(Photo Courtesy of Lindenwood Athletics)
On Wednesday, Lindenwood University announced that they would be moving up from DII to DI and joining the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC), effective July 1st, 2022.
The move means that the Lions will become the first DI lacrosse program in the state of Missouri and bring the sport back to 75 teams at the DI level. It is expected that the ASUN is a likely landing sport for both the Lions’ men’s and women’s lacrosse programs as the OVC doesn’t sponsor either.
Moving up to the DI level not only means the players on the current roster will be making that jump, but also the players who are already committed in the Lions’ upcoming recruiting classes are now DI commits.
Currently, Lindenwood has 13 players committed in the class of 2022 and 12 of those players signed their National Letter of Intent with the Lions back in the fall. And just like the Lions’ roster, their ’22 class is very geographically diverse with players hailing from eight different states and two Canadian provinces.
Here’s a breakdown of Lindenwood’s 2022 recruiting class, which will be the program’s first incoming class of its DI era.
The Lions have five attackmen signed in the 2022 class in Wesley Scurci (Mars Area, Pa.), John Dahl (Chanhassen, Minn.), Tommy Ortega (Coatesville, Pa.), Flint Thielen (Cherokee Trail, Colo.), and Noah Berger (Centennial, Minn.).
A 5-foot-11, 17-pound lefty, Scurci had a strong junior season in 2021 as he tallied 144 points off 91 goals and 53 assists to help the Fightin’ Planets to a WIPAL AA title, the program’s fifth consecutive. Scurci was named a 2021 US Lacrosse All-American while also being the league Player of The Year and Offensive MVP.
Dahl tallied 39 points off 28 goals and 11 assist to help lead the Storm to a 15-2 record and their first-ever MSHSL state tournament appearance.
One of a multiple multi-sport athletes (football) in the class, Ortega is part of a trailblazing group at Coatesville as they were just moved up from club status to be a full varsity program competing in the PIAA following the 2019 season.
A three-year varsity starter and captain a year ago, Thielen was named a second team All-Conference selection as a junior after putting up 40 points (29G/11A) in 10 games for Cherokee Trail.
Playing both attack and midfield, Berger put up 43 points off 29 goals and 14 assists as a junior earned All-Conference honors as well as being a second team All-Section selection and All-State honorable mention.
Head coach Jim Lange and Lindenwood have three midfielders signed in the 2022 class and one player committed. Those who have put pen to paper include John Copley (Grossmont, Calif.), Jaden Eves (Royal Bay Secondary, BC), and Max Mitcho (Jenks, Okla.). Fionn McTigue (Frisco, Texas) committed to the Lions earlier this month.
Standing 5-foot-9, 175-pounds and playing mostly as a short-stick defensman, Copley could be described as the “Swiss Army Knife” of this class. He has been an impact player and starter on varsity since his freshman season.
A British Columbia native playing for Royal Bay Secondary, Eves is one of two players in the class hailing from north of the border, continuing that Canadian to Lindenwood pipeline. The Lions currently have five players on their roster from Canada and one from British Columbia.
Hailing from the Sooner State, Mitcho is a dual-sport athlete (football) and when he steps on campus in the fall will be one of two players on the roster recruited to Lindenwood out of Oklahoma. He had 25 points (16G/9A) as the top scorer for Jenks last season. He has eight points (6G/2A) through two games thus far as a senior in 2022.
McTigue committed to the Lions on February 12th. At Lindenwood he will join forces with his older brother, Oisin, who transferred in from Cleveland State following last season.
The Lions have signed three defensemen in the class: Zach Dixon (Hartland, Mich.), Kameron Peters (Keller, Texas), and Zack Ough (Episcopal, Va.).
Standing 6-feet, 185-pounds, Dixon and his Hartland team went 20-2 record and were the Michigan State runner-up as year ago.
5-foot-9, 149-pounds, Peters was an All-State selection a year ago and plays mostly at LSM. Peters has been a force through two games in 2022. He had a goal in their opener against McKinney and was named Player of the Game against Plano East, grabbing eight ground balls, causing three turnovers, scoring two goals, and recording three assists.
Hailing from Ontario, Ough is the second player in the class from north of the border. Playing most LSM, the pole helped Episcopal to a 6-4 record and a VISAA state title a season ago.
The lone goalie in the class is Noah Cooper (Southlake, Texas). Standing 6-feet, 160-pounds, he has proved to be one of the best goalies in the Lone Star State, anchoring the Dragons’ defense and at times helping spark transition offense with his strong outlet passes. Cooper and the Dragons are two games into the 2022 season.