Fall Snapshot: Brown Bears

(Photo Courtesy of Brown Athletics)

Welcome to the Fall Snapshot series. Throughout the fall I will be taking an early look at all 75 DI men’s college lacrosse teams and giving a snapshot of where each is heading into the 2023 season.

Head Coach: Mike Daly (8th season, 2017-Current)

Brown 2022 Record: 10-6 (4-2 Ivy League)

Key Departures: Ryan Aughavin (M), Darian Cook (A), Andrew Geppert (D), Luke Gaydos (D), Silas Newsome (D), Adrian Enchill (LSM)

Key Returners: Devon McLane (A), Trevor Yeboah-Kodie (M), Matt Gunty (FO), Connor  Theriault (G)

Transfer Additions: Matteo Corsi (M, Syracuse), Aidan McLane (A, Fairfield), Gibson Linnehan (LSM, Providence)

The Ivy League reigned supreme in 2022 as the best conference in college lacrosse, getting six teams into the NCAA Tournament. Of those six, the Brown Bears might have been the best story of them all. The Bears started the season 1-1 before rattling off four consecutive wins prior to Ivy League play beginning. They then started league play 0-2 before ripping off a five-game winning streak to end the regular season.

That aforementioned streak included a 20-13 win over Yale and 13-8 win over Cornell, and helped the Bears earn the right to host the Ivy League Tournament. The Bears fell to Penn in the Ivy semifinals and then had their season end at home against Virginia in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Last season, Brown proved to be one of the more streaky teams in the country. But when they put it together, they were as good as anyone. Now heading into 2023, a lot of new faces on both ends makes the immediate future of this program foggy, in many respects. Will they be one of the top Ivies again? Or will they regress in a manner that sees them miss the postseason altogether?

Burning Questions

What Should Be Expected From The Brown Defense?

Last season, the Bears allowed 11.5 goals per game as the 33rd best scoring defense in DI and held four of their opponents (Stony Brook, Cornell, Bryant, Dartmouth) to single digits. The close defense unit of Andrew Geppert (22GB/24CT), Luke Gaydos (41GB/17CT) , and Silas Newsome (19GB/12CT) was reliable and helped to force those shots defenses and goalies want to see. Furthermore, LSM Adrian Enchill and Colin Hart were a solid pair at LSM and Trevor Yeboah-Kodie (aka TYK )was a big impact at defensive midfield. And anchoring it all was the people’s goalie Connor Theriault, who stepped in as the starter and thrived as a sophomore with 203 saves and a 53.7% save percentage.

The only major pieces returning on that end in 2023 are Theriault in cage, TYK at SSDM, and Hart at the LSM position. Geppert, Gaydos, and Newsome have all moved on, as well as Adrian Enchill. As a result, this team will have to fully rebuild its entire starting close defense.

As far as the goalie position goes, success should be maintained with Theriault back, as well as highly-touted sophomore Andy Demopoulos who flirted with the Transfer Portal earlier this summer. The Bears have really good solid options in cage. It’s what is out in front of the cage that’ll gage the most interest on that end. Hart started one game (Princeton) at close last season as a junior, as did Zander Valentini (vs Penn) as a sophomore. Mark Witt (4GB/1CT) and Oscar Hertz (1GB/1CT) each saw action as reserves last season. Hertz had his year shortened due to injury. Incoming transfer Gibson Linnehan started six games at close for Providence as a freshman in 2022.

Who Fills in At Attack, Midfield?

On the other end of the field, the Bears averaged 13.19 goals per game as the 26th-best scoring offense in college lacrosse. They also cashed in 44.4% of the time on man-up opportunities (10th in DI) and ranked 37th in team shooting percentage (28.9%). In short, this offense wasn’t elite but they were still pretty dang good. That was especially true late in the regular season as Brown averaged 16 goals per game during its final four games of the season.

Devon McLane (47G/24A) returns as a senior following a breakout junior campaign and not only the lone top five scorers returning but also the lone full-time starters returning. Attackmen Darian Cook (21G/16A) and Brian Antonelli (32G/4A) are both gone, as well as midfielders Ryan Aughavin (29G/15A), and Nolen Rockefeller (6G/1A). Top reserve middie Reed Moyshedi (13G/13A) is also gone. It’ll be very interesting to see not only who fills in those starting roles next season, but also how productive they can be.

Heading into 2023, McLane is the headliner of this offense and there is some quality depth returning around him. Griffin King (13G/7A) was a second-line midfielder last season while Trevor Glavin (8G/8A) started each of the final six games of the season at attack to replace an injured Darian Cook. Midfielder Jack Kelly (6G/7A) impressed as a reserve and was a solid contributor down the stretch. The transfer additions of Matteo Corsi and Aidan McLane also provide more talent to work with on that end.

How Impactful Will The Transfers Be?

Ivy League programs don’t usually take too many transfers, if ever. This cycle, Mike Daly and the Brown Bears have added three players from the transfer portal in midfielder Matteo Corsi from Syracuse, attackman Aidan McLane from Fairfield, and LSM Gibson Linnehan from Providence. All three are coming off their freshman seasons.

Corsi is the headliner of the Bears’ transfer haul. Rated as a four-star recruit in the 2021 class by Inside Lacrosse, he played in 12 games with one start for Syracuse last season and put up seven points (5G/2A). Gibson Linnehan started six games at close for Providence, causing 11 turnovers while also grabbing 25 ground balls. McLane, the brother of Devon, saw time in four games with Fairfield in 2022.

Each of the three transfers Brown has brought in is at a spot of need. Brown needs to fill out both their attack and midfield units, as well as its close defense. It also needs to continue to showcase and push out its depth on both ends, especially when it comes to younger guys. Each of the three transfers can and should make an impact next season. How much though is yet to be seen.

Potential Breakout Player

Trevor Glavin, Attack, Senior

Glavin stepped into the fray as a starter for the final six games last season and made an impact with eight goals and eight assists. That included a 2-2 game against Yale and a four-assists performance against Cornell. With the holes on this offense heading into 2023, Glavin could very well take the opportunity and run with it.

Freshman Class

The Bears bring in a 12-man freshman class with its 2022 recruiting efforts. The class is highlighted by a trio of players rated as four-stars by Inside Lacrosse, which includes defenseman George Wandoff (Oxbridge, Fla.) and midfielders Charlie Cave (Belmont Hill, Mass.) and PJ Behan (MICDS, Mo.).

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