Attack: Hopkins returns in 2005 with yet another highly touted attack unit. Second Team All-American Kyle Barrie (26 goals, 11 assists) will lead this Blue Jay attack for the last time. Joining him again is fellow senior Peter LeSueur (10 goals, 15 assists). In the 2003 season, Barrie led the team in scoring and LeSueur was the fifth-highest scorer. But last year, Conor Ford led the team in points with 44 goals and 9 assists while Barrie and LeSueur ranked fourth and sixth in team scoring, respectively. They need to perform as well as they did during their sophomore campaigns when they reached the National Championship. Sophomore Jake Byrne (8 goals, 10 assists) played in all fifteen games last year and may find his way into the starting rotation. But freshman Michael Doneger cannot be overlooked. He has the size of his brother Adam, but the skills of his brother Jason. If he can follow through on legacy like the Powell's have, then he may give Byrne a run for his money on playing time.
Midfield: First Team All-American and two-time Tewaaraton nominee Kyle Harrison (26 goals, 7 assists) will once again attempt to bring the National Championship to Homewood. Third-Team All-American senior Matt Rewkowski (26 goals, 11 assists) also returns for a second season with the Blue Jays. Last year, Greg Peyser (.670 FO%), Kyle Harrison (.550 FO%), and Lou Braun (.546 FO%) all took about 110 face-offs each. Peyser (9 goals, 10 assists) and Harrison both get the ball off quickly so they become instant scoring threats. Short stick defensive middie Benson Erwin (1 goal, 4 assists) is considered the best SSDM this year. With Corey Harned gone, junior Greg Raymond, who played in all 15 games last season, will come in as the standout LSM for Hopkins.
Defense: The Hopkins defense returns their entire 2004 starting lineup of Second Team All-American Tom Garvey (24 groundballs), Chris Watson (30 groundballs), and Preseason Honorable Mention All-American Matt Pinto (18 groundballs). Although Garvey will guard the opponent's strongest attackman, the Hopkins defense revolves around a solid team defense - not around one player. Under former Defenseman of the Year Coach Pietramala's direction, the defense should allow less than the 115 goals of last year.
Goal: For the first few games of 2004, Coach Pietramala played both Scott Smith and Jesse Schwartzman. But as the season developed, Smith took the starting position. He posted a .545 save percentage and an 8.13 GAA. Although Schwartzman lacks the experience of Smith, he is still a strong goalie. He started in two games and played in eight. In those games, he posted a .614 save percentage and a 5.41 GAA.
Attack: With the graduation of Mike Powell, Brian Nee, and Alex Zink, Third-Team All-American Brian Crockett (39 goals, 15 assists) needs to step up for his junior year to lead the Orange attack. Accompanying him will be highly-touted freshman Michael Leveille. Crockett said, "Coming in, Leveille is definitely one of the best freshmen we've got in here. He's going to be a big player this year as a freshman. He's stepping in and he's going to be a big factor for us." Brett Bucktooth (9 goals, 5 assists), a former midfielder, may start his junior campaign at attack. Freshman Greg Niewieroski had a strong fall campaign and may take the starting attack position if Coach Desko places Bucktooth at midfield.
Midfield: The Orange lost the entire starting 2004 midfield line. Senior Jarrett Park (2 goals, 5 assists) sat out his soccer season to practice in the fall, so he will be expected to have a much stronger role this season. Although his playing time does not reflect his point total, he led the team with 62 groundballs. He will find himself mostly as a defender along with fellow senior Jake Plunket. Junior Greg Rommel (13 goals, 1 assist) is "the top returning scorer back from the second midfield line." This year, he will increase his role as an offensive contributor. Sophomore Steven Brooks (3 goals, 2 assists) "saw a lot of playing time as a freshman and who is expected to be a member of the Orange's first midfield unit this year." Danny Brennan (.530 FO%) will take most of the face-offs for the Orange, but Geoff Keough (.538 FO%) and Jake Plunket (.452 FO%) will also see some time at the X.
Defense: As opposed to last year's high powered offense, the Syracuse team will focus on defense this year. Last year, the defense allowed 168 goals to be scored, but they will need to allow much less this year. In spite of the enormous losses on offense, Syracuse returns two of their starters. Sophomore All-American Steve Panarelli (1 goal, 55 groundballs) may be best overall player the Orange defense has with his physicality and stick skills. John Wright (36 groundballs) started every game at close defense last year and plays a style similar to Panarelli. Preseason Honorable Mention All-American Scott Ditzell (1 goal, 43 groundballs) plays a predominantly physical style of defense - a key aspect the Orange will need to use to pressure their opponents.
