(Photo Courtesy of Limestone Athletics)
*Note: This article was contributed to Lacrosse Bucket by Ian Stephenson.*
The summer of 2022 is huge for international lacrosse. The Women’s World Championships just wrapped up, the Men’s U21 World Championships (which had been delayed by two years) are less than a month away, and the debut of lacrosse sixes at the World Games are in full swing.
This follows a successful season for NCAA men’s lacrosse that saw 40 players from 20 countries, as well as Puerto Rico, outside of the US, Canada, and Native nations. Three of them were on teams that made it to the the Final Four.
Australia and England led the way, which should not be surprising considering that they are consistently the two best lacrosse nations outside of the US, Canada, and the Haudenosaunee, as well as the practical benefit of being English-speaking nations, which makes it easier to transition in the classroom. Germany, New Zealand, and Russia were the only other countries with multiple NCAA lacrosse players this season with two each. Ireland, Luxembourg, Jamaica, Slovakia, the Netherlands, Finland, Puerto Rico, Colombia, China, Turkey, Mexico, France, Japan, Sweden, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and South Korea each had one player.
There were four players at the Division I level from outside the core countries, fifteen at the Division II level, and 21 at the Division III level.
There were nine Australians playing NCAA lacrosse this season, with six at the Division II level, two at the Division III level, and one at the Division I level.
Cornell senior faceoff specialist Tim Graham was the lone Aussie playing Division I lacrosse this year. He only saw action in one game, Cornell’s first round NCAA Tournament victory over Ohio State. He had one ground ball.
Coker had a pair of Australians starting for them this year in sophomore attackman Cal Gibson and senior midfielder Henry Haskett. Gibson started all 16 games for the Cobras, leading the team in assists (28) and points (55), and was second on the team with 27 goals, while also causing nine turnovers and scooping 45 ground balls. Haskett played and started in all but one game, finishing second in assists (13), and third in goals (22) and points (35), setting career highs in all three categories
Lake Erie also had two Australian starters, though unlike Coker, they were both on the back end with seniors Thomas Polden playing close defense and Lincoln Potter in goal. Polden played in all 14 games, starting 11, where he recorded 14 caused turnovers and 17 ground balls. Potter started every game, stopping 48.8% of the shots he faced, making 163 total saves with a 13.3 goals against average.
Sophomore midfielder Harrison Buckman saw action in 13 games for Chowan, recording four points on two goals and two assists, and picking up one ground ball.
Jakson Bowran ran out of the midfield for Mount Olive, playing in three games in his freshman season, scoring on his only shot of the season in his collegiate debut against Emmanuel.
After remaining in Australia last season due to COVID, midfielder Liam Harari returned to Transylvania for his junior year where he played in all but one of their 17 games. He had two goals and six assists for eight points, and on the defensive end he caused five turnovers and picked up 32 ground balls.
Hamish Mathwin, also a junior midfielder, suited up in all 15 games for Westminster (PA), including one start. He scored 16 goals and dished 9 assists for a total of 25 points to go along with 17 ground balls and 4 caused turnovers.
There were eight English players this year, with one in Division I, two in Division II, and five in Division III
Freshman midfielder Daniel Jones saw limited action for High Point this season, appearing in five games, firing off three shots.
Will Baxter, a grad student, was one of the top goalies in the country, backstopping Limestone to the NCAA Tournament semifinals. He was named a third team All-American by US Lacrosse Magazine having posted a 57.9% save percentage and 8.90 goals against average in 19 games. Marius Robinson, a junior midfielder for Mars Hill, only played in two games this season for the Lions. He did not record any statistics.
Sophomore Ryan Rahbany started all 17 games on defense for Amherst as they reached the NCAA Tournament, finishing second on the team with 18 caused turnovers and third in ground balls with 39. He also scored one goal.
Sophomore midfielder Declan Watkins played twice for Goucher, not recording any stats.
Nathaniel Klutz, also a sophomore, was a fixture on defense for Medaille, playing in nine of their 11 games with eight starts. He caused two turnovers and picked up five ground balls.
Thomas Roper, a senior midfielder, saw regular action for Montclair State in his first season in the NCAA, playing all 17 games, making seven starts, where he scored 12 times and had five assists
Senior defenseman Joshua Grahame played in all 16 games for Ursinus, starting all but one, where he finished third on the team with 12 caused turnovers, as well as 4th on the team with 47 ground balls, while also chipping in with a goal and an assist on the offensive end.
