(Photo Courtesy of Bucknell Athletics)
*Note: This list only includes TRUE freshmen. Redshirt freshmen are not included.*
The college lacrosse season officially began 53 days ago in Macon, Ga. with a January meeting between Bellarmine and Mercer. Now, believe it or not, only 45 days remain until the final regular season contest, so that means we are just about at the midpoint of the season.
Like each one before it, this season has been filled with freshmen who step up and surprise. Lacrosse Bucket looks back at the action that has been thus far and looks at the true freshmen who have been the most impactful and productive through the midpoint of the 2022 season.
Ryan Cohen, A, Michigan – Asked to step into a starting role due to Bryce Clay suffering a season-ending injury in the fall, Cohen has thrived in this Michigan offense. The 5-foot-9, 185-pound Boca Raton, Fla., native has tallied 35 points (17G/18A) through nine games while helping the Wolverines to a record 7-2.
Connor Davis, A, Bucknell – A day one starter, Davis has asserted himself as one of the better shooters in the country through eight games. He has scored 32 goals while also dishing out two assists for 34 points. Davis leads the nation in goals per game with 4.
Jack McKenna, A, Fairfield – The Stags are off to their best start under Andrew Baxter with a 5-3 record, and much of their success can be attributed to this offense. McKenna is a leader on that end with 29 goals and three assists for 32 points. He is second amongst freshman in goals per game with 3.2 and ranks amongst the top-15 nationally in shooting percentage (50%).
Jackson Intrieri, A, Jacksonville – John Galloway’s Dolphins have been the cinderella of the season thus far with early marquee wins over Duke and Denver, and rising into the top-15. Intrieri has been a big part of that success, notching 28 points off nine goals and 19 assists as a primary feeder for Jacksonville.
Andrew McAdorey, M, Duke – Another year, another stellar freshman from St. Anthony’s finding success in Durham. McAdorey has tallied 28 points off 12 goals and 16 assists through 11 games for the Blue Devils, playing along side Nakeie Montgomery and Aidan Danenza as part of that first midfield.
Ryan Bell, M, Providence – Bell has had an immediate impact upon arriving at Providence, tallying 24 points through seven games with six goals and 18 assists. Bell leads the Friars in assists and is ninth in the nation (top freshman) in assists per game. He is the top feeding midfielder in DI.
Johnny Richiusa, FO, Canisius – Richiusa has come onto the scene strong for the Golden Griffins, going 82-for-155 (52%). He leads all freshmen in faceoff win percentage and is
Brandon Ventarola, SSDM, Dartmouth – Ventarola has been, without a doubt, the best freshman SSDM this season. Helping Dartmouth to a 4-2 start. He has caused the second-most turnovers (7) on the team and has grabbed 13 ground balls.
Joe Azelby, LSM, Dartmouth – Boasting a top-10 defense, Azelby is a big reason for the defensive success that Dartmouth has had this season. The Washington native had grabbed 19 ground balls, caused nine turnovers, and scored a goal through six games.
James Boynewicz, LSM, VMI – The Keydets have multiple freshmen playing a lot of minutes for them this season. Above them all is Boynewicz. Just eight games into his college career, the Virginia Beach native has recorded 12 caused turnovers and scooped up 21 ground balls.
Zack Antoniou, D, Fairfield – The Tampa native has made a big splash with the Stags thus far, helping to serve as their top-producing defenseman in his first year in college lacrosse. Antoniou has recorded a team-high 15 caused turnovers and has also grabbed 17 ground balls through nine contests.
Aidan Murnane, D, Colgate – One of multiple freshmen getting significant playing time for the Raiders’ defense this season, Murnane has stepped up and served as arguably their top pole at close. He has grabbed 12 ground balls while causing 10 turnovers through six games thus far.
Braden Long, D, Bellarmine – Long has been an instant impact player for the Knights since stepping foot on campus. Proving to be a day one starter, he has helped lead Bellarmine’s defense with 17 caused turnovers and 22 ground balls and, along with fifth-year Jon Robbins, is a big reason why Bellarmine ranks No. 1 in caused turnovers (105) and No. 7 in CTs per game (10.50).
Griffin Kology, D, Richmond – Richmond lost some key pieces off that defense a year ago, but they haven’t dropped that far off from where they usual are as one of the top units in the SoCon. A big part of the Spiders’ success can be attributed to the play of Kology, who has scooped up seven ground balls and caused nine turnovers while starting in all seven games.
Matthew Nunes, G, Virginia – A highly-rated recruit, Nunes came in and earned that starting nod in between the pipes for the back-to-back defending national champions. Thus far, the Texas native has thrived in that role with 76 saves and a 51% save percentage. That includes a 16-save game against High Point and 15-save performance against Syracuse.
Matt LaCombe, G, Colgate – LaCombe leads all freshman and is 22nd nationally in save percentage (53%) off 81 saves. Starting in all six of the Raiders’ contests, he put together a 19-save performance in a win over Air Force and then made 17 saves in a Patriot League victory over Lafayette.