Previewing The 2022 NEC Tournament

(Photo Courtesy of Saint Joseph’s Athletics)

The 2022 NEC Men’s Lacrosse Tournament will get underway on Thursday, May 5th with the semifinals. The championship game will be played on Saturday.

As the top seed, Saint Joseph’s will play host.

The Bracket

The Teams

No. 1 Saint Joseph’s (12-3, 7-0 NEC)

For the second season in a row, the Saint Joseph’s Hawks come into the postseason as the No. 1 seed in the NEC Tournament. Can they finally get the monkey off their back and get that first conference title?

Star Player: Zach Cole, Faceoff

The face of the franchise for this Hawks squad, Cole is, and has been, one of the best faceoff men in college lacrosse and, in many respects, the most impactful player on this roster. Cole ranks first in the NEC and first nationally in faceoff winning percentage, going 250-for-356 (70%) this season.

X-Factor: Robbie Seeley, Goalie

Seeley took over as the started in between the pipes for the Hawks in early March and has never looked back, manning the cage as the starter for the past nine games now. Making 97 saves with a 55% save percentage he has been consistent in helping stifle opposing offenses, which has included keeping the Hawks afloat during multiple sizable runs.

Player to Watch: Carter Page, Attack

Boasting a top-15 scoring offense nationally, the Hawks have found success on that end of the filed with an experienced core helping to lead the way. A sophomore, Page has been one of those players who has emerged this season as an offensive threat for this squad and as asserted himself as the Hawks top goal-scorer with 41 goals. He has also dished out four assists.

No. 2 Bryant (8-6, 6-1 NEC)

The reigning NEC champions, the only blemish on the Bulldogs’ conference resume is a loss to Saint Joseph’s. The Bulldogs will likely want a rematch in the title game, getting a chance to defend their title against the Hawks.

Star Player: Marc O’Rouke, Attack

A leader of this Bryant squad for multiple years now, O’Rouke is having an amazing fifth season with the Bulldogs. After missing most of last season with myocarditis before setting the college lacrosse world ablaze during the final five games of the season, the attackman has continued on that track in 2022. O’Rouke has put up 61 points off 43 goals and 18 assists, and is averaging 3.07 goals per game as the top offensive weapon in the NEC.

X-Factor: Faceoff Duo

Jacob Alexander and Nathan Laliberte have shared duties at the faceoff dot since Laliberte’s return in early March. The duo has gone 201-for-345 (58%) this season. Alexander went 52% against Saint Joseph’s to help spearhead a near full comeback. Getting those extra possessions and having two very good options at the position is crucial for the squad.

Player to Watch: LaJohn Jones, Defense

The ability to turn offense into defense has helped define and push this squad towards success in recent years. Jones helps lead the way on the back end with 16 caused turnovers and 25 ground balls as the Bulldogs’ top pole. He has also scored three goals this season, possessing the ability to take the ball up field and either strike or help start early offense.

No. 3 Hobart (6-5, 4-3 NEC)

It hasn’t been an easy season for Hobart. They started 2-0, but that record quickly turned to 2-5 and included three consecutive NEC losses. Since that last loss, they have won four consecutive contest to put them in a better spot and ensure a postseason berth.

Star Player: Ryan Archer, Attack

The leader of an offense that has only gotten better this season, Archer has tallied 57 points off 23 goals and 34 assists this season. Archer has helped the Statesmen produce a top-15 scoring offense, averaging 14.09 goals per gane.

X-Factor: Adam Shea, Faceoff

The pipeline and tradition of good faceoff men at Hobart have continued with Shea. Stepping in as the primary option this season, he has gone 169-for-304 (55%) and has come up huge in multiple games, including the Statesmen’s early season upset of Lehigh.

Player to Watch: Anthony Dattellas, Midfield

Dealing with injuries this season, Dattellas hasn’t gotten to show the best of himself throughout the season as a whole. However, he has come up big for this offense in recent weeks since his return against Saint Joseph’s, putting up 14 points (11G/3A) in the past five games.

No. 4 LIU (7-7, 4-3 NEC)

In year three of the DI era at LIU, the Sharks are back in the NEC Tournament and, after some strong showings throughout the season, will be looking to make some noise.

Star Player: Richie LaCalandra Attack

With 66 points off 30 goals and 36 assists, LaCalandra has maintained as the top offensive weapon for the Sharks and one of the best playmakers in the NEC. He will and does get the most attention from any defense who faces him.

X-Factor: Will Mark, Goalie

As he has since his freshman season, Mark does a lot for this LIU defense and has helped keep them in games time and time again. This season, Mark has made 191 saves with a 56% save percentage this season.

Player to Watch: Sean Boll, Attack

After just starting in three games last season, Boll has emerged as one of the leaders on an LIU offense that is deeper than it has been in the past. The Sharks’ third-leading scorer, he has tallied 28 points off 23 goals and five assists. That includes and eight-goal outing against Hobart and four-point (2G/2A) outing against Saint Joseph’s over the past month.

Tanner’s Picks

Semifinals

Saint Joseph’s vs LIU: Saint Joseph’s

Bryant vs Hobart: Bryant

Championship

Saint Joseph’s vs Bryant: Bryant

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