Over the past week or so, Inside Lacrosse released their rankings of the top incoming players and classes for all of Division I lacrosse. One did not need to look far to find the teams of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The 2013-2014 season marks the first welcoming newcomers Syracuse and Notre Dame, both of which bolster an already robust amount of talent existing in the conference. In the last 15 years, members of the current makeup of the ACC have won the NCAA Championship 11 times. Eleven. Out of fifteen. 'Cuse leads the way with five championships, but the Cavaliers are close on their heels with four ('99, '03, '06, '11). Duke rounds it out with two titles in the last four seasons, and will enter the fall as the reigning champs. In that same 15 year period, the new ACC slate also provided eight of the runners up.
The University of Virginia will have their work cut out for them on the lacrosse field in 2014. According to Inside Lacrosse, all six ACC programs fall in the top 10 incoming classes, including taking the top five slots. Maryland leads the way, followed by Syracuse, North Carolina, Virginia, and Duke. Notre Dame comes in at eight. Check out the article here.
As for the incoming freshman individually, Virginia does pretty well with five members of the 2014 class falling in the top 30. Zed Williams is first for the Wahoos, coming in at no. 4, with Ryan Lukacovic close behind at no. 12. Canadian defenseman Andrew Mullen pops up at no. 21, followed by the top ranked goalie in the class, Matt Barrett, at no. 25. Rob Emery's little bro, Matt, rounds it out at no. 30.
Four of the five UVA players participated in this summer's Under Armour All American Classic, a high-scoring affair you can read about here. Mullen, a 6'2", 205 pound beast out of Ontario, is the only one who did not play in the UA All-America game, but played against current Wahoos Danseglio, Florence, Ottenbreit, and Tucker as a member of the Canadian U-19 team that lost the gold medal match to the USA. I am definitely looking forward to seeing what a Canadian defenseman can bring to the mix...the lacrosse world knows of their prowess on the offensive end of the field.
Maryland also lands five players in the top thirty, but hold three of the top five slots (hence the number one class). Syracuse is not far behind with four (including #1 incomer, Jordan Evans), while UNC and Duke each have three players in the top 30. Here are some amazing tidbits about the ACC's incoming strength:
*ACC players make up seven of the top ten incoming freshman players
*20 of the top 30 players are going to ACC schools
*Notre Dame has no players in the top 30, but finishes with seven in the top 100
*Maryland leads the ACC with nine players in the top 100
*Virginia and Duke tie for the lowest with five players in the top 100
With ten incoming first years for Dom Starsia, five in the top 30 is not too shabby. It is nice that one of those players, Matt Barrett, is coming in to compete for a goalie position that was the source of significant struggle for the Cavaliers last season. I would have liked to see one or two more Wahoos in the top 100, but Virginia returns a lot of talent (LaPierre!!!) and only graduated three big contributors (White, Prevas, and O'Reilly). Williams, Emery, and Lukacovic should also be able to contribute on the offensive end to help fill the void left by Matt White and Nick O'Reilly.
Odds and Ends
Virginia assistant John Walker is headed into the lead assistant coach spot at Princeton University. Walker, a West Point graduate, worked as the defensive coordinator for the 'Hoos for the last four years. His contributions helped mold players like Bray Malphrus and Matt Lovejoy while hauling in a championship in 2011. Tim McDermott, currently a Volunteer Assistant Coach, could step into the role, but rumors are also swirling of someone like Kip Turner (assistant at Brown) or Adam Ghitelman (assistant at Harvard) might be an option as well. We here at Streaking the Lawn wish Coach Walker the best of luck at Princeton, and thank you for the work you did during your time in Charlottesville!
UPDATED: Virginia's all time leading scorer, Steele Stanwick, has been hired by Johns Hopkins as an assistant coach...for the women's team! This will be the first coaching job for the 2011 Tewaaraton winner and 2012 grad, but not his first exposure to the more refined version of the sport. Steele, one of eight gloriously named children (Tad, Sheehan, Wick, Coco, Wells, Covie, and Shackleford are the others) grew up in a lacrosse talented family, with all eight either graduated from, currently playing in, or signed to attend Division I programs. Sisters Sheehan, Wick, and Coco all had illustrious careers at Georgetown, while Covie was named 2013 ACC Rookie of the year for her work at Boston College. Steele said of the move, "I'm really excited about this opportunity. Hopkins has such a great tradition and is such an outstanding school. Coaching the women's game isn't something I expected in my first coaching job, but I couldn't be more thrilled. There will be some challenges in transitioning to the women's game, but I grew up watching my sisters play and I'm looking forward to working with the players."
Check out the whole press release at Inside Lacrosse here.