Now that the MCLA season is here, the Varsity Club Lacrosse boys are breaking down their rankings every week. These rankings are separate from what we see in the MCLA Coaches’ Poll.
1. South Carolina
Pretty easy to rank the defending champ No.1 in a preseason poll, especially when it was their second championship in a row. They lost their two leading scorers in Sam Weis and Connor Griffin, but brought back almost everyone else along with bringing in NCAA transfers with a solid freshmen class to bring to roster over 60 kids.
2. Georgia Tech
They were only two goals away from winning their first national championship and now bring back almost their entire roster along with plenty of good new guys. Biggest losses are starting goalie, Gino Pagliaro, and 35 point scorer Zach Schenken.
3. Virginia Tech
Lost to South Carolina in February and then didn’t lose a game on their way to clinching the No.1 seed before getting upset in the second round by Georgia Tech. 2nd Team All-American Goalie Hunter LeClair graduated, but their top five scorers all return including 1st Team Attackman Aidan Smith
4. Brigham Young
Entered tournament as the No.2 seed and lost in the Final Four to South Carolina by two. They will be without starting goalie and MCLA DI Player of the Year, Mason Moon, as well as their leading scorer last year, Seth Garff (43G/38A). Plenty of other good players will be back including Alton Taylor who had 57G/23A as a freshman last year.
5. Concordia Irvine
Their only regular season loss was to BYU by one. The Eagles then lost to GCU in the SLC Tournament and fell to the No.9 seed at Nationals where they lost to Georgia Tech in the first round. 2nd Team All-American FOS Cade Poe as well as defenseman and Godekeraw Award winner Jake Cloutier return along with most of last year’s team along with some NCAA transfers.
Clemson’s top nine scores from last year graduated and their long-time head coach, Buff Grubb, retired. However, they do bring back some solid guys and got a couple NCAA DI transfers. New head coach, Andrew Tobias, was an assistant coach the past three seasons and has head coach experience at UNCC.
Only lost to Clemson and BYU by one last season, before losing to Clemson again by one in the ALC Tournament and then lost to South Carolina in the second round of the national tournament. Top attackman Carter Elliot (45G/13A) and Honorable Mention All-American goalie Ryan Reynolds graduated, but most other starters are back this season.
Completed an undefeated regular season with wins over Arizona State, Arizona, and Colorado State. They beat Florida in the first round of nationals then lost to Clemson the next round by one goal. Biggest losses are on defense, Honorable Mention All-American Goalie Jack Courington, and non-faceoff groundball leaders Dmitri Roth and Alex Napgezek all graduated.
9. Southern California
One of the best seasons in team history, they only lost to Cal Poly, Arizona State, Concordia, and Nevada before going on a run to win the SLC and then make it to the Elite Eight of nationals. This season they have another tough schedule which includes BYU, BC, and Utah Valley. Biggest losses are 2nd Team SLC Midfielders Jack Watters and Ryder Mora. However leading scorer Antonie Moats as well as 1st Team SLC pole Donovan Econn and middie Harri Hetrick will be back. The team should be big again giving the Spartans plenty of depth.
The Gators are looking very deep this year with a roster of almost 60 kids. Last year they made it to nationals but lost in the first round to Minnesota. They only have to leave the state three times to go to Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina, but still play a tough schedule which includes BC, TCU, Clemson, Colorado State, and Colorado for out-of conference games. Their defense took a huge hit with the loss of 1st Team Defender Parker Beeson (DPOY) and Tyler Schafter, and 2nd Team Goalie Matt Corazon. However they returned 1st Team SSDM Stefan Mostovych and 2nd Team poles Kenny Geremia and Cole Fox. On offense, top scorers James Dugan, Nolan Testra, and Michael Fox return to Gainesville.
11. Boston College
Defending CLC DI Champs, they had a huge win over South Carolina to start the season, and ended up losing to USC by one in the first round of nationals. They bring back a lot of good players as well as bring in some transfers. They have a tough out-of-conference schedule this year, traveling to Florida, California, and the Carolina to start the season.
