Men's DI Top Ten

By Jonathan Lam

1. Johns Hopkins:

Attack: Kyle Barrie returns after leading the Blue Jays in scoring with 37 goals and 20 assists. "In two years he has scored 60 goals and added 28 assists for 88 points despite often drawing the opposition's top defensive player." Junior Peter LeSueur will close out the attack as fifth leading scorer with 45 points (24 goals, 21 assists). "He has started all 30 games during the last two years and provides the Blue Jays with a left-handed threat on attack. In addition to his offensive exploits, LeSueur also excels as a disruptive force in the clearing game. A tireless worker, LeSueur often forces opponents into turnovers with his relentless rides on clearing attempts." Duke transfer Matt Rewkowski and senior Conor Ford will compete for the starting attack spot. "Rewkowski started all 30 games in 2002 and 2003 at Duke and emerged as the team's top offensive threat last season, when he led the Blue Devils in scoring with 36 goals and 11 assists for 47 points. He scored four goals against Johns Hopkins last season and tallied 18 goals in his final five games." "Ford started the second half of his freshman year on attack before starting on the first midfield the last two years." He returns after a 46 point junior season (18 goals, 28 assists). He starts his senior season as the leading active scorer with 107 career points (57 goals, 50 assists).

Midfield: 2003 Tewaaraton nominee Kyle Harrison returns after a year that only some can hope for. His talent rivals that of Kevin Cassese. He takes face-offs, but can dodge, shoot, and win groundballs. "Harrison creates matchup problems for the opposition as his combination of quickness and ability to breakdown a defender often leads to open opportunities." Senior LSM Corey Harned is not just a defensive player; during the semifinals and finals, he exhibited his offensive ability (2 goals, 4 assists). "He earned a spot on the NCAA All-Tournament Team last season and is arguably the top player at his position in the nation."

Defense: Defenseman Tom Garvey will return for his senior season. He covered Mike Powell last year during the Final Four and did an amazing job; he held him to only two assists. Garvey has shown some improvement during the preseason and will certainly be First Team All American material. "Garvey emerged as one of the top young defensive players in the nation last season and earned a spot on the NCAA All-Tournament Team. He will often draw the opposition's top offensive threat and will only continue to improve in his second season as a starter."

Goal: Scott Smith will have the tough job to fill the shoes of Rob Scherr. "Smith played in eight games, including two NCAA Tournament games, last season. He posted a 1.59 goals against average and a .929 save percentage in limited time and demonstrated good skills and an ability to play out of the cage. The experience he gained should prove valuable in his bid for the starting spot."

2. Virginia.

Attack: Sophomore Matt Ward and Juniors John Christmas and Joe Yevoli will again serve as starting attackmen; each player earned a spot on Inside Lacrosse's Preseason All-American squad. Christmas was named to the First Team All-American squad: "A dynamic attackman with tremendous speed and quickness, Christmas led the team with 36 goals last season while being matched up against some of the nation's top defensemen. In 2003 he was a second-team All-American and an All-ACC pick for the second year in a row." Yevoli was named to the Second Team squad; he "led the [ACC] with 26 assists. He was named a second-team All-American after sharing the team lead in scoring with 49 points." Ward earned his spot on the Honorable Mention team: "He finished with 46 points (26g, 20a) and was one of only two freshmen in the country to score at least 20 goals and add 20 assists. Twenty-four of his 26 goals came against ranked teams, the highest percentage on the team."

Midfield: Sophomore Kyle Dixon also earned a spot on the Second Team. He recently played on Team USA's gold-winning U-19 squad this past summer. He ran on the first midfield line as a freshman and put up 17 points (9 goals, 8 assists). Faceoff specialist Jack deVilliers will take face-offs for '04. "Named the team's most improved player, deVilliers was one of the nation's leading faceoff men last spring. He was ninth nationally with a 58.8 winning percentage and led the country with a school-record 204 wins." The Cavaliers also picked up freshman midfielder Drew Thompson from Northport High School on Long Island. He has a great amount of skill coupled with speed.

Defense: Defensive leader Brett Hughes will again stand in front of Johnson for what appears to be a strong defensive unit. "A three-year starter, Hughes is one of the nation's top defenders, who consistently shuts down the opposition's top attackman. He was a second-team All-American last season and was named to the NCAA Championships All-Tournament team and the All-ACC Tournament team as UVa captured both championships." Sophomore Patrick Buchanan will find a starting position this year. He gained experience in 14 of 17 games, but won only 2 groundballs. He is expected to contribute much more this year.

