(Photo Courtesy of Ohio State Athletics)
The 2022 college lacrosse season is in the books. And just like always, there were freshmen who stood out amongst the rest and shined during their first season of college lacrosse.
Over the next week and change, Lacrosse Bucket will be highlighting freshmen who made significant impacts at their respective positions during the 2022 season. Here is a look at some of the top freshmen defensemen.
Before we get started, I must lay out that for this exercise I am only including players who were listed as true freshman on their team’s roster instead of including all “first-year” players, which would include redshirt freshman and, this year, some sophomores.
Bobby Van Buren, D, Ohio State – One of the top and most highly-rated recruits coming out of high school, Van Buren lived up to the hype this past season as the Buckeyes’ top cover man. Often being matched up with the oppositions top offensive weapon, Van Buren grabbed 22 ground balls and recorded 11 caused turnovers. He was the Big Ten Freshman of The Year.
AJ Pilate, D, Army West Point – The first freshman to start at close during the Joe Alberici era at West Point, Pilate made an impact for the Black Knights’ defense. Pilate caused 13 turnovers and grabbed 27 ground balls.
Zack Antoniou, D, Fairfield – A native of Tampa, Fla., Antoniou made a huge splash for the Stags this past season. A leader on the back end since day one, Antoniou grabbed 23 ground balls and caused a team-high 19 turnovers.
Griffin Kology, D, Richmond – Put into a defense that needed a number of pieces to be replaced, Kology helped keep that Richmond defense on par with what they have been. Kology caused 21 turnovers and grabbed 21 caused turnovers.
Braden Long, D, Bellarmine – A day one starter and impact player, Long helped lead a defense that was top-10 in caused turnovers per game (10). Long grabbed 34 ground balls and was second on the team in caused turnovers with 28.
Aidan Murnane, D, Colgate – Murnane was one of multiple freshmen to make a significant impact on the back end for the Raiders this past spring. He led Colgate with 17 caused turnovers while also grabbing 22 ground balls.
Alex Baber, D, VMI – The VMI defense was led, in part, by freshmen. One of those was Baber, who proved to be their most productive pole as he grabbed 29 ground balls and caused a team-high 29 caused turnovers.
Collin Bergstorm, D, Harvard – One of many young guns helping lead the Crimson to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014, Bergstrom led the way for the Harvard defense with 15 caused turnovers and 15 ground balls.
Joe Azelby, LSM, Dartmouth – A day one impact player, Azelby was a big reason for the defensive success that Dartmouth has had this past season. The Washington native grabbed 43 ground balls and caused 14 caused turnovers.
James Boynewicz, LSM, VMI – Another impact freshman on the VMI defense last season, Boynewicz grabbed 35 caused turnovers and caused 20 turnovers. He was tied atop the team in GBs and second on the team in CTs.