Senior attackman Per-Anders Olters played in three games for Vermont, his first action since 2019. He had one caused turnover and took three shots as the Catamounts reached the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season.
Redshirt freshman LSM Eskander Kian Ben Aissa started all 14 games for DII Maryville in his first action since 2020. He finished second on the team in ground balls with 44 and caused turnovers with 15, also scoring one goal
There were a pair of freshman Kiwis this season in faceoff specialist James Stacey of Maryville and defenseman Alistair Hearmon of DIII Northland. Stacey played in every game for the Saints, going 53-113 (46.9%) at the X with 28 ground balls. Hearmon appeared in all 13 contests, starting 12 of those, where he caused 29 turnovers (second on the team) and picked up 32 ground balls.
Senior faceoff specialist Roman Pepelyaev of DII Westminster (Utah) and senior midfielder Connor Rogers of DIII Piedmont represented Russia this season. Rogers recorded 28 points on 12 goals and 16 assists in 18 games, while Pepelyaev only played in one game, picking up a ground ball.
Sophomore defenseman Shawn Zhang was the only Chinese player in the NCAA this year, featuring in eight games for D3 Emerson, making two starts. He finished with three caused turnovers and two ground balls.
Junior midfielder Juan Bohorquez was the only South American in NCAA lacrosse this season, playing in 14 of 15 games for D3 Illinois Tech. Bohorquez recorded 8 points on seven goals and one assist, and collected 23 ground balls while causing 7 turnovers.
Junior Alex Kiviniemi was a dominant two-way midfielder for D3 Lebanon Valley, leading the Dutchmen in goals with 37, and finishing second on the team in points (47), ground balls (45), and caused turnovers (14).
Freshman midfielder Adrien Vinot-Prefontaine saw limited action for Virginia Wesleyan, going 2-6 on faceoffs with one ground ball in five games.
The lone Irishman and the last Division I player to be mentioned, Cathal Roberts was a member of a Princeton defense that made it to the Final Four. Although raised in California, Roberts, a junior, has his birthplace of Dublin listed as his hometown, which qualifies him for this list. He played in 10 games for the Tigers this season, including all three NCAA Tournament games, where he caused four turnovers and picked up seven ground balls.
Jamaica has a bright future in international lacrosse, and their profile continued to grow this season through freshman midfielder Ronaldo Williams, who played in 6 games for DII Chowan this year, going 8-for-19 on faceoffs with five ground balls.
Freshman attackman Mychal West played in 11 games for D3 Haverford with five starts, scoring four goals and assisting on nine more, which tied him for second on the team. He also caused 3 turnovers and collected 10 ground balls.
One of two African players in the NCAA, sophomore midfielder Daniel Mwangi played in all 12 games for DIII Cairn this season in a primarily defensive role, collecting nine ground balls and causing seven turnovers
Ash Kolz, a redshirt sophomore hailing from the tiny European nation, saw limited action as a backup goalie for DII Felician, playing just under 38 minutes over four games. He saved eight of the 15 shots he faced.
Senior midfielder Alex Gutierrez of D3 Franciscan played and started in 12 of his team’s 13 games, where he caused 10 turnovers and picked up 45 ground balls.
Freshman midfielder Joost van der Hoorst played in two games for DII Wheeling, collecting one ground ball.
While technically not a country, Puerto Rico competes in World Lacrosse competitions, and despite being fairly new to the game, they look to be a force at the international level. Sophomore midfielder Cesar Vallarino of DIII LaRoche was the sole Puerto Rico native this season, playing in 10 games and starting nine, where he scooped 13 ground balls and caused 9 turnovers.
Filip Moravcik was on the roster as a defensive midfielder for Wheeling, though he did not see any action in his freshman season
Jay Young Park played in six games at attack and midfield for LaRoche, starting two, recording one assist, five ground balls, and one caused turnover as a sophomore
Sophomore Viktor Wennberg split time in goal for Northland, playing in 11 games with seven starts. He went 4-for-3, stopping 56.2% of the shots he faced with an 8.62 goals against average.
Junior Yoel Ovadya was one of three goalies who played over 100 minutes this season for DIII Drew, saving 25 of the 48 shots he faced (52.1%) in seven games, though he did not make a start.
Freshman Shelton Mudzingwa of DIII Lake Forest played in 11 games in the defensive midfield, where he caused 2 turnovers and collected four ground balls.