Goal: Tillman Johnson returns after his epic performance in last year's NCAA Tournament" He is currently "the reigning USILA Player of the Year and Goalie of the Year." He made 205 saves last season, which set a school record, with a .635 save percentage and a 7.28 GAA.

3. Maryland

Attack: Lefty attackman Joe Walters returns after leading the Terps in goals and points (33 goals, 13 assists) as a freshman. "He made an immediate impact as the team's top finisher thoughout the season he also showed the ability to pass as he was double and triple teamed later in the season. Walters is the team's leading returning scorer with 46 points a season ago." Joining Walters will be Xander Ritz, who "transferred to Maryland after an outstanding year at Delaware" with 40 points and 23 assists. "Ritz is a crafty and clever stickman who will be a prime time feeder to Walters and the Terps' midfielders."

Midfield: Justin Smith earned preseason Honorable Mention All-American honors and is the leading-returning midfield scorer (12 goals, 4 assists). "The senior has a knack for scoring the big goal…A hulking-figure on the field, Smith possesses great size and strength which will be an asset to the Terps this season." Sophomores Brendan Healy and Bill McGlone will play alongside Smith. "Healy is regarded one of the Terps' hardest working players according to Cottle and has gained experience and confidence since his first year in college." McGlone scored 7 goals for the Team USA's U-19 team this past summer. He will be a "vital component to the team's success in 2004."

Defense: Chris Passavia and Lee Zink return after a brilliantly coordinated defensive year. Passavia is a vicious checker and can force multiple turnovers. "He picked up 43 groundballs last season and caused 23 turnovers." Third Team All-American Lee Zink "led the Terps in caused turnovers with 32 and also had 41 groundballs. He had an amazing run at the end of the season in which he held the man he guarded scoreless for four consecutive games." Senior captain David Wagner will be Coach Cottle's answer to filling the third spot on defense. Essentially, these are the key points to remember: Passavia replaces Howley, Zink replaces Passavia, Wagner replaces Zink.

Goal: Harry Alford and Tim McGinnis will compete for Danny McCormick's goalie position. They each have their own special individual accomplishments. Alford was the starting goalie for the gold-winning Team USA U-19 squad. Graduate student McGinnis was a three-time All-American for Gettysburg College as well as National Goalie of the Year in 2002.

4. Syracuse

Attack: Syracuse's success rests heavily upon Michael Powell. He is 69 points away from tying his brothers' record of 287. He is an outstanding player, who can dodge and score from anywhere on the field. His vision and unselfishness will certainly help him rack numbers on the assist side. Last season, Coach Desko substituted Brian Nee and Brian Crockett in and out. Look for Powell's assists to get to these two talented players. Crockett tied for "5th on the team in scoring with 30 points (20 goals, 10 assists)." Nee may benefit most from Powell's feeding ability as he is a "terrific finisher" with a "hard, left-handed shot."

Midfield: Sean Lindsay also returns after a strong junior year as the "Orangemen's third-leading scorer with a career-high 36 points" (29 goals, 7 assists). Steve Vallone returns for his senior year after "[sustaining] a jaw injury in the first quarter of the Massachusetts game." Even still, he "finished as the team's seventh-leading scorer with a career-high 24 points (20 goals, 4 assists)."

Defense: Senior captain Dan DiPietro will lead the Orange defense. Last year, he was sixth on the team with 37 groundballs. He is a "feisty defenseman who is not afraid to take chances." Freshman Steve Panarelli will be the key defensive rookie to fill the shoes of Sol Bliss. Desko said that Panarelli is "the best takeaway defenseman on the team." John Wright also exhibited an ability to shut down opponents, but he will play on the second unit.

Goal: Jay Pfeifer started every game since he was a freshman. As it can be seen from the 2003 Semifinal, he lacks solidity with one-on-one situations. He "posted a 10.48 GAA and a .542 save percentage."

5. Princeton

Attack: Like Syracuse, the season's success will be on the shoulders of one man: Ryan Boyle. Boyle's knowledge and vision of the field is outstanding. Unknown for his shooting abilities, he has put up amazing assist numbers during his stay. He is a "first-team All-America last year, tied Jon Hess' school record with 48 assists last year, and he enters his senior year with 118 career assists, 15 behind Hess for second all-time at Princeton and 56 behind Kevin Lowe for first. He also has 165 career points, seventh-best all-time in school history. He is one of the elite players ever to play for Tierney and one of the elite players in college lacrosse this season." The Tigers have also taken on Jason Doneger as a junior captain. He certainly possesses a knack for scoring goals (41 goals), but he will need to put up much more assist numbers than last year (3 assists) for Princeton's success.

