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2023 Team Previews

(ALPHA ORDER BY DIVISION)

 

Written by Todd Karpovich Twitter @toddkarpovich 
Edited by Staff @NCLLax 
(CONFERENCE PREVIEWS WILL DROP BY FEBRUARY 5th. ALL TEAMS THAT  SUBMIT THE NCLL PRESEASON FORM WILL BE INCLUDED.) 

DIVISION I

CORTLAND - Empire Conference (Preseason Rank #14)

Cortland has been one of the most successful programs in the NCLL and  that trend should continue this season after the Red Dragons National  Tournament appearance in 2022. 

The team has talent and depth throughout the roster and will be led by  senior attackman Joseph Lamson (Lafayette High School, New York) who  had 24 goals and 20 assists last season when it was the Empire  Conference champion. 

“The expectation is to return to the national tournament and finish at least  ranked Top 5,” said President and goalkeeper Christopher Cascio. “With  over 25 returners and a record number of interest from new players to join  the team, we’re ready to start where we left off last spring. Strong defense  amplified with some explosive midfielders and sneaky attackmen will be the  keys.” 

Cortland went 7-1 in the regular season and 2-1 in the playoffs to capture  the title. The club also went 3-1 in the fall with wins over Syracuse, RIT, and  Binghamton and a loss to Cornell. 

Cortland should be stout defensively. 

Cascio (Oceanside High School) finished the season with 88 saves. He will  be supported by defensemen Nicholas Defelice (Farmingdale High School)  and Jack Paton (South Glen Falls High School).  

The midfield will be led by Gunnar Johnson, a junior from Oceanside that  had 12 goals and 19 assists last season. Also back are seniors Ryan Smith  (Northport High School) and Alex Wenzler (Kings Park High School). Smith  had 10 goals, eight assists, and 22 ground balls while Wenzler finished with  11 goals, 16 assists, and 12 ground balls.  

Sam Rovner (Hewlett High School) joins Lamson on the attack and  contributed eight goals, 14 assists, and 7 ground balls last year.  

“Some players from our NCAA program, will also be joining the team this  year,” Cascio said. “Cornell will be a notable opponent, as we look to  reclaim the Empire Conference title, and after losing to them in the fall, the  spring is a must-win.” 

MARYLAND - Chesapeake Conference (Preseason Rank #3)

A historically nationally Top 5 ranked program, and some would say a  decade Top 3 program as Maryland is a mainstay at the National  Championship, bowing late in back to back seasons to Navy while also  hoisting several of their own. 

The Terrapins are looking to capture that crown again from the competitive  Chesapeake Conference which boosts five nationally ranked teams. Throw  in Rutgers, #14 Cortland, #10 Vermont, #4 Penn State and #2 Ohio State,  you can see why the Terps will face a gauntlet. 

Maryland went 9-2 in 2022 and returns both of its leading scorers — Evan  Jones and Alex Sewell, who was sidelined by a late-season injury.  

Goalie Sam Matusek, defenseman Jordi Anderou and FOGO Micah  Kranzel also return after earning starting jobs last year.  

“The strength of the team starts with our FOGO who is returning for his  senior year after dominating the league last year as a junior,” club president  Andrew Skiscim said. “Our offense is looking super strong again having 

only lost one midfielder between the first two lines and a single starting  player from the attack. Both have been replaced by a middie transfer and  the attackman was replaced by one of our starters last fall that was  studying abroad in the spring.” 

“Defensively, we graduated 2/3 of the starting poles and our starting LSM.  While our defense was dominant last year, we also caused a lot of  turnovers and also had our fair share of penalties.” 

Maryland lost seven key players to graduation but added several talented  transfers, including midfielders Brennan Treacy, Matt Deans, and Erik  Augustin, and talented freshmen, such as Nick Candella (Queen Anne) and  Austin Conerly (Sherwood).  

“I think that we will be fine on defense though since we have our starting  goalie returning and between the two of them, the defense will hold its  own,” Skiscim said. 

VIRGINIA- Blue Ridge Conference (Preseason Rank #8)

Virginia has unfinished business after falling to Maryland in last season’s  Division I quarterfinals.  

The Cavaliers have a loaded roster capable of making a run all the way to  this year’s championship. 

