Fall Snapshot: Saint Joseph’s Hawks

(Photo Courtesy of Saint Joseph’s 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:  (Taylor Wray, 12th Season, 2012-Current)

Saint Joseph’s 2022 Record: 14-4 (7-0 NEC)

Key Departures: Austin Strazzulla (M), Logan Blondell (D)

Key Returners: Levi Anderson (A), Matt Bohmer (A), Carter Page (A), Tucker Brown (M), Zach Cole (FO), Patrick Clemens (D), Robbie Seeley (G)

Transfer Additions: Stephen Dwyer (A), Aidan Clark (A), Harrison Oehler (D), Scott MacMillian (G)

Saint Joseph’s put together its best season in program history last spring. Coming into the 2022 season, the Hawks had five NEC regular-season titles to its name. Each of those five seasons would see the Hawks fail to make the NCAA Tournament, however, as they fell in the league title game each time. Well, that streak ended in May as the Hawks beat Hobart to win the NEC title and make the NCAA Tournament. And they reached that height in the program’s last season in the NEC.

A full member of the Atlantic 10, the Hawks will be joining former NEC foe Hobart, as well as Richmond, High Point, St. Bonaventure, and UMass in moving to the A-10 as the league sponsors men’s lacrosse for the first time.

When Taylor Wray took over the reigns on Hawk Hill, Saint Joseph’s was coming off an 0-12 season. 11 years later they stood on top of their league and nearly pulled an upset over Yale in the NCAA Tournament, falling 18-16 inside Rees Stadium. Heading into this new era, the Hawks will be looking to remain flying high.

Burning Questions

How Good Can The Offense Get?

When the 2022 season came to an end, Saint Joseph’s was ties with Richmond as the 13th-best scoring offense in college lacrosse as the Hawks averaged 14 goals per game. The Hawks also ranked 8th in team shooting percentage (32.4%), 26th in assists per game (7.56), and was 17th in overall points per game (21.56).

That offense was led by heralded Hawks attack unit of Levi Anderson (33G/31A), Matt Bohmer (43G/19A), and Carter Page (51G/5A). Tucker Brown also had a 54-point (43G/11A) as the Hawks’ top midfielder. Those top four contributed 60% of Saint Joseph’s overall offensive production and 67% of its goal scoring.

Of those aforementioned five, each and every one of them return. The Hawks also bring in a pair of offensive transfers with attackmen Stephen Dwyer and Aidan Clark coming from Wagner. The Pair led the Seahawks with 57 combined points last spring. With as much top-end talent as this program brings back, as well as the potentially big pieces they bring in, just how high should we expect this offense to fly in 2023?

How Deep Can The Hawks Go?

As mentioned, Saint Joseph’s had a very highly-regarded starting core on offense. The same was true on the defensive end as well, where Robbie Seeley (134 saves, 54%) anchored things as the starter in cage and the trio of Patrick Clemens (34GB/22CT), Joe Burnham (28GB/12CT), and Logan Blondell (16GB/11CT) were full-time starters at close. Adam Ritter (19GB/9CT) and Jack Anderson (18GB/8CT) proved to be the Hawks’ top two SSDMs. Alex Keener was the team’s top LSM.

That defense 10.4 goals per game and ended the year ranked 29th in efficiency, per LacrosseReference. The offense ranked 21st in efficiency. The Hawks also had the best faceoff man in college lacrosse with Zach Cole who went 299-for-439 (68%). Most of the production that helped make this team so great last season will be back, and that is true on both ends.

For as good as this team was among its top six on each end last season, they weren’t very deep or at least didn’t show it. Its top-10 players saw 76% of the play shares. The Hawks ended the year ranked 55th in overall raw depth. Whether or not this team can stretch deeper into its bench throughout the season will be interesting to watch. And if they can, an NCAA Tournament win (which they almost pulled off in 2022) could be even more possibly for this team.

What Does The Rope Unit Look Like?

The Hawks weren’t world beaters when it came to transition offense last season. But when the opportunity presented itself, Saint Joseph’s showed that it could run the field well and inflict its will in the transition game. Part of that was due to the Hawks’ rope unit, headlined primarily by SSDMs Adam Ritter and Jack Anderson.

LSM Alex Keener and Matt Popeck (38GB/12CT), who has two goals and two assists last spring, are both back and provide a very solid foundation for this rope unit. And one that should be effective both on the back end as well as in transition offense. How those holes at the defensive midfield spot get filled and just how good the Hawks will be at that position is arguably the top personnel question surrounding this Saint Joseph’s defense heading into 2023.

Potential Breakout Player

Colin Reich, Midfield, Senior

The South Carolina native started each of the final 11 games last spring for the Hawks and talied 23 points off eight goals and 15 assists. That included a career-best three-point (2G/1A) performance against Yale in the NCAA Tournament. Reich could very well see more time and production from start to finish this coming season.

Freshman Class

Saint Joseph’s brought in a 12-man 2022 recruiting class that featured players from six different states and provinces.

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