The Wildcats had wins over Chapman, UCLA, SDSU, and GCU which got them into the SLC Tournament where they lost a close one to USC. In the national tournament they lost in the first round to eventual champions, South Carolina. This year they host TCU, Oregon, Northeastern, and also play Cal in LA. Leading score Max Bergamo will be back however the next five scorers on the team graduated. On defense, starting goalie Tommy Atella, 1st Team LSM Ian Takas, and 2nd Team Defenseman Connor Willihnganz return along with plenty of freshman and NCAA transfers.
13. Grand Canyon
The Lopes had some ups and downs all season, however they came alive when it mattered most by upsetting Concordia in the 1st round of the SLC Tournament to earn themselves an at-large bid to the national tournament where they lost to Liberty in the first round. This year they only have to travel as far as LA and San Diego and play Northeastern, BYU, Utah, and Oregon all at home. They keep their top four scorers including 60 point attackman Nick Whittall as well as 2nd Team Goalie along with faceoff Jack Hives and Matt Hartig.
14. Arizona State
Had some huge wins over Clemson and USC, and were primed to make a run at the SLC tournament, but were unfortunately disqualified due to an ineligible player on the roster. They get to stay in Tempe all year except for two trips to LA and San Diego. They also host BYU, Northeastern, and Michigan State in one weekend in March. An extremely young team, they only lost a couple seniors last year and return 1st Team Midfielder Jack Rogers as well as their five other top scorers behind Rogers.
15. Cal Poly
Defending WCLL DI Champs, they have a new head coach in Morgan Weireter. They bring back leading scorer Luke Mikolajewski along with a lot of other talented players. They lost in the first round of nationals to Clemson by three goals last year. This season they are only playing three teams not currently ranked.
One of the last teams to not get an at-large bid to nationals last year. They only dropped three games all year, but lost in the WCLL finals by one to Cal Poly. The Bears will be without their top five scorers from last year, but have 31 point attackman Jacob Steensma returning as well as good kids coming in.
Just like Cal, they lost their conference title game by one and missed out on one of the last at-large bids to Nationals. They beat TCU and BC last year and only lost to national runner-up Georgia Tech by two. They bring back multiple All-CLC guys and a couple of transfers.
Long time assistant and alumni of the program, Joel Kallas, takes over as head coach after MCLA Hall of Famer Dallas Hartley retired. Had some good conference wins late to keep their postseason hopes alive, but were ultimately eliminated because Arizona State had to forfeit games. It can be argued they have one of the hardest if not the hardest schedule in the league. They start the season flying to Minnesota in February to play UMN and Northeastern. They also play Cal, Santa Clara, Clemson, BC, South Carolina, Cal Poly, and UCSB on top of their conference schedule. SLC OPOTY Liam Nelson is back, and their only big loss is Fran Bonadies (17G/21A) at attack.
One more conference championship runner-up that was one of the last teams to miss an at-large bid. It was the first season with new head coach, Guy Cerasoli, after 2014 national champion and head coach since 2008, John Galvin, stepped down. They take two separate trips to Virginia to play Virginia Tech and Liberty and to Florida to play UF and FSU.
Last year was Head Coach Kyle Hartzell’s first year, and this year will be their first back in the LSA. They went 4-0 against LSA teams and beat BYU while they were No.1. Christian Reno (34G/19A) and Ari Weiss (23G/8A) will be back at attack for the Longhorns.
21. Santa Clara
The Broncos had big wins over Cal and Utah Valley and made it to the semifinals of the WCLL Championship. Top scores Thomas Bingham and Carson Lombardi who each had 43 points will both be back as well as 1st Team WCLL goalie Louis Harvey.
22. Colorado State
Had good wins over UGA, Texas A&M, Utah Valley, and Michigan State. They have a decent amount of guys returning and should have some good freshmen and transfers.
23. Texas Christian
Defending LSA champs, they make a trip out to Arizona to play Arizona State and Arizona for their out of conference games. Their top four scorers will be back as well as LSA DPOTY, goalie Carter Schubert.
24. Utah Valley
Had good wins over Boise State, Texas A&M, and Cal Poly. Top scorer Chad Renslow (50 points) graduated, but Preston Burbidge who was right behind him with 40 points and starting goalie Max Sturgill will be back.
25. Boise State
Defending PNCLL champs, they unfortunately lose their top four scorers from last year as well as starting goalie Ethan Sepulveda. They play a tough out of conference schedule of BYU, Utah Valley, and Utah.