The Cavaliers have a strong defense led by a mix of returning  upperclassmen and a key transfer in Javon Smith, who was a two-time  Ohio Athletic Conference Honorable Mention at NCAA Division III Ohio  Northern.  

The Hoos should also be able to score on any team as every single one of  the starting attackman return as well as the addition of NCAA Division I  Utah transfer Jack Reichert, who prepped at Lawrenceville High School in  New Jersey and graduated from Western Albemarle High School where he  was named First Team All-Central Virginia.

Doug Godine, a fifth-year senior from the Gilman School, leads the offense.  He will be supported by fellow senior Taylor Musa, who hails from Riverside  High School and is the state of Virginia’s all-time leading high school goal  scorer. National player Ethan Ashley is also back on attack as he was the  leading goal scorer for Team Korea.  

Virginia will get a boost from short-stick defensive midfielder Brendan Knott  as fellow midfielder Axel Gyllenhoff (Potomac HS) is looking to build off a  successful first season with the club.  

Virginia went 4-3 last season and was edged by National finalist Maryland  10-9 in the playoffs in College Park. 

The Cavaliers have a tough schedule with Nationally Ranked games  against Navy, Penn State and then a rubber match versus the Terps.  Virginia has an active roster with more than 70 players has the more  intense the practices, the easier the games will be.  

DIVISION II

BRYANT - New England Conference

Bryant should be one of the top defensive teams in the New England  Conference. Allowing 5.0 GAA during the fall, the Bulldogs defense is led  by Aidan Hill (The Hill Academy), Dave Marani (Silver Lake), Michael  McNeil (Medfield), and Ben Fein (Hanover).  

Last season, Bryant went 7-3 and finished the year ranked #14 in the final  regular season NCLL rankings. The club also made its 1st national playoff  appearance and will look to keep that momentum going this season.  

“The biggest strength on our team is our defense, which has many great  players on that end who all communicate well and can lock anyone up,” 

club captain Michael McNeil said. “We have also been getting stronger on  the offensive side of the ball as well near the end of the fall ball season.  Players became more comfortable with each other as well as getting the  offense rolling to score a lot more.” 

Bryant lost eight seniors to graduation — four starters and two contributors  on the attack. 

But the club has new depth.  

The attack is led by Spencer Peters (Wayne Valley) and Joseph Chiappetta  (St. Anthony’s). Sophomore Jason Consiglio from Maryland powerhouse  Calvert Hall will help lead the midfield with Harry Falowski (Joel Barlow)  and Thomas Fruci (Walpole High School). 

Several newcomers are also expected to make an impact, including Billy  Gardner (Franklin High School) on defense, Vin Pesce (Westhampton  Beach) in the midfield, and Keo Kiriakos (Masconomet) on the attack.  Long-stick midfielder Gerrit McAloon from Frisco, Texas, will also battle for  minutes.  

Bryant has key matchups against #12 Brown, newcomers Tufts and  Babson as well as conference champion #7 UMass to name a few, Bryant  will have to keep the momentum going forward as the conference is as  tough as ever. 

“Our most notable rivals are UMass who we lost to in the playoffs last year  and Brown, who we always have a close game as that game always goes  down to the wire” McNeil said. 

LOUISVILLE- Midwest Conference (Preseason Rank #5)

Last spring, Louisville won the Midwest Conference title and reached the  Elite 8 for the first time since 2017. After a sluggish start in the National  Tournament, the fourth quarter could not come fast enough for their  opponent as the Cards made a remarkable run before time slipped away.  Expect that knowledge to fuel an intense fire for 2023.

The Cardinals have a chance to go even farther this year with a high powered offense, depth at the “X” and an athletic midfield.  .  

Louisville return a solid corps in the lineup, including goalie TJ DiSantis  (Oldham County), attackmen Ryan Dowling (Chattahoochee) and Braden  Carver (New Oxford) and sophomore face-off specialist Hunter Satterfield  (Central Hardin). 

Louisville went 6-6 last season and knocked off defending conference  champion Kentucky 11-8 in the Midwest Championship. The Cardinals also  had a successful fall with wins over Division I Cincinnati (10-3) and Ohio  (10-6) while ending up 3-1 including another win over rival Kentucky. 

