(Photo Courtesy of Quinnipiac 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: Mason Poli (Fifth Season, 2019-Current)
Quinnipiac 2022 Record: 2-11 (1-5 MAAC)
Key Departures: Will Abbott (M), Matt Di Lella (D), Devin Naidoo (D), Nick DiMuccio (G)
Key Returners: Ryan Donnery (M), Dylan Donnery (A), Demitri George (FO)
Quinnipiac went 2-11 overall and 1-5 in MAAC play last season. That campaign followed one in 2021 that saw the Bobcats’ second cut short. However, had the season been played out, the Bobcats could have been vying for the MAAC title as they were firmly in the hunt for that No. 1 seed with just one week left in the regular season.
In short, Quinnipiac didn’t finish it “unfinished business” from that 2021 season. However, despite a 2-11 record last spring, there were some positive highlights. The main one was at the faceoff dot where Demitri George was named the MAAC Faceoff Specialist of The Year for a second consecutive season. In addition, Steven Germain was a first-team All-MAAC honoree.
The Bobcats fell by an average of 4 goals per game in each of their 11 losses last season. Quinnipiac’s margin of loss against MAAC competition was 2.83. After that season and with the talent, especially on offense, in which the Bobcats bring back, Mason Poli’s squad will be looking to turn many of those losses from a year ago into wins and get back to the postseason.
Who Starts in Cage?
For four seasons, Nick DiMuccio sat in between the pipes as the starting goalie for the Bobcats. In 2022, DiMuccio made 160 saves with a 48.9% Save percentage. He ends his career with the Bobcats with a grand total of 553 saves and a 51.3% save percentage. Now, with DiMuccio’s graduation, Quinnipiac will be looking for that next man up to be the guy in cage.
In finding that player, Quinnipiac will be turning towards a three-man goalie room that returns two players from a season ago: Mason Oak and Griffin Fitzmaurice.
Oak played in the final two games of the season as a freshman and started in the season finale against Siena. He made six saves with a 40% save percentage. Fitzmaurice played in those final two games as well and made seven saves with 50% save percentage. The Bobcats also bring in freshman Evan Miner at the position.
What Does The Close Defense Look Like?
In addition to the loss of DiMuccio in cage, Quinnipiac has also seen the graduation of starting defensemen Matt Di Lella (27GB/8CT) and Devin Naidoo (17GB/7CT).
The Bobcats return just one full-time starter at close: junior Tommy Shaughnessy (12GB/5CT). He started all 13 games at close as a first time starter. Senior Zack Siegel (9GB/6CT) is the next most experienced pole returning, having started all seven games in 2021 and started one of the 11 games he played this past spring.
Between having to find a replacement in cage and having to rebuild almost an entire close unit, there are a lot of questions surrounding this Bobcats defense heading into the 2023 season. And if this unit wants to improve past its ranking as the 60th scoring defense (14.07 goals per game) in DI, it will have to retool with talent that can click quickly and effectively.
Does The Man-Up Success Continue or Improve Further?
There weren’t too many statistical categories in which the Bobcats were among the top half of DI last season. One of those few in which they were, however, was man-up offense.
At Season’s end, Quinnipiac ranked 48th nationally in man-up offense as it converted on 32.6% (14-of-43). The Donnery brothers (Ryan and Dylan) combined for 60 points as the Bobcats’ top two leading scorers. The pair also led the way in man-up goals with each scoring four last season. Steven Germain and Jake Tellers had cashed in on two opportunities while John DeLucia and Will Abbott each score one man-up goal each. Abbott is the only of that group nor returning in 2023.
With all that’s returning on offense, it’ll be interesting to see if the can keep things as they are or even improve in that realm.
Potential Breakout Player
Joey Van De Veerdonk, Midfield, Senior
The top producing reserve midfielder for the Bobcats’ offense last season, Van De Veerdonk put up six goals and two assists. He could slide into a starting role this spring with the graduations at the midfield position.
Quinnipiac brings in an eight-man freshman class with its 2022 recruiting efforts.