1. Rhode Island
They were the 2022 national runner-up, but get the number one spot since Utah moved up to DI. They beat five of the teams ranked in this poll and their only DII loss was the national championship. They bring back 70 point scorer Anthony Guarino and 50 point scorer Keegan Reilly, but lose Jack Duffy and Charlie White who each also had 50 points. They will play Miami, Kennesaw State, and Grand Valley State this year.
2. St. Thomas
Lost in the Final Four to Utah, which is their worst finish to a season since 2015 when they also lost in the Final Four. They bring back most of last year’s team which includes 71 point scorer Cabe Maskevich and 1st Team UMLC Goalie, Gunner Arens.
Lost in the Final Four to URI last year. 10 of their 18 games will be against teams on this list as they look to repeat as PNCLL Champs. They bring back 1st Team PNCLL Goalie Hunter Heaston and leading scorer Miles Hess (38G/40A). They also add Montana running back Marcus Knight who rushed for 1,000 yards in ‘19 and had NCAA DI lacrosse offers out of high school.
Only DII loss last year was to URI in the second round of the tourney. One of the first 15 seeds to win their first game of the tournament. DII Player of the Year attackman Nick Ferens (56G/46A) and 1st Team ALC Goalie Noah Becker graduated, but they have plenty of guys ready to step up.
5. Grand Valley State
Lost in second round of tourney to eventual champs Utah and were one goal away from winning the UMLC Championship. Beat Missouri St, NDSU twice, St. John’s, UMD, but lost to Purdue. They bring back most of their team including UMLC DII ROTY Luke Tardich who had 36 goals and 37 assists.
6. Cal State San Marcos
Top scorer Jason Thibeault returns with Kobe Brown who had 32 goals and 24 assists on top of 92 groundballs. The Cougars bring back most of last year’s team and bring in some experienced assistant coaches. They look to win their second straight SLC DII Title.
7. Missouri State
Won their third straight LSA Championship before losing in the second round of nationals. They lose top scorer Owen Kehoe who had 82 points last year, but bring back a good amount of starters and bring in some NCAA transfers.
8. Utah State
Had one of the most impressive stretches of games last year when they beat North Dakota State, St. John’s, St. Thomas, and Minnesota Duluth in the span of five days all in Minnesota. They bring back last years leading scorer Cooper Williams and bring on a lot of good freshmen.
9. College of Idaho
Only losses were in PNCLL Championship and first Round of National Tournament. They lose four of their top five scorers, but the one returning, Loy Howard, had 81 last year. Last year they had pretty low numbers, but have brought in a good sized freshman class this year. They play a tough schedule with a lot of ranked opponents this year.
10. Kennesaw State
The Owls dominated last year only losing to Georgia in the preseason before going undefeated in the regular season and winning the SELC DII title. They scored 20+ points four different times including a 28-4 win over NAIA Point University. After getting the No.3 seed in the tournament they were upset in the first round by Cal State San Marcos. They play three DI games against Vanderbilt, Mizzou, and Georgia Tech. They lose leading scorers Dylan Polanski and Dylan Stanhope, but return 2nd Team SELC Attackman and 3rd Team Midfielder Chasen Champbell and Clayton Hamby. They also retained the 1st Team duo of LSM Scott Rzasa and FOS Adam Piejak as well as Second Team goalie Joe Shaub.
11. Florida Gulf Coast
Last season the Eagles only lost to Division I Florida and Kennesaw State before losing to Kennesaw State in the conference tourney and Montana at nationals. This year they have an out-of-conference schedule that includes Minnesota Duluth, Bridgewater State, and UNC Charlotte (all tournament teams). Their biggest loss is 3rd Team Attackman Carter Ayers, but other than that they didn’t lose many players. They return four 1st Team players in Jayson Andino (A), William Watson (D), Grant Shafer (G), and Max Perez (M) as well as a 50+ point scorer in Christian Cucinotta.
12. North Dakota State
Lost in the first round of the national tournament to Utah. Played a tough schedule last year which featured all ranked DII teams. They get back UMLC DPOTY Ryan Donabauer as well as 2nd Team UMLC Goalie Zach Wollack. They play another tough schedule of almost all ranked teams.
