Patriot League 2019 Projections
In this article, we will be going over my projected order of finish in the Patriot 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!
The Leopards have struggled in the Patriot League for a while, and I don’t see much changing in 2019. In 2018, Lafayette averaged a low 7.8 goals per game while allowing 13.4. That is a recipe for multiple losses. The man up did not help as it had a .190% conversion rate. The man down allowed a high .426% conversion rate. Add those in with 258 total turnovers, and one can see why the Leopards struggled in 2018.
The Leopards do return their best attackman in Conor Walters (28 goals, 21 assists) but lose their second best offensive player in Will McCarthy. Someone will need to step up on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball for the Leopards to prove they don’t belong at the bottom of this list.
8. Holy Cross
The Crusaders come in at a close second to last. Holy Cross mightily struggled in every aspect of the game last year. The offense scored a total of 87 goals while the defense allowed 143. This averages out to 6.69 goals per game with 11 goals allowed. If you average six goals a game, you’ll be lucky to win one game in D1 lacrosse. The defense probably isn’t as bad as the statistics show, as a defense can only keep you in a game so long when your offense can’t score. To make matters worse Kevin Kodzis (21 goals, 7 assists) and Logan LeBlond (10 goals, 10 assists) are both gone. No one else on the roster stands out, so unless someone steps up, Holy Cross will have a rough 2019.
Boston is still a young program and has shown improvement since its founding. The Terriers will be tough in 2019, but I don’t know how much that will reflect in the win-loss column. In 2018, the offense was pretty good: scoring 171 goals while being .568% on the man up. The offense should be on par with last year as Boston returns its two best players in attackmen Chris Gray (31 goals, 40 assists) and James Burr (45 goals, 11 assists).
The defense is the big question mark as it allowed 193 goals and played a part in the team’s .839% clear rate. If you’re not above a .88% clear rate, your clearing is going to cost you some games. Which it did for Boston. The team turned the ball over 232 times as well. If that does not get below 200 in 2019, Boston will fail to be a contender for a conference tournament seed.
Admittedly, I struggled to find a spot for Army. The Black Knights are always competitive, and rarely get blown out, but they haven’t come that close to winning a Patriot League championship. The defense was outstanding in 2018, as it allowed 109 goals (8.38 goals against average). It only allowed a .296% man down conversion rate and caused 112 turnovers.
The offense is what needs to step up for Army to compete for a conference championship. The Black Knights only scored 9 goals per game and struggled to score in the second half. It seems that Army’s lack of depth, compared to higher tier teams, cost them games as they lost the scoring battle in both the third (29-33) and fourth (26-28) quarters. For Army to compete for a conference championship, they will have to keep from being outplayed in the second half.
Navy is very similar to Army. The Midshipmen had an elite defense—only allowing 8.93 goals per game and a .259% man down conversion rate. They also were well-disciplined. The Midshipmen only had 18:30 minutes in penalty time! The offense will have to score more as they only knocked in 9 goals per game. The bad news is Jack Ray (26 goals, 7 assists) is gone. The good news is midfielder Greyson Torain (19 goals, 14 assists) is back. Torain and the offense will be the difference for Navy making the Patriot League tournament. If the offense can bump their goals per game average up by two goals from 2018, they will make the conference tournament.
The Bison had a fairly good 2018. The defense was good—only allowing 9 goals per game. The big question is the offense. It averaged 11.67 goals per game but is losing Will Sands (20 goals, 55 assists), Sean O’Brien (42 goals, 5 assists), and Connor O’Hara (37 goals, 8 assists). I’m giving Bucknell the nod over Navy because their defense returns some key figures and the offense was well coached and started fast. Representing this is the fact Bucknell outscored their opponents 53-35 in the first quarter. It’s tough to beat a team that puts you in a hole early.
The Raiders had a talented offense in 2018 (178 goals), and they should field another one in 2019. Colgate returns attackmen Sam Cleveland (9 goals, 31 assists) and Mile Hawkins (30 goals, 8 assists). That should help the offense to continue firing on all cylinders. The defense should be solid again (157 goals against) as they return sophomore d pole Charlie Messineo (22 groundballs, 6 turnovers). The Raiders will field another competitive team in 2019, and can definitely contend for a conference title.
The Mountain Hawks have something brewing out in Pennsylvania. The offense scored 180 goals in 2018 with a whopping .634% man up! They should be improved in 2019 by returning all three of their attackmen in Andrew Pettit (46 goals, 20 assists), Lucas Spence (35 goals, 23 assists), and Tristan Rai (23 goals, 25 assists). If Lehigh wants to upend Loyola and clinch an NCAA birth, now is the time, since all three of those attackmen will be gone for 2020. The defense is led by senior Matt Rimol (11 groundballs, 6 turnovers), who played a huge part in the defense’s 2018 effort in allowing 161 goals. With all these key pieces coming back for a final run, the Mountain Hawks are the biggest threat to take the conference championship from Loyola.
The Greyhounds are expected by many to win the Patriot League and make a deep run into the NCAA tournament. The pieces are all there after an outstanding 2018 effort where the team scored 223 goals and allowed 148. Those numbers will let you win a lot of games. One knock on the offense is the man up can improve from their .255% conversion rate. Improvement should come though as the Greyhounds bring back star attackman Pat Spencer (35 goals, 59 assists) and young Kevin Lindley (37 goals, 4 assists). The defense will be tough in 2019 as they field a squad led by Paul Volante (18 groundballs, 2 turnovers) who helped them force 164 turnovers. With all these pieces coming back, there is no excuse for the Greyhounds not to win the conference and make a run in the NCAA tournament. This is their last run with Pat Spencer. They can’t afford to waste it.