The Cardinals add some key freshmen with face-off ace Luke Lewis  (Westfield), long-stick middie Brady Tucker (Little Miami), midfielder Luke  Truffer (Guerin Catholic), and short-stick defensive midfielder Aden Lipsy  (Brewster Academy). While 2022 ended at .500, expect Louisville to be  ready this time around. 

OSWEGO- Empire East Conference

With talented returning players and a high-powered freshmen class,  Oswego plans to make “serious noise around the league.” 

Junior Carter O’Brien (Chenango Forks HS) led the team with 19 goals and  five assists last season while FOGO/midfielder Jack Hyland (New Paltz)  won 60% of his draws as a sophomore.  

Senior Mike Rattinger (Commack High School) and sophomore Chancler  Kiner (Homer High School) will help anchor the midfield, while Alex Couch  (Watertown High School) will help patrol the defense.  

With an unusually strong freshman and transfer class, we’re looking to  make some serious noise around the NCLL,” said captain Christian  Ferrara. “Our main two goals for this year are to finish .500 or better and  make the conference playoffs. We also hope to be nationally ranked for the  first time since 2018.” 

Last season, Oswego went 3-7 but earned its first win over a Division I  school in club history — an 8-6 victory over Albany. The club also won  three out of its last four games with their only loss in that span to eventual  Division II National Champion Union. 

The team will get a boost from several transfers and a talented freshmen  class. 

Oswego added a couple of long-stick midfielders with sophomore transfer  Jake Palmer Sophomore (Lowville High School) and first-year player Aidan  Mcgowan (Skaneateles High School).  

Junior goalie Logan Sather (Alfred State, Baldwinsville High School) is also  in the mix, along with defensemen Andy Bishuk (Keuka College, Auburn  High School) and Jake Crandall (Thousand Islands High School.) 

Oswego is ready to tackle a challenging spring schedule in the Empire  Conference, of which are several nationally ranked programs and former  National Champions. 

“Some notable contests for the spring will be rematches with Niagara, and  Albany,” Ferrara said. “We look forward to playing Syracuse and likely one  of either Cortland or Cornell. Of special interest is renewing our rivalry with  Clarkson.” 

QUINNIPIAC- New England Conference

Quinnipiac University has its sights on reclaiming the New England  Conference title with an experienced team that will be complemented by a  talented group of newcomers.  

The program finished last spring with a 3-4-1 overall record with narrow  losses to both UMass B and Bryant. 

The attack is led by Jared Chase, a Cheshire High School (Conn.) grad  who led the team with 15 goals and five assists, while Nick Curran added  two goals and three helpers. 

Long-stick middie Mike Cimis (Woodstock Union High School in Vermont)  is also back, along with sophomore Nick Migliore (4 goals, 2 assists). The defense is led by senior and Randolph (N.J.) alum Alex Wanatick and  fellow New Jersey native junior Matt Francis (St. Joseph’s Regional  School).  

“We have a very solid team with a good group of returners that balance out  the field with newer players,” said President Alex Wanatick. “With a  defensive heavy team, our strengths are on that end with clearing and  man-to-man as our go to defense. Offensively, Quinnipiac is strong as they  return four solid attackmen rotating one in the midfield corps to balance the  field. Three of our attackmen are returners with the other an incoming  freshman [Ryan Maher] who was originally committed to the varsity team.  With quick ball movement, we’ll find success through our attack.  

“With heavy competition within the New England and NY Metro conference,  we look forward to some tough competition.”  

In addition to the returning players, Quinnipiac has several transfers and  incoming freshmen, including Maher from Garden City high school in New  York, who is expected to make an immediate impact.  

Ben Olmsted will provide depth at the midfield after transferring from  Caldwell College, a NCAA Division II program. Tyler Stiewing from St.  Joseph’s in Connecticut will battle for time in the goal.  

Also in the mix are defenseman Quinn Saltzman (Apponequet, Mass.) and  midfielder Daniel Francis (St. Joseph’s Regional, New Jersey). 

These players will provide key depth for Quinnipiac, which lost eight  seniors, six of whom were starters and four served as captains.  

“More than half our team are new players and most are freshmen,”  Wanatick said. “It’s definitely a new team compared to last year but they’re  ready to come to compete for the title. … We tried to play harder teams in  Division I this fall to best prepare us for the teams ahead. We are looking 

forward to some good matchups against UMass B, UMass Lowell, Brown,  and Bryant, hoping to make some redemption from last year’s close  losses.” 

