2023 College Lacrosse Preseason Predictions

(Photos Courtesy of Virginia, Maryland, and Georgetown Athletics)

It was an offseason full of conference realignment, along with a heavy dose of the transfer portal and coaching carousel. That is now in the rear and it is time to focus on what is actually be taking place on the field during the 2023 college lacrosse season. And what better way to get into that mode other than some good, ole preseason predictions.

Who will make Championship Weekend? Who will win the Tewaaraton Award? Who will be the last team standing on Memorial Day?

I give my take on those aforementioned questions and more below, so settle in and enjoy.

Most Underrated Team

Penn State Nittany Lions

It seems unlikely that the Nittany Lions will be returning to Championship Weekend in 2023 but I very much expect Jeff Tambroni’s squad to recover from a tough past two seasons and finish the year somewhere in the top 20. The transfer tandem at attack of Kevin Winkoff and Chris Jordan, plus the return of Jack Traynor and TJ Malone from injury, provide veteran leadership and talent to an offense that is filled with young, promising stars. Aleric Fyock and Jack Fracyon give the Nittany Lions possibly two solid options at goalie and the same is true at the faceoff dot with Chase Mullins transferring in from North Carolina and joining Hudson Bohn in that room.

Most Overrated Team

Duke Blue Devils

This was a hard pick and especially so with how wide open this year seems. And it is hard to put Duke here, and I should state that I don’t believe Duke is a bust by any stretch. They just might not live up to the top five expectations many have for a team that features Brennan O’Neill as its top offensive player along with Dyson Williams and Lehigh grad transfer Tommy Schelling, among others. Furthermore, Duke has Jake Naso at the dot and poles such as Kenny Brower, Wilson Stephenson, and Tyler Carpenter on the back end. Duke had six losses and missed the NCAA Tournament last season. The Blue Devils haven’t been able to put all the puzzle pieces together either of the past two years, which is why I am skeptical of them doing so in 2023.

Championship Weekend Predictions

Virginia

Headlined by Connor Shellenberger, the Cavaliers return arguably the most talented roster in college lacrosse that has only gotten better with the addition of Thomas McConvey from Vermont. Cole Kastner and Petey LaSalla provide stellar, proven talent on defense at the faceoff dot. Virginia also has the motivation factor on its side after falling short of making their third consecutive Championship Weekend trip last season.

Maryland

The defending champions will have many new faces contributing heavily in 2023 but still have one of the best faceoff men in the game (Luke Wierman) and the best defense with Ajax Zappitello and Brett Makar being a two-headed monster at close while Logan McNaney anchors things in cage. Also, it’s Maryland. Expect them to be playing on Memorial Day Weekend.

Georgetown

The Hoyas ended 2023 on a sour note with a first round loss, as the No. 2 seed, to Delaware in the NCAA Tournament. However, with a roster that returns the reigning Schmeisser winner in Will Bowen, midfielder Graham Bundy, Jr., and faceoff man James Reilly, in addition to transfers such as Tucker Dordevic on offense and Daniel Hincks in cage, the Hoyas look ready to finish last year’s business.

Notre Dame

Kevin Corrigan and the Fighting Irish have been foaming at the mount to get back to Championship Weekend for the first time since 2015 and after getting left out of the NCAA Tournament all together last year, 2023 may be the year the Irish get it done. Pat and Chris Kavanagh create an dynamic duo at attack to lead the offense while Holy Cross transfer Chris Conlin and Yale transfer Chris Fake help replenish the Irish defense anchored by Liam Entenmann in cage. This is a team with the talent to get it done.

National Champion

Virginia Cavaliers

Lars Tiffany and the Cavaliers took home the title in 2019 and 2021. With the talent on this roster, Virginia could very well be brining more hardware to Charlottesville in 2023.

Tewaaraton Award Winner

Connor Shellenberger, Attack, Virginia

I should first mentioned that I believe Yale’s Matt Brandau and Penn’s Sam Handley are likely in the same camp as potential finalists, and if things break right for the Bulldogs or Quakers either of them could take home the award. But Shellenberger is the leader of what looks to be one of the best – if not the best – offenses in college lacrosse. His numbers should be just as good as last year – if not better – and as the sole quarterback of the offense, this season he will likely get even more of the limelight within this deep and talented unit for the Cavaliers.

Coach of The Year

Kevin Corrigan, Notre Dame

One of the longest-tenured head coaches in the game, Kevin Corrigan is entering his 35th season as the head man in South Bend. Last year saw the Irish start slow against a very tough schedule, taking losses against Maryland, Georgetown, and Ohio State by mid March. However, a seven-game winning streak to end the season made the Irish one of the hottest teams in the nation by Selection Sunday. Notre Dame, however, would end up sitting on the couch and watching the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005. Here in 2023, the Irish have both the potential and motivation to make some serious noise and possibly have their best season since the mid 2010s. FYI, Corrigan has never before won the USILA’s F. Morris Touchstone Award for nation’s most outstanding head coach in DI.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s