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  • ReLaxing Luke

Ivy League 2019 Projections

In this article, we will be going over my projected order of finish in the Ivy League. This article does not take into account how far a team may go in the postseason. It is only focused on how a team will finish in their conference during the regular season and conference tournament, if they qualify for a spot. Enjoy!

7. Dartmouth

The Big Green did not have a good 2018 season. Sadly, I don’t think they will do much better than their 2-11 (0-6 in conference) record from last year. The offense put the ball in a measly 110 times, while the defense allowed 183 total goals. That is a massive gap!

The man up didn’t have much success either with a .269% conversion rate, but that is nothing compared to the man down allowing a .511% conversion rate. Over 50% will melt your brain if you’re a lacrosse coach at any level! It’s hard not to question the team’s effort as well when it lost the groundball battle 375 to 456. Maybe they lack the fundamentals to consistently win those battles, but it is concerning to be beaten for groundballs so decisively.

The good news for Dartmouth is they return attackmen George Prince (16 goals, 18 assists) and Ben Martin (26 goals, 7 assists). Defenseman James Sullivan (9 groundballs, 2 turnovers) will return to help the defense. The Big Green will have to show significant improvement to be competitive in the Ivy League. It all starts with the returning playmakers stepping up to build up those around them.

6. Brown

The Bears haven’t done as well since their run to championship weekend in 2016. Brown only went 6-9 (3-3 in conference play) in 2018. They scored a total of 176 goals while giving up 184. Brown did not take good care of the ball with 223 turnovers—this is a big reason why they finished 6-9. The good news is the Bears return three offensive players who will bolster their competitiveness. This trio includes attackman Luke McCaleb (23 goals, 22 assists), midfielder Carson Song (18 goals, 20 assists), and another middie in Michael Panepinto (27 goals, 10 assists). If Brown makes a run to the conference tournament, it will be through these three. However, the defense still has too many question marks with no standouts in the 2018 stats department. This keeps Brown out of my top four.

5. Pennsylvania

The Quakers did some great things including their victory over then #1 Duke (10-9), but ultimately finished 7-8 (3-3 in conference play). The offense and defense struggled together as the Quakers averaged 9.4 goals per game while allowing 10.53; however, in fairness to the defense, this average is brought up due to them letting in 21 against Yale in the season finale. The offense has potential with the return of attackmen Simon Matthias (28 goals, 20 assists) and Adam Goldner (26 goals). This duo will be the reason for better efficiency, if it comes. Since Penn has yet to show increased offensive consistency, they are kept out of making the Ivy League tournament.

4. Princeton

The Tigers had a solid 2018 campaign, going 8-5 (3-3 in conference). They put the ball in the net 177 times while allowing opponents to score 158 times. The man up was extremely effective with a .471% conversion rate. The offense should be just as good, or better in in 2019 as it returns three attackmen in Michael Sowers (27 goals, 56 assists), Chris Brown (23 goals, 15 assists), and Phillip Robertson (33 goals, 3 assists). The defense returns a great defender in George Baughan (24 groundballs, 5 turnovers, who can only improve from his freshman season. The reason Princeton doesn’t come in higher on the list is due to them losing the groundball battle 406-430. They also had a .81% clear rate, which will cost them if not cleaned up. Until those are improved upon, I see Princeton getting knocked out in the first round of the conference tournament.

3. Harvard

The Crimson had a disappointing 2018 season going 7-6 (2-4 in conference play) and finishing with a 5 game losing streak. Harvard confuses me because when you look at the stats, they averaged 10.85 goals per game and allowed 9.33 goals per game They also dominated in groundballs 329 to 154. All those numbers are good, so I don’t recognize how that didn’t translate into a couple more wins. I’m confident the Crimson will be better this year, record wise, as they return two dangerous d poles in Frankie Tangredi (13 groundballs, 3 turnovers) and Jonahtan Butler (22 groundballs, 1 turnover). The offense will have a boost as well, with the return of attackman Kyle Anderson (34 goals, 8 assists). I think 2019 is the year where Harvard will get some wins due to solid performances.

2. Yale

Some may be surprised to see the Bulldogs not winning the Ivy League, but many forget that they were beaten by Cornell in the championship game last year. Yale had the best season in school history with a 17-3 record that ended with a national championship victory over Duke. The numbers are mind-numbingly good as the offense averaged 13.9 goals per game while the defense only let in 8.75 goals a game. 62.8% of those shots were on goal. Groundballs were an absolute massacre for other teams as the Bulldogs outworked them 655-263.

So why is Yale not number one on this list? It’s a little different being the hunted rather than the hunter. Ben Reeves’ (62 goals, 53 assists) departure doesn’t help. The offense will stay dangerous with the return of attackmen Jackson Morrill (40 goals, 32 assists) and Jack Tigh (17 goals, 35 assists), but it is never easy to replace a generational player. The defense will be elite in 2019, with the return of Robert Mooney (18 groundballs, 5 turnovers). Yale will no doubt be a contender for winning it all in 2019, but there is one Ivy League team I’ve studied more, from coaching against them, that I like a little bit more going into 2019.

1. Cornell

The defending Ivy League champs had an outstanding 13-5 (4-2 in conference play) 2018 season before ultimately falling to Maryland in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The offense was deadly, averaging 13.56 goals per game, while the defense was like a brick wall with its allowance of 9.22 goals per game. One thing I really love about Cornell is they outscored their opponents in all four quarters. This is tough to do. The best part is the Big Red return their best players in attackmen Jeff Teat (37 goals, 62 assists) and Clarke Petterson (44 goals, 19 assists), while short stick defenseman Ryan Bray (1 assist, 37 groundballs) also returns. This trio should make it easier for the Big Red to repeat in that impressive statistic. Having coached against Cornell in 2018, I would say they were the most impressive team I saw (that includes Denver and Duke) on tape. I see Cornell as a dark horse to not only win the conference but make championship weekend.

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