Goal: Preseason Third Team All-American Jay Pfeifer will again start in goal for the Orange. After winning his second national championship, he comes into the 2005 season with a .559 save percentage, but a 10.62 GAA. With four consecutive starts in the postseason, he has the most playoff experience out of any goalie in the nation.
Attack: Just like Syracuse lost Powell, Princeton lost Boyle, an instant pro starter and All-Star. But Coach Tierney can rely on Preseason Third Team All-American Jason Doneger (36 goals, 2 assists) to lead the Tiger attack. Joining him will be Peter Trombino (24 goals, 11 assists) who was the third-highest scorer as a freshman. Junior Whitney Hayes (11 goals, 15 assists) was fifth in scoring last year and will most likely start this year. Of all the players to score more than one point, he was one of only two players to have more assists than goals. He would fit into the attack unit as the feeder to replace Boyle.
Midfield: Junior Ryan Schoenig (1 assist, .510 FO%) will take most of the face-offs this year with the graduation of Drew Casino. Scott Sowanick (13 goals, 10 assists) played an outstanding freshman season and will undoubtedly contribute more as a sophomore. Senior Mac Bryson (9 goals, 1 assist) and junior Jim O'Brien (6 goals, 2 assists) combined for only five starts last year, but Coach Tierney may place them alongside Sowanick for virtually every game in 2005. Preseason Third Team All-American John Bennett will see significant playing time at LSM for the Tigers. Freshman Pete Striebel, brother of former All-American Princeton midfielder Matt Striebel, may also find his way as a starter.
Defense: The Tigers graduated Ricky Schultz, but return Preseason Second Team All-American Oliver Barry (1 assist, 27 groundballs). Barry will cover the opponent's top attackman. Tim Sullivan (1 assist, 17 groundballs) started 12 of the 15 games last year. Zachary Jungers (16 groundballs) played in all fifteen games last year, but started only three. His physicality will be asset to Coach Tierney's already stingy defense. Last year, the defense allowed 122 goals.
Goal: Junior Dave Law played fairly well last year as a first-year starter. He posted a save percentage of .529 and ranked 10th in the nation with a 7.76 GAA.
Attack: With Second Team All-American Ian Dingman out of the attack unit, Navy needs to reenter this season with a high-caliber offense. Ben Horn (15 goals, 7 assists) will be expected to lead this Navy attack as a senior. Junior Jon Birsner (11 goals, 29 assists) led the team in assists last year and will be expected to do the same this year. Birsner also ranked 16th in the nation with 1.61 assists per game. Junior Conor McKenzie (7 goals, 0 assists) will most likely come in as the third starter for the Midshipmen. He played in six games, but "missed the NCAA tournament with a sprained ankle."
Midfield: Senior Graham Gill (24 goals, 10 assists) led the midfield in scoring last year. Junior Steve Looney (13 goals, 11 assists) followed Gill in midfield scoring. Looney was also second on the team in groundballs with 85. Joining him will be his brother Billy (13 goals, 8 assists). Clipper Lennon (3 goals, 3 assists) and Dan Harris (2 goals, 2 assists) will serve as senior defensive middies. Lennon and Harris both play solid defense move and can the ball up the field well. Senior Chris Pieczonka (4 goals, 2 assists) will take face-offs after posting a face-off win percentage of .676, second best in the nation. He also led the team in groundballs with 93. Former goalie Seth DiNola will play LSM (1 assist, 21 groundballs) for his senior season.
Defense: Third Team All-American Mitch Hendler (43 groundballs) will again cover the opponent's top attackman. Joining Hendler will be fellow seniors Mike Felber (45 groundballs) and Pat Reilley (14 groundballs). This exact defensive unit ranked second best scoring defense in the nation last year. They allowed only 127 goals in 18 games, an average of 7.06 goals allowed per game.
Goal: First Team All-American and Goalie of the Year Matt Russell will return after a breakout sophomore season. He posted a .576 save percentage and a nation's second-best 6.69 GAA.