Midfield: The Tigers have much work at the midfield line because no midfielders are returning. Mac Bryson is "Princeton's next leading returning scorer" with five goals and one assist. Andrew Sung, Hakim Thompson, and/or Dixon Hayes will split time for the midfield line. Freshman Dan Brown may also see some time.

Defense: Tony Vita will be the key player to fill in for Damien Davis. He was arguably the best high school defensive player in the nation in 2002 on the Landon national championship team. With any luck, he will grace the NCAA with his ability. "Princeton's most experienced defensive player is Ricky Schultz, a senior who has been a starter for much of the past two seasons." Closing out the defense will be Oliver Barry, "a junior who played both shortstick and longstick defense last year…Barry obviously has great versatility, and he can be used in any number of roles this season."

Goal: With Julian Gould gone, it looks like Mike Gilbane will be the starting goalie this year. The Tigers surprisingly lost to underdog UMBC in a 7-9 effort in early February; Gilbane did not show a strong performance in this game. He shows great promise, but until then Coach Tierney should consider subbing in Dave Law or Matthew Larkin. Last year, Law played in 7 games with 42:56 minutes and Larkin played in 4 games with 28:32 minutes; Gilbane did not play at all.

6. Rutgers

Attack: Rutgers returns all of its attackmen from 2003. Third-team Preseason All-America senior Delby Powless will lead the offensive unit as he did last year (32 goals, 4 assists). "Powless emerged as one of Rutgers' most consistent offensive threats." Junior Leif Blomquist will quarterback the offense again with his leading 19 assists. Senior Matt Apel was 6th leading scorer with 8 goals and 15 assists.

Midfield: Senior Tim White (12 goals, 14 assists) will lead the midfield line. Senior tri-captain Jamie Lovejoy will work alongside White with his 7 goals and 7 assists. "Junior John Flanagan was a steady contributor last season as well, notching seven goals and eight assists in 15 games." Groundball leader Dan Achatz will win the Knights precious possession time (44 groundballs). Freshmen Matt Gaines will most likely take face-offs over Sean Battoni (.381%); Gaines won 80% of his face-offs as a senior at Edgewood High School.

Defense: Senior captains Andrew Conforti (29 GB) and Joe Duncan (31 GB) won a total of 60 ground balls while starting all 15 games. "Anthony Sicoli was a key contributor last season, appearing in all 15 games and picking up 38 ground balls. Junior Matt Lilien (15 GB) will have much to contribute to this defense after starting 9 games.

Goal: Sophomore Greg Havalchak returns after an outstanding freshman year. Havalchak was among the nation's best for both this GAA (7.55; 12th best) and save percentage (.627; 4th best). He later earned "Freshmen of the Year honors from the ECAC and Inside Lacrosse Magazine."

7. North Carolina

Attack: Junior Jed Prossner returns after a standout sophomore year. He either led or tied the team in nearly all aspects of the game. He led the team in goals with 25, tied assists with 13, led points with 38, and was 4th on the team with 41 groundballs. Likewise, fellow junior attackman, Mike McCall, returns after an impressive sophomore year. He was second on the team with goals and points, and third with assists (24 goals, 11 assists). McCall is a physical attackman, who will go toe-to-toe with any defenseman.

Midfield: Junior Bryant Will should have a great year. He was fourth on the team with 22 points, which were evenly distributed (11 goals, 11 assists). Will has the "uncanny ability to always make his presence known when he is on the field." Senior face-off man Kevin Frew is an "outstanding midfielder whose game is defined by his big heart, his determination and his incredible hustle." He posted a face-off percentage of .542.

Defense: Preseason Third Team All-American Ronnie Staines (40 GB) is a key defenseman who approaches his opponents with aggression and takeaway ability. "The lanky Staines uses his height for an advantage as a takeaway artist and stingy close defenseman." Billy Staines may play with his brother this year; he was 10th on the team with 21 groundballs.

Goal: Junior captain Paul Spellman comes back after posting an 8.18 GAA and .614 save percentage; he also led the team in groundballs with 56. He earned a spot on the preseason Honorable Mention team.

8. Georgetown:

Attack: Senior attackman Neal Goldman possesses excellent ability both on and off the ball. He has a knack for making plays and getting assists. He currently ranks 10th in assists in Georgetown history with 45. Junior Nick Miaritis will look to share the reigns with Goldman. Miaritis is a versatile player who may also see some time at midfield. He can "create space and time to get to the goal"; he is also an "excellent dodger who shoots well on the run."

