The 2023 season kicks off on Saturday, February 4th. We look to offer our college lacrosse winners and contenders for each of the ten conferences. In order to get you started, let’s get you caught up on a busy offseason. Movement was a key theme in 2023.
The NEC and SoCon stopped sponsoring lacrosse in 2022. Most of those teams joined forces to create the Atlantic 10. Arguably one of the strongest and most competitive mid-major college lacrosse conferences from top to bottom. Jacksonville made the move to the ASUN and Merrimack and Bryant went to the America East.
Players were also on the move. Kevin Warne wears the transfer portal king crown once more in 2023. He brought in Tucker Dordevic (Syracuse) and a host of Tar Heels to make a run at Memorial Day weekend. A number of D3 players made the jump to D1 for their grad transfer year. Donal Mullane will try his hand at being the best as he transfers from Bowdoin to Maryland. Mullane was on fire in 2022 scoring 59 goals and 46 assists. He will be counted on to help the Terps who will be missing some key offensive firepower from their championship squad.
The ACC is ready to turn the book in 2022. Virginia was the lone representative in the NCAA Tournament and were bounced in the quarterfinals by Maryland. Duke and Notre Dame battled inconsistencies throughout the season to miss the tournament. Virginia comes into 2023 as arguably the most talented team in D1. Connor Shellenberger and Petey LaSalla will be on a mission this year and will look to lead the Cavaliers back to Memorial Day weekend.
Notre Dame started the season 2-4 before ripping off six straight wins. They will once again be without Jake Taylor to start the season. The attackman sparked the Irish on their winning streak. Duke battled inconsistency in 2022 despite having arguably the most talented player in the game, Brennan O’Neill. Questions in goal and at faceoff see them as the third best in the conference and possibly once again on the bubble for May.
Contender(s): Notre Dame
Vermont rode a slow start to capture the America East title in 2022. Repeating may prove challenging with Thomas McConvey taking his grad transfer at Virginia and Chris Fief having to replace both coordinators in the offseason. Bryant and Merrimack come in from the NEC, adding depth to a strong conference. Scott Marr and Albany will look to bounce back after a disappointing 2022.
Contender(s): Albany, Merrimack
Robert Morris upended their old coach Andrew McMinn and Utah in the inaugural ASUN tournament in 2022. This year the conference welcomes Jacksonville and Mercer (SoCon), along with Lindenwood and Queens (D2). John Galloway and the Dolphins had a strong 2022 and reinforced their roster by adding Dylan Watson (Georgetown) and Cole Daninger (Rutgers). Air Force will be led by attackman Brandon Dodd. He led the Falcons with 46 goals and 23 assists in 2022. The ASUN will be playing a number of their conference games on Wednesdays. A great opportunity for exposure for smaller college lacrosse conferences.
Contender(s): Utah and Air Force
Five of the six teams in the newly formed Atlantic 10 qualified or came within a game of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament in each of the last two seasons. St. Joseph’s looks to be the odds-on favorite to come out of this conference. Zach Cole will play make it, take it, with a returning attack unit that notched close to 150 points in 2022. UMass comes over from the CAA and a strong defensive approach that should put them in contention. High Point and Richmond face roster turnover from 2022 and will have a number of new faces in bigger roles in 2023.
Pick: St. Joseph’s
Bill Tierney announced that 2023 will be his last season in coaching. The Hall of Famer will look to try to find a way to knock off Kevin Warne and the Hoyas who have won the last four Big East Conference Tournament Championships. New faces in Providence (Bobby Benson) and at St. John’s (Justin Turri) should continue to add depth to the conference going forward. Does Mike Corrado and Villanova have an upset on their mind in 2023?
Contender(s): Villanova and Denver
Maryland is 35-1 in the last two seasons. John Tillman has dominated their Big Ten counterparts and haven’t lost in conference play since 2019. The Terps will have to replace their four SSDMs and their top four point scorers from 2022. Nick Myers knows this is his chance and was active in the transfer portal to strengthen the Buckeyes. Myers added Richie LaCalandra (LIU), Marcus Hudgins (Army), Justin Sherrer (Maryland), and Kyle Lewis (Lynchbyrg) to a strong roster. Rutgers and Brian Brecht refortified in the portal to continue to build off the momentum of 2022.
Pick: Ohio State
Contender(s): Maryland and Rutgers
Delaware found consistency and won the CAA and then knocked off the No.2 Hoyas on Sunday night of the first round of the NCAA Tournament. This was a strong and balanced league in 2022 with each of the teams finishing 3-2 or 2-3 in conference play. Stony Brook comes from the America East. The Sea Wolves were kept out of postseason play due to switching conferences in 2022. They pose the biggest threat to the Blue Hens repeating as CAA champions in 2023.
Pick: Stony Brook
What can the Ivy do for an encore? The league sent six teams to the NCAA Tournament in 2022. Princeton and Cornell both made it to Memorial Day weekend. The Ivy League put the ACC and Big Ten on notice by having the best non-conference record amongst the big three. Each of the teams will return a lot of the talent from their 2022 teams. Matt Brandau, Sam Handley, Sam English, CJ Kirst, Sam King, and Devon McLane are ready to lead their respective teams back to the NCAA Tournament in May. Buckle up for another fast-paced action packed season where the Ivy will once again leave the rest of D1 green with envy.
Contender(s): Princeton, Cornell, and Penn
The MAAC is one of the largest college lacrosse conferences in D1. Manhattan upset St. Bonaventure last year in the conference tournament to capture the NCAA Bid. The Jaspers are now breaking in a new coach and the Bonnies are off to the Atlantic 10. This conference should be wide open. Like the ASUN, the MAAC will make use of Wednesdays as an opportunity to showcase their conference games.
Contender(s): Siena and Mount St. Mary’s
Boston University was a feel-good story for 2022. They won the Patriot League regular season and conference championship to make the program’s first NCAA appearance. They return a high-scoring attack unit and FOGO Conor Calderone. Joey Kamish, Evan James, and Adam Poitras will look to slow the Terriers for Loyola. Navy will also look to take a big step in 2023. Midfielder Xavier Arline will be pulling double duty this spring playing for the lacrosse team and taking reps as the starting quarterback for the football team.
Contender(s): Loyola and Navy