Colgate Could Be The Patriot League Party Crashers in 2022

(Photo Courtesy of Colgate Athletics)

Down 7-4 late in the third quarter against Boston U. in the Patriot League quarterfinals, Colgate popped off six consecutive goals to push ahead 10-7 with just 9:04 in the fourth and final quarter of play. They then added one more to end the contest on a 7-1 run and advance to the Patriot League semifinals. In that semifinal contest, the Raiders fell to Lehigh 13-9 in a game that saw four ties in the first half of play. It was only a four-goal Lehigh run from late in the second through late in the third that sealed the deal and ultimately ended the Raiders’ season.

Colgate also put up a strong effort in a 13-11 loss against Army West Point the week prior in their regular-season finale, where the Raiders never trailed by more than three goals in the second half and were only down one with just over a minute left before Army’s Brendan Nichtern put in the dagger with 21 seconds left.

This late-season run may have only yielded one win for the Raiders, but what many across the college lacrosse landscape saw was a team that wasn’t afraid of a fight and showed glimpses of what could be in the future, especially given the fact that Matt Karweck’s squad returns a heap of talent production following the 2021 season.

Coming into 2022, Loyola is the likely favorite to win the Patriot League, and the typical names like Lehigh and Army follow them. However, after a strong showing to end the season and with as much talent back as the Raiders return, they look to have all the tools in place to possibly be the party crashers of the conference this spring.

The heaviest amount of returnees can be seen on the defensive end, where the Raiders bring back just about everybody on that end of the field. Senior defenseman Will Sidari (18GB/7CT) and LSM Thor Adamec (27GB/8CT), who led the Raiders in ground balls last season, will both be back. Sidari is the only returning close defenseman who started all 10 games last season. The pair are likely to continue being leaders and top producers on the back end throughout the 2022 season as well.

Additionally, Defenseman Donny Gayhardt (10GB/8CT), D/LSM Aidan Toomey (13GB/4CT), and Michael Lia (8GB/2CT) return for the Raiders. Gayhardt started in six of the seven games he saw action in at close defense and led the team in caused turnovers while Toomey played in all 10 games with seven starts, and Lia played in nine games with seven starts. Reserve defenseman Will Rosenblatt had a strong freshman campaign last season, finishing the season fourth in caused turnovers (5) while also scooping up 11 ground balls.

In cage, two-year starter Sean Collins returns for his senior season after a junior campaign in which he made 123 saves with a 48% save percentage.

Newly promoted defensive coordinator Justin Schneidman has a lot of proven tools in the shed to work with this upcoming season. And after the way this unit finished the season, the Raiders’ defense could very well continue to trend upwards heading into the 2022 season and get back to that 2019 level where they were holding their opponents to an average of under double-digits in goals per game.

Things look very similar on the offensive end for the Raiders coming into the 2022 season, as they return a good chunk of production from last season. However, the graduation of attackmen Mike Hawkins (19G/12A) and James Caddigan (11G/3A) does leave two holes at the attack spot and means the loss of 45 points. Hawkins was the Raiders’ second-leading scorer and top goal-scorer. Caddigan was their fifth-leading scorer last season.

Outside of those two, the Raiders every main contributor on the offensive side of the ball, including leading scorer Brian Minicus (15G/25A). Starting and appearing in nine games last season, the now-senior had a breakout junior campaign in 2021 and was named a second-team All-Patriot League selection. With Hawkins and Caddigan graduated, Minicus is the elder statesman of this offense, which will be a bit younger overall than in years past.

Behind Minicus, Colgate returns sophomore midfielder Jacob Sposita (10G/6A), junior attackman Adam Salvaggio (12G/2A), and senior midfielder Brendan Jordan (8G/6A) all return after seasons in which they saw multiple starts and were top-six scorers for the Raiders. The three combined for 44 points (25% of the offense) last season.

In addition to those three, senior midfielder Marshall Terres (9G/1A), who played in all 10 games and made six starts, and sophomore attackman Michael Minicus (8G/2A), who made three starts and played in all 10 games, will be back and could very well see their roles increase. Alex Pistorius also returns for his junior season after starting the first three games of the 2021 campaign before missing the remainder of the season.

At the faceoff dot, Colgate returns their top option in Thomas Colucci. He stepped up and took over as the Raiders’ primary option at the dot last season and went 100-for-186 (53%). That includes a strong season debut against Holy Cross where he went 19-for-23 (82%).

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