Previewing The 2022 Patriot League Tournament

(Photo Courtesy of Boston U. Athletics)

The 2022 Patriot League Men’s Lacrosse Tournament will get underway on Tuesday, May 3rd with the quarterfinals. The semifinals and title game will be played on Thursday and Saturday.

In the quarterfinals, the highest seed will play host. The semifinals and championship game will take place in Boston as top-seeded Boston U. will play host.

The Bracket

(Note: After the quarterfinals, the highest remaining seed will move to play Army and lowest remaining seed will play Boston U.)

The Teams

No. 1 Boston U. (10-4, 7-1 Patriot League)

The Terriers weren’t widely viewed as the Patriot League’s top team coming into the season, but after a regular season with only one blemish (Army) on their resume in conference play and their only losses out of league play coming to Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, they have proven to be just that.

Star Player: Vince D’Atlo, Attack

Boston U. has proven to have one of the deeper and more talented offenses in the conference. But at the helm of it is attackman Vince D’Alto, who often drawing the most attention from opposing defenses. He put up 70 points off 43 goals and 27 assists as the Terriers’ leader on offense during the regular season.

X-Factor: Connor Calderone, Faceoff

The X-factor for this Terriers squad lies at the faceoff dot with Connor Calderone. A Maryland transfer, Calderone came in over the offseason and addressed the biggest weakness of this squad, and has thus been a major impact on their successful season. Calderone has gone 213-for-272 (57%) at the dot thus far this season.

Player to Watch: Roy Meyer, D/LSM

Meyer is the headliner of a Terriers defense that is one of the bigger and most athletic defenses in the conference. He arguably one of the most versatile poles in the league, playing mostly LSM but having immense success at close for the past four games in that spot Patrick Morrison held before suffering an injury midseason that held him out for three games. Meyer has currently recorded 43 caused turnovers, grabbed 63 ground balls, and notched four points (1G/3A)

No. 2 Army West Point (11-3, 6-2 Patriot League)

The Black Knights may be coming into the postseason hotter and more confident than any other team in the conference, having served Boston U. their only conference loss of the season last week, and doing so in a way that further showed their offensive depth.

Star Player: Brendan Nichtern, Attack

Nichtern bursted onto the scene as a freshman and has never left, being a headliner for this Army program and Patriot League as a whole year after year. The senior has continued his impressive career this season, ascending to the top of the record books at West Point as the program’s all-time leader in points and assists. He has 86 points off 35 goals and 51 assists on the season thus far.

X-Factor: Wyatt Schupler, Goalie

Schupler hasn’t had the best outings as of recent, but when he is on he is on. Anchoring this defense for three seasons now, Schupler has showcased himself as one of the best goalies in the league and constantly proves to be the difference. He has 160 saves with a 52% save percentage thus far in 2022.

Player to Watch: James Pryor, SSDM

An absolute menace, Pryor makes plays all over the field. Highlighting the Black Knights’ rope unit, the midfielder has put together the best season of his career with 10 caused turnovers, 22 ground balls, three goals and three assists. Pryor not only makes an impact on the defensive end but is also a major part of the transition game for the Black Knights, aiding in their early offense and helping them to an 87% mark in the clearing game.

No. 3 Loyola (7-7, 6-2)

Similar to last season, the Loyola Greyhounds’s season has been defined, in many ways, by inconsistency. Wins over Duke and Lehigh, a close losses to Rutgers and Johns Hopkins, a loss to Towson, and a blowout loss to Boston U., and a blowout win against Navy. That’s all part of their resume this season. But as of recent, the Greyhounds have been the kings of overtime, beating Colgate and Lehigh in an extra frame each of the past two weeks.

Star Player: Kevin Lindley, Attack

The Patriot League’s all-time scoring leader, Lindley has continued to be a scoring threat throughout his fifth season with the Greyhounds. He leads the team in goals with 33 of the season while also having dished out four assists for 37 points on the season.

X-Factor: Payton Rezanka, SSDM

One of the most consistent players on an inconsistent team, Rezanka has been the leader of what is a pretty good rope unit for the Greyhounds. Rezanka has proven himself to be one of the best defensive midfielders in college lacrosse, causing 27 ground balls and grabbing 31 ground balls this season while also having three goals and one assist. Rezanka makes plays all over the field and when he is on this team has a much better chance of winning than when he’s not.

