Division I outlook

Ncaa Men's Preview -- Lacrosse

February 16, 2007|By GARY LAMBRECHT

Best of the outsiders

PRINCETON

Coach -- Bill Tierney (20th season, 208-73; 23rd season overall, 242-80)

2006 record -- 11-5, NCAA tournament quarterfinals

Conference -- Ivy League

Top returning scorer -- Peter Trombino, senior attackman (22, 18)

Also back -- Scott Sowanick, senior A (20, 18); Mark Kovler, sophomore M (18, 8); Tommy Davis, sophomore A (15, 1); Dan Cocoziello, junior D; Zachary Jungers, senior D; Alex Hewit, junior G.

Key additions -- Paul Barnes, freshman M; Ryan Morrell, freshmanA; Jeremy Hirsch, freshman D.

The Sun's take -- When you have the game's top goalie, you're in every contest, and Hewit is widely acknowledged as the best. And this looks like Tierney's best team on paper in several years. Cocoziello, Jungers and senior long-stick midfielder John Bennett return to push a defense that allowed only 6.6 goals per game. On offense, Tierney loosened up and allowed exceptional athletes such as Davis to force the action with one-on-one plays. The Tigers could win their first NCAA crown since 2001.

GEORGETOWN

Coach -- Dave Urick (18th season, 161-63; 28th season overall, 298-97)

2006 record -- 12-3, NCAA tournament quarterfinals

Conference -- Eastern College Athletic

Top returning scorer -- Brendan Cannon, junior A (14, 32)

Also back -- Trevor Casey, senior A (18, 5); Andrew Baird, junior A (16, 4); Christiaan Trunz, senior M; Garrett Wilson, senior M; Jerry Lambe, senior D; Miles Kass, junior G.

Key additions -- Scott Kocis, freshman M; Andrew Brancaccio, freshman A; Chris Nixon, freshman D.

The Sun's take -- The Hoyas always have a solid, aggressive defense, and even with the loss of superb defender Reyn Garnett, Georgetown will be tough to score on with a unit led by Lambe and Kass. The Hoyas always have a do-the-dirty-work midfielder, and Trunz brings equal production as a ground ball and face-off man. Now, after five straight years of losing in the quarterfinals, can Georgetown finally break through to the final four

DUKE

Coach -- John Danowski (first season; 25th season overall, 219-139)

2006 record -- 6-2

Conference -- Atlantic Coast

Top returning scorer -- Matt Danowski, senior A (12, 14)

Also back -- Zack Greer, junior A (17, 7); Peter Lamade, senior M; Brad Ross, junior M; Nick O'Hara, senior LSM; Tony McDevitt, senior D; Casey Carroll, senior D; Dan Loftus, senior G.

Key additions -- Max Quinzani, freshman A; Terrence Molinari, freshman M; Parker McKee, freshman D.

The Sun's take -- Danowski, who capped a 21-year tenure at Hofstra by taking the Pride to the tournament quarterfinals and a 17-2 record last year, has been hired in Durham to resurrect a program that was shut down after the team's much-publicized party incident last March. The Blue Devils, who lost a 9-8 decision to Johns Hopkins in the national championship game in 2005, have questions about their midfield and overall depth. But no one doubts that Matt Danowski and Greer form what still might be the most potent scoring duo in the game

MASSACHUSETTS

Coach -- Greg Cannella (13th season, 110-62)

2006 record -- 13-5, NCAA tournament final

Conference -- Eastern College Athletic

Top returning scorer -- Rory Pedrick, junior M (12, 16)

Also back -- Jim Connolly, sophomore A (22, 4); Brett Garber, senior M (17, 9); Andrew Recchione, senior M (21, 2); Brian Jacovina, senior M (8, 18); Dan Whipple, senior LSM; Doc Schneider, sophomore G.

Key additions -- Corey Rich, freshman A; Christian Hain, freshman M; Mike Willson, freshman G.

The Sun's take -- Cannella has built the program impressively, so watch the Minutemen recover nicely from three huge losses -- leading scorer Sean Morris, top defender Jack Reid (both first-team All-Americans) and faceoff ace Jake Deane. UMass is loaded at midfield, starting with the versatile Jacovina. Schneider (.603 save percentage) emerged as the best young goalie in the nation.

DELAWARE

Coach -- Bob Shillinglaw (29th season, 227-209; 32nd season overall, 251-226)

2006 record -- 12-5

Conference -- Colonial Athletic Association

Top returning scorer -- Cam Howard, senior A (29, 27)

Also back -- Jordan Hall, senior M (17, 19); Dan Deckelbaum, senior M (31, 5); Patrick Biehl, junior D; Beau Davis, sophomore M (18, 6); Alex Smith, senior M; Tommy Scherr, junior G.

Key additions -- Kevin Kaminski, freshman M; Noah Fossner, freshman G; Pat O'Keefe, freshman LSM.

The Sun's take -- The Blue Hens narrowly missed the NCAAs after losing to Hofstra in the CAA title game, but they should be good enough to get an at-large bid if they don't win the league this spring. Hall should complete a high-scoring trio with Howard and. If Scherr (.570 save percentage) can improve on a fine junior year and solidify a decent defense, Delaware could make some postseason noise.

PENN STATE

Coach -- Glenn Thiel (30th season, 213-155; 40th season overall, 290-191)

2006 record -- 8-5

Conference -- Eastern College Athletic

Top returning scorer -- Brian Boyle, senior A (12, 25)

Also back -- Patrick Heim, senior M (17, 5); Gil Pearsall senior M (9, 5); Matt Radecic, senior M; Matt Mulqueen, senior D; Dan Saltsman, senior D; Drew Adams, sophomore G.

Key additions -- Matt Loy, freshman A; Chris Hogan, freshman M; Brian Shea, freshman M.

The Sun's take -- The Nittany Lions have taken big strides forward in recent years under Thiel. Penn State returns its entire starting defense. Scoring could be a problem in the early going, although Loy and Hogan highlight what has been touted as an excellent recruiting class. As part of a strong ECAC, the Nittany Lions are one of four teams with a good shot at making the NCAAs.

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