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2015 Lacrosse Week: Previewing the ACC

The nation's premier lacrosse conference gears up for another strong season

Duke and Notre Dame lead the ACC pack in 2015
Duke and Notre Dame lead the ACC pack in 2015
Rob Carr/Getty Images

There are two ways to understand just how good the ACC is when it comes to men's lacrosse: Look at the history of the sport, and look where it stands now.

First, history. The current members of the ACC (good riddance, Maryland!) have a combined 22 national titles. Since 1980, there have been only five national title games that didn't involve at least one current ACC team, while six national title games have been all-ACC affairs (including the last two). Eight of the 14 Tewaaraton winners played for current ACC schools.

So what about now? Well, all five ACC schools are in the top nine in both the coaches and media polls. The conference boasts six first-team All-Americans, and a total of twenty-three. Nineteen of the 44 high school Under Armour All-Americans chose ACC teams to play college ball.

Put it this way: In college football, there's the SEC West. In college basketball, there's...well, there's also the ACC. But in college lacrosse, there is ONLY the ACC.

Below are capsules on each ACC team, in their predicted order of finish.

Notre Dame (#2 coaches, #2 media)

  • 2014 finish: National runners-up
  • Key returners: Matt Kavanagh (A); Sergio Perkovic (M); Matt Landis (D); Jack Near (M); Garrett Epple (D); Conor Doyle (A); Nick Ossello (M)
  • Big departures: John Scioscia (A); Stephen O'Hara (D); Brian Buglione (D)
  • Major additions: Mikey Wynne (A); Brendan Collins (M); Alex Hurdle (D)
  • Plays Virginia: In Charlottesville on March 14th

Duke (#3 coaches, #3 media)

  • 2014 finish: National champions
  • Key returners: Myles Jones (M); Deemer Class (M); Will Haus (M); Kyle Rowe (FOGO); Case Matheis (A); Kyle Keenan (A); Kyle Turri (G); Luke Aaron (G)
  • Big departures: Jordan Wolf (A); Josh Dionne (A); Christian Walsh (A); Brendan Fowler (M)
  • Major additions: Matthew Giampetroni (M); James Riley (D); Greg Pelton (D); Mitch Russell (A); Jake Seau (M)
  • Plays Virginia: In Durham on April 12th

Syracuse (#4 coaches, #4 media)

  • 2014 finish: First-round loss in NCAA Tournament
  • Key returners: Nicky Galasso (A); Kevin Rice (A); Brandon Mullins (D); Randy Staats (A); Sean Young (D); Henry Schoonmaker (M); Hakeem Lecky (M); Bobby Wardwell (G); Jordan Evans (M)
  • Big departures: Billy Ward (M); Derek Maltz (A); Dominic Lamolinara (G); Matt Harris (D)
  • Major additions: Bradley Voigt (A); Austin Fusco (D); Bradley McKinney (M)
  • Plays Virginia: In Syracuse on March 1st

North Carolina (#5 coaches, #5 media)

  • 2014 finish: First-round loss in NCAA Tournament
  • Key returners: Joey Sankey (A); Chad Tutton (M); Austin Pifani (D); Jimmy Bitter (A); Ryan Kilpatrick (LSM); Kieran Burke (G); Stephen Kelly (M/FOGO)
  • Big departures: Ryan Creighton (M); Pat Foster (M); R.G. Keenan (M/FOGO); Jordan Smith (D)
  • Major additions: Patrick McCormick (A); Justin Anderson (M); Joe Kenna (D); William McBride (M); Jordan Prysko (A); Brian Cannon (A); Mike D'Alessandro (M)
  • Plays Virginia: In Charlottesville on April 3rd

Virginia (#9 coaches, #9 media)

  • 2014 finish: First-round loss in NCAA Tournament
  • Key returners: James Pannell (A); Ryan Tucker (M); Tyler German (M); Owen Van Arsdale (A); Greg Coholan (M); Ryan Lukacovic (A); Zed Williams (M); Tanner Ottenbreit (LSM); Matt Barrett (G); Dan Marino (G)
  • Big departures: Mark Cockerton (A); Rob Emery (M); Tanner Scales (D); Greg Danseglio (D); Mick Parks (M/FOGO); Pat Harbeson (M); Chris LaPierre (M); Joe Lisicky (D)
  • Major additions: Scott Hooper (D); Logan Greco (D); Tyler Breen (A); Mike D'Amario (A); Will Railey (G)
Despite all five schools being threats to make the NCAA Final Four, only four of these teams will have a shot at the conference title thanks to the new format of the ACC Tournament. Low man on the totem pole plays Penn in an exhibition game at PPL Park. Each game in conference play will have a tournament-like atmosphere as the nation's top teams hit each other almost every week.