Player to Watch: Davis Lindsey, Attack

The Greyhounds have multiple players who can and have stepped up in recent weeks and through the season. Lindsey, a sophomore, had a breakout game against Georgetown (2G/3A) and then after not playing against Colgate got his first career start against Lehigh where he dished out four assists. Lindsey is a playmaker to keep your eye on for this Loyola squad.

No. 4 Lehigh (7-6, 5-3 Patriot League)

Star Player: Mike Sisselberger, Faceoff

Sisselberger bursted onto the college lacrosse scene last spring, proving himself to be one of the best faceoff men in the game and thus assert himself as the face of the franchise for this Lehigh program. Sisselberger hasn’t been as strong this season as last, having some hiccups which include not so stellar performances each of the last two games. However, he is still one of the best in the conference with a 62% mark on the year, going 193-for-309.

X-Factor: James Spence, Goalie

The Mountain Hawks have a top five defense nationally, allowing an average of 9.42 goals per game. Anchoring that successful unit is James Spence. The now five-year starter has been a consistent playmaker since arriving in Bethlehem and has continued that trend this season, making 141 saves with a 53% save percentage. Often times, when Spence is on this defense, as a whole is on.

Player to Watch: Justin Tiernan, Midfield

One of two starting midfielders to suffer a potential season-ending injury ahead of the season, Tiernan has come back in recent weeks and played in each of the last three games. That includes last week’s contest against Loyola where he had a hat trick. Tiernan’s presence adds even more talent and depth to this unit, and could be crucial in the postseason.

No. 5 Navy (9-5, 5-3 Patriot League)

It’s been an up and down year headlined by growth for the Midshipmen. They started the year with an upset loss against Mount St. Mary’s, but has recently picked up some steam with a big win over Army, as well as a victory over Bucknell to close out the season. Can they make some noise in May?

Star Player: Patrick Skalniak, Midfielder

The leader of a solid Navy midfield unit, defenses have been forced to focus on Skalniak all season long as he has been the headliner of that offense. Expect that to remain the same in the postseason as he will be the go-to guy again. He leads the Midshipmen with 44 points off 25 goals and 19 assists.

X-Factor: Nate Hammond, Faceoff

Hammond hasn’t had the best season overall, but each of the past few weeks he has shown clear improvement and come up big. He went 14-for-27 (51%) against Army and 10-for-16 (62%) against Bucknell. Hammond’s ability to get hot is crucial.

Player to Watch: Jackson Bonitz, Defense

A top defensive recruit coming into his college career last season, Bonitz has very much lived up to the hype. The Navy defense may not be as strong as they were a year ago, but Bonitz is still very much a leader on that end with 17 caused turnovers and 35 ground balls. He also has a goal as he can take it up field himself when needed.

No. 6 Bucknell (9-5, 3-5 Patriot League)

Bucknell has been occupying this spot all season long. The Bison had a strong start to the season with convincing wins against non-conference opponents, but in Patriot League play they just haven’t been able to stick it to any of the big boys yet. Although they have been close at times with one-goal losses to both Army and Lehigh.

Star Player: Connor Davis, Attack

Playing and starting in 13 of the Bison’s 14 games, Davis has made his mark this season as one of the best and most productive freshman in college lacrosse. A goal-scoring machine, Davis has put in a team-high 44 on the season while also dishing out seven assists.

X-Factor: The Ride

Bucknell has deployed a pretty successful ride this season with a number of attackmen that can really get after it. The Bison have held their opponents to a 77% mark (259-of-333) in the clearing game this season. That success has helped them in many games this season and they will likely need if they want to keep their season alive.

Player to Watch: Whoever is in Goal

It has been musical goalies at Bucknell this season. A pair of freshmen in Max Nolan and Rich O’Halloran have started a combined 13 games while senior Jack Van Slyke started last time out. Neither of the three, and especially Nolan and O’Halloran, have had bad seasons overall. It’ll be interesting to see who Bucknell goes with on Tuesday and how they perform.

Tanner’s Picks

Quarterfinals

Loyola vs Bucknell: Loyola

Lehigh vs Navy: Navy

Semifinals

Boston U. vs Navy: Boston U.

Army West Point vs Loyola: Army West Point

Championship

Boston U. vs Army West Point: Boston U.

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