4OneTwoLax recently posted a video of Richie Ford (Stevenson ’10), and asked if Ford was the most exciting attackman of all-time in D3. 412 claimed that he was, and I think it’s hard to definitively argue otherwise. “Exciting” is all about personal preference and opinion. If 412 says it’s Ford, I won’t argue! If you factor in the fact that film doesn’t exist online for most of these guys, the claim makes even more sense.
His post did get me thinking though, and it inspired me to attempt at “Best D3 Attachmen Ever” list. See below for the group of players that I view as some of the best ever D3 attackmen (at least from the mid 90s to now):
Holt Hopkins – Middlebury – The Midd teams back in Hopkins’ day were stacked with talent, and Holt was far from being alone out there in terms of being a threat. Hopkins won two titles with Midd, was a two-time First Team AA, and was a huge presence for Midd at 6’4″. Back in 2001, he was freakishly large for D3, and his Boys’ Latin pedigree prepped him well for NESCAC. He played with guys like Matt Dunn (midfield), and other Midd attack greats like David Seeley, Adam Pascal, and Zach Herbert.
John Landay – Wesleyan – Hopkins was the Attackman of the Year in 2001, and played in the NESCAC. Who was the NESCAC PotY? Landay. Who won the 2001 New England PotY? Landay. His 306 points it tops in Wesleyan’s history, his 121 points in 2001 led the country, and during his Senior year, Wesleyan went 17-3, their best record ever, at the time. Landay stands out because his points were mostly scored in the NESCAC, and he brought Wesleyan to the next level, all in a notoriously tough conference.
Jake & Josh Bergey – Salisbury – Both of the Bergey brothers tore it up while at Salisbury, and some argued that Josh was the best player in the country in 2003, and should have won the Tewaaraton Award. That might be a stretch, but Jake and Josh were both incredibly impressive, and exciting, players. Aside from Josh’s 120 points in 2003, their stats don’t jump out at you like some guy’s numbers do, but out of all the SU guys, these two were my favorites. It was tempting to just list Bergey, Bergey, Boyer, Bishop, High, Turner, and Krum and move on. Don’t worry, SU faithful, I’m getting to Coffman.
Jason Coffman – Salisbury – 451 Points in 62 games for over 7 points per game. He is the all-time NCAA scoring leader, and he did it on 249 goals and 202 assists. That’s balance! Coffman’s stick skills were unassailable, and his stick protection is nothing short of legendary. If you don’t know, now you know:
Brad Downey – Whittier – Much like at Salisbury, Whittier has been chock full of talent and scoring punch at the attack position. Ryder Bateman, Kelly Hall and Luke Gilbert all leap out immediately as accomplished and excellent players. Brad Downey also leaps out as a stud, albeit lesser known to much of today’s readership, and here is why: two-time AA, 163 points in 17 games in 1996, and 169 points in 20 games in 1997. That’s 332 points in only TWO seasons. Ridiculous. Jason Coffman scored 134 points in his most productive season. He got four of them though!
Will Van Dorn – Kean/Montclair State – Van Dorn, like Downey, had two incredibly successful seasons in D3. In 1998 and 1999, he tallied 141 and 149 points respectively. The only two higher point totals ever? Yup, both belong to Downey. Interesting fact: neither Van Dorn or Downey scored more than 10 goals or 10 assists in any one game, and neither scored 15 points in more in a game. You’d be surprised, some guys run up their points totals like crazy (the record for points in a single game is 21!).
Tom Ryan – Bowdoin - Ryan came out of Bowdoin with 315 career points, and as the all-time leading scorer in New England college lacrosse history. Later on he developed flowing dreadlocks, and got a writing spot with e-Lacrosse. Ryan went on to score 202 points in 95 NLL games, and played in the MLL, as well as being a feature at many Summer tourneys. Ryan also went on to Coach Team USA at the 2007 WILC, where the team took bronze.
Jimmy Dailey – Stevenson – The quickness that Dailey displayed was pretty rare. Undersized, but it didn’t matter, JD took it to the hole with no fear, took Stevenson to a more competitive level, and managed to score 325 points in his four years.
Casey Grugan – Cabrini - Grugan set all kinds of records for Cabrini. His 334 points, 97 points in a season, and 44 assists in a season all stand as records. He was the only D3 player selected in the MLL draft in 2010. He was a three time AA, and Cabrini’s first ever first teamer. He also holds the overall NCAA record for consecutive games with a goal scored, at a staggering 73 straight contests.
DJ Hessler – Tufts – 321 points, a national title, and now some time on MLL practice squads. Hessler was the driving force behind Tufts’ settled offense, and few defenders could shut him down. Hessler was great in transition, scored like crazy for a relatively low scoring team, and STILL played team ball. He was a coach’s dream, and exhilarating to watch.
Ryan Heath – Cortland – The Red Dragons have had a lot of talent at the attack position, but I always liked Heath’s game. He scored 232 points in three season, won a title as a sophomore, and was a two-time AA. Tota, Fuchs, and a number of others were considered as well.
Andy Bonasera – Roanoke – Bonasera was a four time AA, and an absolute stud for Noke. His 264 points are impressive, but his ability to “do it all” out on the field spoke the loudest. Need a role filled? Bonasera could do it. It was hard to pick Bonasera over Mason, so I’ll talk about him too. Back in 2004, Noke seemed way ahead of the NCAA pack when they brought in a lefty Canadian finisher in Jon Mason. He ended up being a three time AA and scored almost 4 goals a game his senior year, even when getting shut off.
Some more players worthy of consideration, that were not mentioned above: JR Oreskovich – Stevens, Denis Juleff – Ithaca (from Australia), Bryan Griffin – Tufts, Adam Cherry – WNEU, Connor Fitzgerald – Bowdoin, Chris Read – Washington College.
I have also been told numerous times now that Bill Miller – Hobart ’91, was the best D3 player of all-time. Never having seen him play, I’m still tempted to believe it.