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The NESCAC Recap: Week 1

0 - Published March 18, 2013 by in NESCAC Lacrosse
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Editor’s Note: We’re a little over a week into the NESCAC lacrosse season, which means its time to start the NESCAC Recap, a look back at the games, players, and storylines from the past week. This will be a weekly Monday feature.

The Starting 10

Attack

Jon Broome, Middlebury: Has the NESCAC ROY race ever been over this quickly? Barring a catastrophic injury, Broome will run away with the award. He leads the 3-0 Panthers in goals and total points (11 G, 3 A) through three games.

Beau Wood, Tufts: The Jumbos went from the best 0-2 team in the nation to the best 1-2 team in the nation thanks to Wood’s 7 point effort in Tufts’ reminder to the rest of D3 lacrosse that they are not to be trifled with big win over a very good Stevens squad.

Devin Acton, Amherst: The former ROY is now a junior and has become something of a forgotten man since Amherst imploded (still waiting on the supernova…). Acton can do it all and has a blend of size, athleticism, and skill that makes him versatile and hard to guard. Amherst uses him as a creator and off-ball in a way few other NESCAC attackmen are used. For a young Amherst team struggling on defense and lacking another stud on offense, Acton’s do-it-all role on offense is vital in keeping this team competitive in the NESCAC.

Midfield

Ian Deveau, Colby: Even if you factor out his ridiculous 7 goal, 3 assist effort against NEC, Deveau has been excellent. His impact goes beyond the stats as the guy drawing the majority of the defensive attention, giving guys like John Jennings better opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net.

Nick Shaheen, Trinity: Despite the Bantams’ struggles out of the gate, Shaheen has mostly looked the part of an elite midfielder. Don’t hold the Williams game against him too much; a team that only musters three goals has failed on both a strategic and individual level in that game.

John Lyons, Conn: What, you thought I wouldn’t put a Camel on here? Two dynamic performances from Lyons helped leadConn to two wins, until he took a brtual slash in the 4th quarter against Tufts. Coincidence or not, he missed the Middlebury game and the offense crash-landed in the Thames. Like the other two guys listed here, Lyons has a vacuum effect on defenses which in turn opens up space for his teammates to operate.

Defense

Matt Callahan, Tufts: Living proof that, for whatever reason, it almost always takes D1 transfers a year to adjust to their new schools. Callahan has morphed into a force of nature on both ends of the field and impacts defense, faceoffs, and transition offense when given the opportunity to do so.

Danny Gold, Amherst:  In general, Amherst is not a dynamic transition team. Individually, Gold is a fantastic transition player. He is small, quick, and always seem to know exactly when to attack a defense that has let its guard down. He keeps his head up when he dodges and is an able passer, as well as knowing when there is nothing to be gained from pressing his luck further. It would be great if Amherst could force more live ball turnovers and get out and run in order to utilize Gold’s unique skillset more frequently, but the Jeffs’ defense simply isn’t built that way.

Kane Delaney, Tufts: Ho hum, just another Tufts pole that makes his presence felt on both ends of the field for one of the best teams in the country. Want to hear a scary stat? All four of the longpoles who regularly start (Callahan, Gardner, Heard, Delaney) for Tufts have already scored goals. Callahan, Gardner, and Delaney all missed the first two games due to suspension.

Goalie

Dan Whittam, Williams: Whittam is giving up just 5 goals a game and stopping nearly 70 percent of the shots he has seen in a tiny sample size. If Williams can sustain this level of play on defense and Whittam continues to perform as an elite stopper, we could be talking about the Ephs as something other than a cellar-dweller.

Power Rankings

Intended to represent who the best team would be on a neutral field at the present moment. Home field advantage matters. Furthermore, this ranking is interested in the level of play for a team right now, not 5 weeks ago. As the season progresses and teams round into shape or flame out, early results mean less and less.

1. Tufts

Unless another feminist decides to play fast-and-loose with the facts in a school newspaper article, this is the team to beat come May.

2. Middlebury

They’re hot right now and look good at both ends of the field. Their matchup against Wesleyan in The Bird Cage this Saturday is one of the most fun NESCAC games of the year.

3. Wesleyan

Of course.

4. Williams

I am oddly intrigued by the Williams defense. This disturbs me greatly. In my defense, I haven’t seen them play.

5. Hamilton

Expect this one to trend downward, but right now you have to respect the convincing win over Colby.

6. Conn

A tough team to evaluate with Bowdoin looking shaky and the need for a furious comeback to overcome Tufts’ skeleton crew.

7. Bates

Listen, I’m not getting excited about them beating Wesleyan at home. Year in and year out, it has been a positive outlier during seasons of futility. They go on the road for their next 4.

8. Colby

I’m having a hard deciding which concerns me more, the Hamilton loss or being in a 4 goal game with 12 minutes to play against NEC.

9. Amherst

The NESCAC scheduler must hate them, a back-to-back in Maine is no way to open the season.

10. Bowdoin

Easily the biggest disappointment so far.

11. Trinity

They look bad on defense, and it shows without Pete Johnson in net to erase mistakes. On the plus side, Rob Nogueras is the early leader for the Kevin McCormick Cup, the award given annually to the player who takes the most shots per game. So there’s that.

Comments: The Power Rankings are like a sandwich. The top two teams and the bottom two teams are obvious, as long as you have the cognitive ability of a rhesus monkey and know to ignore Tufts’ first two losses. Everything in the middle? That’s impossible to sort out. Trust me, I tried and got a headache. Then again, I only went to Conn State, maybe someone from the Middlebury School of Witchcraft and Wizardry could solve the quagmire in the middle. I am sure some out there will get their feathers ruffled over where their team falls in these meaningless rankings. All I can say is that there is no easy answer and I hope another week brings some clarity.

 

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