Attack: Headlining the attack is Tewaaraton-nominee and First Team All-American junior Joe Walters (46 goals, 22 assists). After leading the team in scoring as a freshman, Walters continued to dominate team scoring as a sophomore with a 32-point separation. He also ranked fourth in the nation with 2.88 goals per game and fifth with 4.25 points per game. After transferring from Delaware a year ago, Xander Ritz (13 goals, 18 assists) had an immediate impact for the Terps. Either Michael Phipps (5 goals, 4 assists) or Michael Hartofilis (2 goals, 2 assists) will come in as the third starter for attack. Phipps has a slight advantage over Hartofilis with a start against Bucknell.
Midfield: The Terps return Honorable Mention All-American Brendan Healy (18 goals, 8 assists) and senior captain Ian Healy (9 goals, 2 assists). Preseason First Team All-American and junior captain Bill McGlone (25 goals, 11 assists) will close out the starting midfield line. Andrew Schwartzman (4 goals, 5 assists), Dave Matz (6 goals, 3 assists), and Thomas Alford (2 goals, 1 assist) will also see their fair share of playing time this season. Junior David Tamberrino (.500 FO%) will take most of the draws for the Terps this season. Sophomore Ryan Clarke (1 goal, 2 assists) will again report for his LSM duties. This year, the Terps may start Air Force transfer Steve Whittenberg as a defensive midfielder.
Defense: For the second consecutive year, Maryland graduated the Defenseman of the Year in Chris Passavia. Additionally, the Terps also lose First Team All-American Lee Zink and Honorable Mention All-American Dave Wagner. But even with the loss of Michael Howley two years ago, the Maryland defense continued to be relentless. Senior captain Tyler Hereth will most likely draw the opponent's top attackman. Sophomore Ray Megill played in 10 of Maryland's 16 games and may start at close defense. Coach Cottle may start freshman Joe Cinosky from Mountain Lakes. A new unit will be hard to coordinate, so defensive coach Dave Slafkosky will need to spend as much time as possible to returning the aggressive Maryland defense the country has seen for the past two years.
Goal: The Terps will again start the season with a rookie goalie in Harry Alford. He played in six games last year and posted a .579 save percentage and a 10.71 GAA.
Attack: Junior Dan Denihan (16 goals, 13 assists) ranked third on the team in scoring. Trevor Casey (20 goals, 4 assists) will continue to make contributions to the Hoya offense as he ranked fifth on the team in scoring. Senior Kevin Langtry (8 goals, 4 assists) will close out the starting attack unit.
Midfield: Georgetown has two specialists on midfield which, besides being probable 1st round pro selections after the season, could give the Hoyas an edge against anyone at midfield. First Team All-American Andy Corno (3 goals, 1 assist) led the nation in winning face-off percentage with .681. He also led the team and tied for fourth in the nation in groundballs with 105. Tewaaraton finalist and First Team All-American Brodie Merrill (3 goals, 1 assist) will play LSM for his senior year. He also ranked second on the team in groundballs with 90. Although he plays at the midfield, he often finds himself covering an opponent's best player like Kyle Sweeney did. Nick Miaritis (16 goals, 10 assists) returns as the leading scorer from the midfield. Pete Cannon (7 goals, 2 assists) started 11 of 15 games last season and will continue to contribute as a starter. Kyle Morin played in eight games last year, but still managed to rank seventh on the team in scoring. After Corno wins the face-off, he will run with Miaritis and Cannon on the offensive middie line.
Defense: Preseason Second Team All-American Reyn Garnett will take Andrew Braziel's role as leader of the Hoya defense. John Trapp (1 assist, 34 groundballs) will start again at close defense. Rob Smith (12 groundballs) will start his junior season. Although he did not start last year, he played in 13 of the Hoya's 16 games. He is a "physical defender who plays excellent individual defense."
Goal: Rich D'Andrea will start after posting a .529 save percentage. He also ranked 13th in the nation with 8.07 GAA.
7. North Carolina
Attack: UNC is fortunate enough to return all three starting attackmen from last season. Furthermore, they were also the three highest scorers. Tewaaraton finalist and First Team All-American Jed Prossner (41 goals, 15 assists) returns as the team's leading scorer. He also ranked 6th in the nation in goals per game with 2.73 and 9th in the nation in points per game with 3.73. Senior captain Mike McCall (29 goals, 7 assists) may be one of the most underrated players, but he has been the second highest scorer for the Tar Heels in three years. Coach Haus said McCall "can handle the ball well and has great vision." Ryan Blair (18 goals, 16 assists) will close out the starting attack unit. Haus believes Blair's strong point is to "break somebody down, draw a double team and then dump the ball to someone who can finish." The coaching staff hopes for Blair to double his assists for this season.