Rowan - Liberty Conference

Rowan University has a solid mix of veteran players and newcomers that  has the club excited about the upcoming season in the Division II of the  Liberty Conference.  

The team, a regular program in the Top 20, has begun implementing new  strategies for practice and games that allow it to play to its strengths and  improve its weaknesses. 

Rowan finished unexpectedly at 2-9 last year, but expectations are much  higher for ‘23. The program is looking to compete with high-powered clubs,  including West Chester, St. Joseph’s and TCNJ, while battling up and  coming Williamson Trade and Rutgers-Camden: Drexel, a dark horse, will  be another program the Profs will need to watch out for. 

“Last spring was a tough season but we feel that we have bounced back  this fall with extremely competitive games against #3 West Chester and  Division I #20 Loyola,” President William Dennery said. “We are confident  that our team is one of the best groups we’ve had in a while and our  combined skill level will push us into the playoffs and beyond this upcoming  season.”  

Rowan has an experienced attack led by Sean McHugh (Delran), Cole  Rueblinger (Washington Township), and Hunter Lippincott (Lenape), along  with sophomore John Ipri (Delran).  

Fifth-year senior Dylan Ritchkoff (Hamilton West) will help anchor the  midfield with Ryan Giles (Lacey Township). Transfer Nick Enoch (Delran)  will also see time in the midfield. Fellow Ryan Collins (Township) leads the  defense.  

With the fall W against Loyola and a narrow 9-7 loss to West Chester, the  goal is to carry that spirit into the spring. 

SLIPPERY ROCK - Three Rivers Conference

Slippery Rock goalie Joshua Wise-Harper is confident the team’s strong  defense will be complemented by a balanced attack. 

The club hopes to challenge for the coveted Three Rivers Conference title,  several of which reside in Slippery Rock when the Pride were Keystone  Conference champions several times over. 

“We had a record recruitment this year and that brings lots of new and  impressive talent to all areas of the field and plenty of potential to grow,”  said Wise-Harper, who also serves as captain with Vito Pisani, James  Border, and David Flath. “Currently our team is very defense-oriented,  however, our attack has been really showing out recently and will become a  vital strength before the end of the season.” 

Slippery Rock’s attack will be led by James Border (Seneca Valley) and  Brody Allison (Butler High).  

Junior Anthony Malloy (Butler High) is back in the midfield and will get  support from freshman Dante Bolden (Moon Township High).  

Long poles David Flath (Stafford High) and Alexander Fleet (Norwin High)  also have experience.  

“A lot of the guys still feel the sting from our losses of last season and are  ready to come out the gate this season with a vengeance and a win in their  minds. If nothing else, my team’s determination is our greatest strength,”  Wise-Harper said. “Of course, IUP is going to be the game we are most  anticipating given our school’s long history of rivalry, however, Kent State  and several of the other conference teams that have stuck in our minds and  ones we look forward to competing with again.” Losing never sits well,  especially for a program unaccustomed to it. Expect the Pride to reach their  stride and surprise several teams this spring.

ST. JOSEPH’S - Liberty Conference (Preseason Rank #6)

Saint Joseph’s University lost 16 seniors to graduation but the Hawks have  reloaded and should be competitive in Division II of the Liberty  Conference. Coming in hot at #6 in the preseason rankings, the Red  Hawks lost a 2022 conference championship stunner to West Chester as  they challenged the Rams for conference supremacy and have established  a rivalry unmatched. 

“We’re returning most defensive starters with an experienced midfield,” club  officer Chris Kirby said. “The team is motivated and coached well.”  

Saint Joseph’s top returning players are senior defenseman Chris Kirby,  Paul Ruddy, and Alex Conn. The midfield also has experience with Nick  Jones and Liam Connolly with junior Colin Hodgson leading the attack.  

The top newcomers include attackmen Jimmy Beaudette (Long Island  University) and Pat Cooney, midfielder Max Mulligan and defenseman Jose  Coronado.  

The Hawks dropped games to Villanova, Towson, and Vermont in the fall,  all Division I programs currently ranked in the National Top 20. 

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