(Photo Courtesy of Saint Joseph’s Athletics)
This past year has seen a wave of conference realignment come over the college lacrosse landscape. And perhaps no move outweighed the Atlantic 10 coming into the men’s lacrosse scene to create what could be the most competitive mid-major conference in the sport this spring.
High Point, Hobart, Richmond, Saint Joseph’s, St, Bonaventure, and UMass have come together to create the league. Richmond, Saint Joseph’s, St. Bonaventure, and UMass are full-time members in all sports while High Point and Hobart have been added as affiliate members for men’s lacrosse.
The conference, features a pair NCAA Tournament teams from last season, two who have made numerous appearances over their long histories, one who has been to the big dance twice since its inception in 2014, and a fifth-year program who has seen strong growth thus far. Needless to say, the Atlantic 10 will be one heck of a league to follow in 2023.
Saint Joseph’s League to Lose?
After year of failing to get over the hump, Taylor Wray’s Saint Joseph’s Hawks won the NEC last season and punched the program’s first ticket to the NCAA Tournament. Following that heralded season, and in large part due to how much they return, the Hawks are looked at by many as the favorite to take home the first ever A10 crown.
From last year’s team, the Hawk return not only the best faceoff man in college lacrosse in Zach Cole (598-for-878, 68%) but also each of its top four offensive weapons in Levi Anderson (33G/31A), Matt Bohmer (43G/19A), Carter Page (51G/5A), and Tucker Brown (43G/11A). Goalie Robbie Seeley (268 saves, 54%) and defenseman Patrick Clemens (34GB/22CT) headline the Hawks’ returning core on defense.
In addition to those returners, the Hawks have added a pair of transfers who make a big impact offense in former Wagner attackmen Stephen Dwyer and Aidan Clark. The Pair led the Seahawks with 57.
Does Richmond Keep Winning?
Through nine seasons as a DI program, Richmond has won four conference titles, made four NCAA Tournament appearances, and been in eight conference title games. Last season, the Spiders nearly achieved another benchmark as they fell in overtime to Penn in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Richmond has been nothing short of a winner and will look to keep that trend up in the A10.
Richmond loses three of its top-five scorers from a year ago, which includes the program’s all-time leaders in goals in Ryan Lanchbury (40G/41A), as well as Ryan Dunn (25G/22A) and Luke Frankeny (34G/10A). The Spiders also see two of its top poles in Griffin Kology and Ray Baran not return, as well as its top SSDM, Shayne Grant (20GB/9CT).
Senior attackman Dalton Young (39G/23A), goalie Zach Vigue (128 saves, 55%), and defenseman Jake Saunders (33GB/23CT) are some of the headlining returners for a team that has many holes to fill. Dan Chemotti’s squad has replaced top talent and stayed consistent before. Can they do it again in 2023?
How Does Hobart Retool Its Offense?
I have Hobart as finishing fifth in the league at the moment. Although, I believe they could certainly finish much higher. My main reason for putting them behind High Point is its offensive losses are more numerous than the Panthers and how they retool that unit, which averaged 14.0 goals per game a season ago, will be one of the most important aspects of this year’s Statesmen squad.
Hobart loses 138 points (78 goals) with the loss of its top three scorers from a year ago in Ryan Archer, Derrek Madonna, and Tommy Mott. And while the Statesmen have consistently had top offenses under Stephen Brundage and been able to replace crucial pieces in recent years, it will still be a tough ask to fill the holes that each of those three leave upon their exit.
Anthony Dattellas (20G/10A), John Herlihy (25G/4A), and Bradley Simas (22G/1A) are Hoabart’s top three returners from last season and will likely form the core around which this offense will be built. Chad Batch, Alex Rosa, Troy Barthelme, and others will likely see increased playing time and responsibility this year as well.
Offense: Saint Joseph’s
Saint Joseph’s featured an offense last season that averaged 14 goals per game (13th in DI). That unit 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). From that unit, much returns.
The Hawks’ heralded attack unit of Levi Anderson (33G/31A), Matt Bohmer (43G/19A), and Carter Page (51G/5A) headliners the Hawks’ returnees on that end while Tucker Brown (43G/11A) is back at midfield.
In addition to those headlining returnees on that end, Saint Joseph’s had added a pair of transfers in Stephen Dwyer and Aidan Clark to bring even more talent to this offense. With all the talent the Hawks feature on that end, they are the likely clear-cut best offense in the league coming into the season.
Others could certainly be argued for selection here as well, and especially so with Richmond’s loss of Griffin Kology and Ray Baran, and Shayne Grant. There are certainly some big holes to be filled within this unit that allowed 10.06 goals per game (8th in DI) last spring.
Despite the losses, there is a lot for which to like on the Spiders roster on the back end. Goalie Zach Vigue (128 saves, 55%) and defenseman Jake Saunders (33GB/23CT) are the brightest spots returning on that end and provide two very solid playmakers for which this unit can build around. Braden McClure and Jake Kapp are among the other most experience players returning on that end. The pair combined for three starts last season and were crucial poles in the rotation.
Throughout its history, albeit a short one, has seen seamless transition after seamless transition when churning through talent on the back end. That fact alone very much suggest that the Spiders can very well do it once more in 2023.
Offensive Player of The Year: Levi Anderson, A, Saint Joseph’s
Defensive Player of The Year: Jake Saunders, D, Richmond
Specialist of The Year: Zach Cole, FO, Saint Joseph’s
Projected Final Standings
1. Saint Joseph’s
4. High Point
6. St. Bonaventure