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.
10 11: The Unsung Heros
Taking a look at a player on each team whose critical contributions often go unnoticed by the general public
Devin Acton, Amherst: A repeat appearance for the perpetually under-appreciated Jeffs attackman. Acton does it all for a team mired in mediocrity. He is the only player on the roster who can consistently create his own offense against good defenses, and is scoring at a rate that is impressive for anyone, much less a guy who has little in the way of a viable secondary offensive option. A NESCAC POY candidate.
Charlie Clark, Bates: This could be a few of the Bates defensemen, as they have a number of solid poles who do good work on the defensive end to little fanfare. For a Bates team that has outperformed expectations thus far, the play of Clark and company will be critical to keeping Charlie Kazarian confident in cage.
Billy Bergner, Bowdoin: Do-it-all lefty attackmen are the “3 and D” NBA wings of the NESCAC. These are the guys that make offenses function just that much more efficiently. Bergner came into the league as more of a scorer, but has continued to improve as a player and is a legitimate threat on the wing. He can shoot, distribute, and dodge reasonably effectively. Currently second in scoring for the Polar Bears, every team could use a Bergner to fill an unheralded-yet-crucial role on offense.
Greg McKillop, Colby: On a Colby offense with few options capable of reliably initiating offense, McKillop performs as an important secondary initiator. He gives the Mules some diversity in how they attack a defense and is a great complement to Deveau and Jennings.
Andrew Freedman, Conn: It may seem curious to list a guy leading his team in scoring and who has two 7 point games to his name this year, but Freedman has been flying under the radar after spending the last 3 years as part of a volatile attack rotation at Conn. Now, given the chance to play freely, Freedman has blossomed as a scored and distributor. Never a fast player, Freedman relies on strength, great vision, and coordination to make plays for himself and his teammates.
Brian Hopper, Hamilton: Hopper is just a fun guy to watch. He’s not a great shooter either on the run or with time and space, but he is a good dodger who knows how to set up his approach to get maximum separation using his quickness. It’s those dodging skills that give him real value to the Hamilton offense as a guy who can initiate through the midfield.
Darric White, Middlebury: A dynamic LSM, White would be a national sensation at Tufts. As it is, he is a gamechanger for the Panthers who benefit from his transition prowess. Read what Coach Campbell had to say about him here.
Brian Belichick, Trinity: Who cares if he has only played in one game? Having Bill Belichick as a friend of the program is the best thing Trinity has going for them after a dismal start to 2013.
Sam Diss, Tufts: Diss is one of the best athletes in teh NESCAC. A SSDM for the Jumbos, Diss gets up and down the field as a critical component of Tufts’ rides, clears, defense, faceoffs, and transition offense. He is an elite on-ball defender as far as SSDM’s go, and has the skills and vision to contribute in unsettled situations. Cogs like Diss keep Tufts cranking, and Diss is the best cog of the lot.
Aidan Daniell, Wesleyan: With a number of other quality midfielders in the conference, guys like Daniell receive little attention for the solid work they put in. Daniell is the Cardinals’ top midfielder and draws the pole consistency, drawing attention away from his teammates and still finding enough success to be third on the team in scoring. With his good size and athleticism, Daniell plays an important role in the Wesleyan offense.
Dan Whittam, Williams: Still stopping 60% of his shots despite an 0-2 week for the Ephs, Whittam looks to be capable of keeping Williams in games that they have no right being in. Some more consistency would be nice, but Whittam is a player to watch.
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.
I’m out of volleyball jokes already, so the top spot in this poll will have to suffice.
They’re mortal and not a title contender on the national stage, but the Panthers are back in the upper echelon of the NESCAC.
Welcome to the part of the season where we talk about sportsmanship for a whole week. Please excuse me while I throw up in my mouth.
The Camels have gotten off to a 3-1 record in the conference and are doing it lately without All-American midfielder John Lyons.
What a difference a week makes. Can they sustain it?
Looking like a lock to make the playoffs.
The Continentals need to keep an eye on Amherst and Colby in the rear-view mirror…
Coaching Jesus looking less and less like Recruiting Jesus.
Less intrigued by their defense now.
If it looks like a dumpster fire, and smells like a dumpster fire…
Comments: Middlebury is in line to host the NESCAC tournament. Book your rooms at the Middlebury Inn now! It’s only allegedly haunted!