13. Montana State
Biggest loss is last year’s leading scorer Alexander Brown, but other than that a lot of starters return. 1st Team All-American defenseman Joshua Wilson and 2nd Team RMLC Goalie Ethan Zwickey are names to look out for. They start the season against Minnesota Duluth and St. Thomas.
14. Florida Atlantic
Out in Boca Raton, the Owls had a great season only losing to national runner-up Rhode Island, Division I South Florida and FGCU before losing to Kennesaw State at the conference tournament and No.1 seed St. Thomas at nationals. This year they have a tough road trip to Springfield, MO, to play Missouri State, North Dakota State, and Dayton. Leading scorer and SELC DII OPOTY Kyle Romano (46G/29A) graduated. However the next five leading scorers including 1st Team Midfielder Colin Hunter, 2nd Team Attackman Drake Summers, and 60 point scorer Ryan Thomas are back. Gabriel Cirillo (1st Team Defense), Umberto Zammataro (2nd Team LSM), and Brandon Huff (2nd Team FO) all return as well giving FAU plenty of experience.
️2023 SPRING SCHEDULE ️
Mark your calendars because our official 2023 spring schedule has been released! Stay up to day as with your FAU Owls Lacrosse team as we make our way to Spring…We can’t wait to see you out there! #TTK #rollowls 🦉 pic.twitter.com/Eqahc2vr9r
— FAU Men’s Lacrosse (@faumenslax) December 26, 2022
15. UC San Diego
Only DII loses were to Cal State San Marcos in the SLC Finals and to GVSU in the first round of nationals. An extremely young team, most starters will be back including Austin Ortel (81 points), 2nd Team SLC FOS Austin Weinshelbaum, and 1st Team SLC LSM Cameron Parsa.
Played a tough out-of-conference schedule on top of an already tough UMLC schedule. Had big wins over Montana State, St. Thomas, and Dayton. They lose their top two scorers, but 24 point scorer Cole Herder is back for another year.
Only losses were to St. Thomas, Minnesota Duluth, and Missouri State, Were looking like a tournament team, but being deemed ineligible for the postseason because of an ineligible player. Lost their two highest scorers, but have a lot of good guys returning.
18. UC Davis
Won the WCLL DII Championship, but the conference did not receive an AQ and they were not selected for an at-large bid to Nationals. Only DII loss was to UC San Diego. Most of the team’s starters are returning including LSM THomas Neill who had 21 goals and 4 assists as a long pole.
Miami did pretty well considering they were sort of in a rebuilding year and hadn’t played a full season since 2018. They beat Georgia Southern, North Florida, and Division I UCF and only lost to FAU and FGCU by a combined three goals. This year they have Rhode Island and Duluth as well as back-to-back DI games against FSU and UCF. Their own loss is LSM Billy Bice, and they return a roster of about 40+ kids. They return leading scorer and 3rd Team Attackman, Robert Westwater III and 3rd Team Defenseman Hunter Smith.
20. Wake Forest
Only DII losses were to Coastal Carolina and UNC Charlotte. Led by Week 0 Varsity Club Lacrosse Performance of the Week Award Presented by Salty Lacrosse Jack Church in net. They beat UNC (NCLL) this past weekend and play Charleston and The Citadel this upcoming weekend.
21. Coastal Carolina
Went to the ALC Championship but lost to UNCC and missed out on and at-large bid. 1st Team All ALC Midfielder Cameron Fagan is coming back for a fifth year after scoring 28 points last year.
22. Northern Arizona
Had good wins over Loyola Marymount and UC Irvine. 1st Team All-SLC Goalie Louis Penaflor who had a 67.4% save percentage last year will be back. They beat DIII NEw Mexico this past weekend and face GCU next.
23. Air Force
Last season was their first ever. Had wins over Fort Lewis, Wyoming, and MSU Denver. Made RMLC DII tournament, but lost in the first round. 1st Team All-American Faceoff Nicholas Capannelli will return for his second season after going 86% along with seven goals and four assists.
24. Northwest Nazarene
First full season not affected by COVID. They had a big DI win over Washington State as well as Sierra Nevada. Were a very young team last year and return leading scorer Keaton Bean who had 58 points last year.
25. Bridgewater State
Made the CLC Championship, but ultimately lost to Rhode Island. This season they play two NCAA DIII teams in Dean College and Mass Maritime, as well as UNCC and FGCU. Most their starters are returning.