 2021 and the only one to see game action. The graduate midfielder served as a captain for LIU, where he appeared in 11 games (10 starts), and put up 20 points off 15 goals and five assists. Russell also scooped up 12 ground balls.
There were three Englishmen in Division II this season. Limestone graduate goalie William Baxter, who started for England at the World Games in Netanya in 2018, came over for his first season of NCAA lacrosse this season and posted an impressive 54.7% save percentage and 9.3 goals-against average while starting in all 12 games for the Saints.
Tim Collins, a fifth-year midfielder, appeared in fourteen games for Mount Olive as they reached the NCAA tournament. Collins put up nine goals and 11 assists for 20 points while also picking up 11 ground balls and going 6-for-13 on faceoffs. Sophomore midfielder Marius Robinson appeared in seven games for Mars Hill, starting in two contests where he recorded 2 ground balls.
In Division III, junior defenseman Joshua Grahame played in 5 of Ursinus’ 6 games, starting four of them. He picked up six ground balls.
Germany had three representatives in college lacrosse this season with one in each division. Vermont junior attackman Per-Anders Olters and Maryville (DII) sophomore LSM Eskander Kian Ben Aissa failed to see any game action, but graduate goaltender Darin Eakins of DIII St. John Fisher started all 16 games this season. Eakins posted a 50.5% save percentage with 10.56 goals-against average while anchoring the Cardinals’ defense and helping lead them to the NCAA Tournament.
Russia had two representatives this season in junior faceoff man Roman Pepelyaev of DII Westminster (UT) and junior midfielder Connor Rogers of DIII Piedmont. Pepelyaev played in six games for the Griffins, winning 8 of his 21 faceoff attempts, while also picking up five ground balls, and causing one turnover. Rogers played in 11 games (one start), and recorded 21 points off six goals and 15 assists. He also recorded 12 ground balls and caused one turnover.
The 2021 season saw two Swedes playing college lacrosse in DIII with freshman goalie Viktor Wennberg at Northland and graduate defenseman Anton Johansson at Springfield. Wennberg made 13 saves while allowing 20 goals in three games. Johansson did not see any action.
DII Mount Olive junior midfielder Tim De Ceuster carried the flag for Belgium this season, appearing in just one game for the Trojans.
Asia’s lone representation this past season came from DIII Emerson where freshman defenseman Shawn Zhang saw action in both of the Lions’ two contests.
Colombia was the only South American nation with a representative playing NCAA lacrosse this past season with sophomore midfielder Juan Bohorquez suiting up for DIII Illinois Tech. Bohorquez saw action in eight games with one start. He recorded one goal, four ground balls, and caused two turnovers.
A country more known for hockey, Finland had one lacrosse player this season: DIII Lebanon Valley’s sophomore midfielder Alex Kiviniemi. He did a bit of everything for the Dutchmen, appearing in all 13 games (seven starts), where he recorded 20 goals, three assists, 34 ground balls, and 9 caused turnovers. He also went 18-for-73 at the faceoff dot.
It came as a shock to me that the tiny nation of Luxembourg would have any NCAA lacrosse players, but lo and behold, redshirt freshman goalie Ash Kolz saw limited action for DII Felician, making 2 saves and allowing 6 goals in 2 games.
Yes, Mexico doesn’t fit the bill as a non-North American nation. However, in the lacrosse world, when someone says North America they are usually referring to Canada, the United States, or Iroquois. However, our southern neighbors had a representative playing NCAA lacrosse during the 2021 season with Alex Guoterrez appearing in two games and collecting one ground ball at the LSM spot for DIII Franciscan.
DII Georgian Court sophomore midfielder Thomas Currie was the lone player in the NCAA hailing from New Zealand this past season. He appeared in three games for the Lions.
Finally, Africa’s lone representative in college lacrosse: Zimbabwe native Ravi Chauma of DIII Elmira. The senior midfielder played in seven games, collecting eight ground balls and causing six turnovers.
Perhaps even more surprising than finding a Luxembourger as I looked through the rosters of every NCAA lacrosse team was finding a Hawaiian. Sophomore midfielder Zackery Devers of Kapolei, HI started all nine games for DIII Allegheny this season and finished the season on the team in goals (16) and points (25), and tied for first in assists (9), while also recording 11 ground balls.