Yale and Massachusetts, both coming off very strong years in 2012, are entering a different kind of wonderful in 2013: With major pieces of both teams existing now in various forms of the ether, both the Bulldogs and Minutemen have all kinds of questions to answer and hurdles to cross if they hope to relatively duplicate their success from just a season ago. The two teams met in New Haven a few weekends ago at the Christian Prince Memorial Tournament, and while the results from the festival don't mean a hell of a lot, each showed that there's still a lot of work left to do.
Just as a reminder, here's a short list what each team needs to replace in terms of really important people from a season ago:
Matt Gibson (A); Mark Dobrosky (SSDM); Greg Mahony (M); Deron Dempster (A) (not participating in 2013); Ryan Polley (Coach)
I had the Bulldogs ranked 17th in my pre-fall top-20. I'm not sure if I'm going to move the Elis too much -- if at all -- going into the preseason, but I do like Andy Shay and think that he at least has some nice parts to work with come spring time. Princeton and Cornell are going to be sitting atop the Ivy League in 2013, and while that is going to be a tough barrier to break through (especially without Gibson and Dempster), it's not out of the question that the Bulldogs, if they can control the pace of play and get steady play from between the pipes, can make a solid run in the league and, if everything falls right, toward the NCAA Tournament.
Tim McCormack (G); Tom Celentani (D); Art Kell (A); Anthony Toresco (FOGO/M); Anthony Biscardi (M); Greg Rushing (SSDM)
I had the Minutemen ranked 14th in my pre-fall top-20. Will Manny returns, and it appears as if Zach Oliveri may nicely bridge the gap left by McCormack in the net, but this is still a program in transition. There is plenty of talent kicking around to support Manny in his quest for a back-to-back THUNDEROME! title -- Kyle Smith (A), Colin Fleming (A/M), and Jake Smith (D) are three players that should garner high all-league honors come May -- but the picture is still a bit unclear.