Midfield: UNC also returns an experience midfield line. Second Team All-American Bryant Will (15 goals, 19 assists) ranked fourth-highest in team scoring last season and will be the "go to guy in the midfield for [the Tar Heels]." Accompanying him will be Preseason Honorable Mention All-American Lance Zimmerman (11 goals, 15 assists), the sixth-highest scorer on the team. Haus said Zimmerman has "good vision and good quickness" and considered placing him at the face-off X. Junior Dave Werry may also see most of his playing time at the face-off X. Haus also has high expectations from junior Andrew McElduff (9 goals, 3 assists). He is a "strong middie, can get up and down the field, can shoot on the run and plays solid defense. This year, he needs to improve his point total…Like Zimmerman, he will also faceoff."
Defense: With the graduation of First Team All-American Ronnie Staines, Coach Haus expects Preseason Second Team All-American Stephen McElduff (1 goal, 20 groundballs) to lead the defense this year. Senior Charley Conkling started two years ago, but only started in one game last year. He saw significant playing time in every game last season and has continued to show improvement. "Seniors David DiBianco, one of Carolina's four captains, and J.J. LaSeta along with freshmen Brian Burke and Tim Kaiser are all in the mix for the remaining starting spot on close defense."
Goal: Paul Spellman will start in goal for his senior season. He posted an 8.98 GAA and ranked 12th in the nation last year with a .596 save percentage.
Attack: The Cavaliers return two of their three starters in John Christmas (11 goals, 10 assists) and Matt Ward (33 goals, 13 assist). The third, Joe Yevoli (19 goals, 12 assists), is injured and probably red-shirted. But this unit needs to rebound after a disappointing 2004 season. As a junior, Third-Team All-American Matt Ward prevailed as a leader for the Cavs. Freshman Ben Rubeor will replace Yevoli and surprise many with his poise and his game. Senior Christmas, however, needs to be the one to dictate the tone of the attack for these guys to get back to a National Championship.
Midfield: Preseason Second Team All-American Rob Bateman may be UVA's most important midfielders. After a strong career as one of the top long-stick middies at Penn State, Bateman may continue at the midfield or play at close defense. Juniors Kyle Dixon (10 goals, 11 assists) and Matt Poskay (11 goals, 4 assists) return as the team's fourth and fifth highest scorers, respectively. They will need to step up and lead on the offensive end of the midfield line. After much preseason publicity last season, Drew Thompson (1 goal, 3 assists) did not have much of an impact on the Cavalier midfield line as a freshman. His sophomore year should be his proof to live up to all the hype. Senior Jack deVilliers (.490 FO%) will take face-offs again after a poor year junior season. In 2003, deVilliers ranked ninth in the nation with a face-off win percentage of .588. If he can return to those numbers for his senior season, the Cavaliers have one less thing to worry about.
Defense: With the loss of Brett Hughes, this year's starting defensive unit will consist of three juniors. Captain Steve Holmes (2 assists, 44 groundballs) will anchor the Cavaliers defense this season. Joining him will be Mike Culver (1 assist, 28 groundballs), a "tenacious close defenseman." Holmes and Culver started 11 and 12 of Virginia's 13 games last year and will bring valuable experience. Patrick Buchanan (5 groundballs) started in only five games last season, but will appear as a starter this season.
Goal: This may be the weakest link on Virginia's team. With four-year starter Tillman Johnson gone, Coach Starsia will have to decide whether to use Bud Petit or Kip Turner. Turner played in only game last year, but did not allow any goals on five shots faced. Starsia like both and will use both early on.
Attack: Co-captain Sean Greenhalgh (28 goals, 6 assists) will return for his senior season after leading the team in goals last year. He "owns a remarkable touch around the crease and uses every inch of the net to score." Senior Kevin Nee (26 goals, 3 assists) will also return after "a remarkable breakthrough season as a junior." But with the loss of Andrew Collins, the team's point-and-assist leader of last season, Cornell needs a feeder to complement the finishing abilities of Greenhalgh and Nee. Sophomore Henry Bartlett may come in as the third starter with "the best stick skills on the team." Cornell also has three lefties in David Mitchell, Drew Webb, and John Epsey.
