(Photo Courtesy of Syracuse Athletics)
*Note: This list only includes TRUE freshmen. Redshirt freshmen are not included.*
The college lacrosse season began 46 days ago as as teams took to the field for real for the first time back on February 4th. Now, believe it or not, only 46 days remain until selection Sunday, so that means we are just about at the midpoint of the season.
Through this first half of the season, many freshmen have stepped up and helped lead the way for their respective teams. Lacrosse Bucket looks back at the action that has been thus far and looks at the true freshmen who have been the most impactful and productive through the midpoint of the 2023 season.
Joey Spallina, A, Syracuse – The No. 1 recruit in the nation, Joey Spallina has lived up to the hype thus far at Syracuse. Spallina has been the best and arguably most impactful freshman in college lacrosse this season, tallying 40 points off 23 goals and 17 assists. He is the Orange’s top goal-scorer and tied with Owen Hiltz as their top assist-getter.
Johnny Hackett, A, Bryant – In year one of the Brad Ross era at Bryant has been a good one thus far. Hackett is a part of that success, scoring 21 goals and dishing out six assists as one of the leading figures of the Bulldogs’ offense. Having started in all but one game, he is second on the team in both points and goals.
Matthew Minicus, A, Loyola – The latest of the Minicus brothers to enter into the college ranks, the freshman has been an immediate impact player for the Loyola Greyhounds. A day one starter, Minicus has put up a team-high 21 goals while also dishing out four assists to give him 25 points thus far.
Finn Thompson, A, Syracuse – Another impact freshman for the Syracuse Orange, Thompson has put up a balanced 23 points through this point in the season with 12 goals and 11 assists.
Emmett Paradine, M, Dartmouth – Helping Dartmouth to a 5-1 start, Paradine has emerged as a one the key cogs of that Big Green offense. He has netted 14 goals and dished out six assists for 20 points thus far.
Evan Plunkett, M, Army West Point – Plunkett has had an immediate impact for an Army team with much to replace from a year ago. He is the second leading point-getter on the team with 24, having scored 14 goals and dishing out 10 assists through the Black Knights’ 6-1 start to the season.
Quinn Nolan, FO, St. Bonaventure – One of just two faceoff men on the roster, both of whom are true freshmen, Nolan has provided a spark at the for the Bonnies this season. He has gone 82-for-145 (56%).
Max LaTorre, LSM, Dartmouth – LaTorre has been one of the most dominant playmakers for the Dartmouth defense through the first six games of the season. He leads the Bug Green in caused turnovers with eight and has also collected nine ground balls, and assisted on a score.
Aaron Toguri, LSM, Jacksonville – Part of a greener defensive unit for the Dolphins this season, Toguri has been a key piece since day one. He has recorded 11 caused turnovers and collected six ground balls through seven contests.
Ryan Downing, LSM, Quinnipiac – An immediate impact player at the position for the Bobcats, Downing has collected 10 ground balls and caused 10 turnovers as he has proven to be a playmaker all over the defensive end through the first six games of the season.
Richard Checo, D, Lehigh – The most eyebrow-raising freshman pole this season, Checo has been a massive impact player on the back end for the Mountain Hawks. The freshman has caused a DI-best 26 caused turnovers to this point while also grabbing 38 ground balls
Alex Ross, D, Penn State – Ross has been a big part of an improved defense for a Nittany Lions squad that has garnered some of the best wins in the country through this point in the season. Ross leads Penn State with 10 caused turnovers and has also grabbed 10 ground balls.
Liam Blakely, D, Robert Morris – Playing and starting in all but one contest thus far, Blakely has been a leader on the back end for the Colonials. The freshman has caused a team-high six caused turnovers while also grabbing seven ground balls through five games.
Brian Ruppel, G, Maryland – Asked to step into the spotlight during the fourth game of the season following the season-ending injury to Logan McNaney, Ruppel has shined for the Terrapins thus far. In four games he has made 53 saves with a 57% save percentage, anchoring one of the most talented defenses in college lacrosse.
Adam Norris, G, VMI – Part of a strong start to the season for an improving VMI program, Norris has shined since day one with the Keydets. He has made 104 saves with a 50.5% save percentage through eight games this season.
Colin Lenskold, G, Utah – Lenskold was thrust into the starting spot in between the pipes on day one and has held up very well against a tough schedule thus far. He had made 79 saves with a 49.7% save percentage.