Midfield: Honorable Mention All-America senior captain Walid Hajj returns from an amazing junior year. His quickness and accuracy make for a deadly combination of on-the-run shooting (23 goals). Face-off man Andy Corno will make great contributions as a junior. Like Hajj, Corno earned a spot as an Honorable Mention All-America; he finished third in the nation with a face-off win percentage of .653. He led the team in groundballs (83 GB) and may seem some time as a defensive midfielder.

Defense: Senior Andy Braziel will be the key defensive factor for the Hoyas in 2004. He is a sizable opponent, but has terrific speed and agility. "He was a part of the 2003 defense that set a Hoya record for lowest goals per game average at 7.33 and which also ranked seventh nationally." Junior Brodie Merrill was second on the team with his tenacious groundball work (54 GB). He is an "outstanding one-one-one defender who can play solid body position defense and take the ball away."

Goal: Junior Rich D'Andrea will start in goal after posting a .569 save percentage and 7.28 GAA. He "makes aggressive plays out of the cage and can jump start the offense after a big save."

9. Cornell:

Attack: Junior attackman Sean Greenhalgh led the team in goals last year (37 goals). He is a crafty finisher inside with amazing accuracy. His talent is comparable to that of B.J. Prager '02 from Princeton. Lefty Dave Pittard will work alongside Greenhalgh for offensive production with his 22 goals and 11 assists.

Midfield: Midfielder Andrew Collins (20 goals, 39 assists) returns "after leading the country in points per game (4.54)." Collins to Greenhalgh will make the Big Red an offensive nightmare to most defensive units. Junior Justin Redd and Sophomore Joe Boulukos both earned preseason Honorable Mention All-America honors. Redd "recorded nine goals and three assists as a sophomore after tallying 30 points, on 20 goals and 11 assists, in his rookie season." Boulukos returns an impressive freshman year (12 goals, 2 assists). "The hard-shooting midfielder will look to fill the void left behind from the graduation of J.P. Schalk."

Defense: Preseason Third Team All-American senior Tim DeBlois will return as captain for Cornell. His ability and athleticism was overshadowed by McClay, but this will be his standout season. "DeBlois enters his third season as a starter and finished second on the team in 2003 with 50 groundballs. The defenseman added two goals and two assists and was an All-Ivy honorable mention selection."

Goal: Goalie Brandon Ross returns for his senior season after posting a .536 save percentage and an 8.54 GAA. He is a "tremendous worker with great reflexes."

10. Massachusetts:

Attack: Canadian attackman Jeff Zywicki returns leading the Minutemen with 41 goals and 21 assists, "becoming UMass' first 40-20 player since 1993 when Mark Millon accomplished the feat." Earning a spot as a Third Team All American, Zywicki "finished the season ranked fourth in the country in total points and sixth in points per game." He possesses stick skills, toughness, and shooting abilities to be a well-rounded attackman. Sophomore Gene Tundo was the 4th leading scorer on the team with 26 points (14 goals, 12 assists). Senior Kevin Glenz will close out the attack. He started all 16 games last year. He tied sophomore Sean Morris for 6th leading scorer with 22 points (9 goals, 13 assists). Morris (14 goals, 8 assists) played 14 games last year and will be expected to play a stronger role this year.

Midfield: Junior Chris Doyle comes off a solid 2003 season with 23 points (19 goals, 4 assists). Neil Lundberg should win a more involved role in his senior year. He did not start any games last year, but was 8th leading scorer with 19 points (14 goals, 5 assists). Sophomore Dane Collins should earn a spot on the first midfield line. He did not put up any points, but he led the Minutemen with 62 groundballs.

Defense: Defenseman Matt Garcia is an uptempo player with decent groundball work (35 groundballs). He is very aggressive and forces turnovers like nobody on the team. Sophomore Jack Reid returns "after a stellar freshman season. Reid played in all 16 games, scooping up 33 ground balls, and was named second team All-ECAC and All-New England. He was also honored on the Inside Lacrosse All-Freshman team." Chris Gervat will close out the defense; he started 15 out of 16 last year while winning 26 groundballs. Steven Byrnes may work his way into the rotation. He tied for 3rd with Zywicki in groundballs (40).

Goal: Bill Schell returns from a respectable sophomore year (.590, 8.28 GAA). He was also 2nd on the team with 43 groundballs.

Areas in quotations are from University press releases or media guides.

Photos by Joe Rogate, Bill Jones and E-Lax Staff

March 1, 2004