Midfield: Junior Joe Boulukos (24 goals, 6 assists) returns as last season's fourth highest scorer. He "possesses a powerful shot and is frequently able to catch opponents off guard before firing away." Along with Boulukos, senior co-captain Justin Redd (13 goals, 19 assists) comes in as the team's third-highest scorer from last season. "Redd provides the team with a creative component that is accentuated by his tremendous ability to shoot on the run." Brian Clayton (2 goals, 3 assists) played in all 14 games last season as a freshman. He may contend against senior Ian Rosenberger (9 goals, 1 assist) as a starter on the first midfield line. "A vocal leader and a seasoned veteran, Rosenberger…has shown to have a knack for scoring big goals." J.D. Nelson will primarily take face-offs for his senior season. Returning with a face-off win percentage of .465 from last season, Nelson "learned through experience last year and is prepared to give his team a strong advantage in the always important battle for possession." Junior Mike Pisco (6 groundballs) will serve as the team's LSM. He possesses "the skills to be a legitimate stopper and possesses excellent skills off the ground, which should allow him to help continue the success of Cornell's transition game." Either Cameron Marchant (10 groundballs) or David Bush (2 assists, 9 groundballs) will join Pisco at the defensive end of the midfield as short stick defenders. Marchant, who started in six games last season, "brings a physical element to the defense, while Bush is a good athlete with strong cover skills."
Defense: Preseason All-American and captain Kyle Georgalas (27 groundballs) will lead the defense for his senior season. He "is a tireless worker who has been a crucial part of the defense since his freshman season and is ready to head up the always tough Big Red defense." Returning starter senior Casey Stevenson (18 groundballs) is expected "to
be a stopper along the perimeter, helping to bridge the gap in transition." Sophomore Mitch Belisle will most likely come in as the third starter for the defense. He "started off at short-stick a year ago, [but worked] hard to make the transition to long-stick."
Goal: In the quarterfinal against Navy, the nation watched sophomore Matt McMonagle's outstanding ability as a goalie. He will continue to build upon that performance as the starting goalie. He prevailed as the starter over Brandon Ross and started in nine games. "McMonagle has a great understanding of the game and Cornell's defensive approach and his outstanding work ethic has enabled him to be strong defensive backbone that his teammates can rely on." He posted a .580 save percentage and an 8.75 GAA.
10. Notre Dame
Attack: Third Team All-American and Tewaaraton Trophy nominee Pat Walsh (21 goals, 26 assists) will headline the attack. As a sophomore last season, he ranked seventh in the nation in points per game with 3.92 and sixth in the nation in assists per game with 2.17. The Irish also return their third highest scorer from last season in junior Brian Hubschmann (18 goals, 11 assists). With the loss of Matt Howell, senior Matt Malakoff (4 goals) may come in as the third starter. He played in nine games and started in one.
Midfield: Senior Brian Giordano (18 goals, 6 assists) returns as the midfield's leading scorer. Matt Karweck (15 goals, 5 assists) started in two of his twelve games played last season on his way to become the team's sixth highest-scorer. Matt Ryan (7 goals, 10 assists) will bring valuable starting experience to the team with his 11-of-11 starts from last season. Craig Bishko (.478 FO%) and Frank Matarazzo (2 assists, .370 FO%) will again split time at the face-off X. Neither player has posted impressive numbers so Coach Corrigan may need to base their playing time by each draw. If one wins, he continues to take the face-off until he loses. Chris Richez (3 goals, 2 assists) will anchor the defensive end of the midfield for his senior season.
Defense: Preseason Third Team All-American D.J. Driscoll (37 groundballs) will lead the Irish defense. Sophomore Joey Rallo (15 groundballs) played in eleven games last season and started in one, so he may contend for a starting position. Freshmen Sean Dougherty from Malvern Prep and Ross Zimmerman from Brother Rice, two of the top ranked newcomers, are both viable options for starters.
Goal: Senior Stewart Crosland comes after a strong junior campaign. He posted a 9.08 GAA and ranked 11th in the nation in save percentage with .599. Freshman Joey Kemp may contend for time as Crosland's backup after an outstanding senior campaign at Georgetown Prep.
Areas in quotations are from University press releases or media guides.
Photos by TD Paulius, UNC Staff, Cornell Staff and E-Lax Staff