clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2014 College Lacrosse Preview: The New Programs

What to expect when you're expecting.

Jamie Squire

Four new programs -- Boston University, Furman, Monmouth, and Richmond -- will get Division I uniforms and everything this year. While the new car smell of each of these schools provides for the appearance of endless possibilities, new programs -- since Mercer's introduction to the highest level of college lacrosse in 2011 -- haven't had a petting zoo level of fun in their first campaigns:

  • The average LaxPower ranking of new programs since 2011 is 57.75. (For context, there were 61 teams that played at the Division I level in 2011 and 2012; 2013 saw 63 participating teams.)
  • The average Pythagorean win expectation for new programs since 2011 was just 19.19 percent. The high watermark among new programs in this metric is 27.69 percent, the value that Marquette achieved last year.
  • The average record for new programs since 2011 was 3-11. That's in lockstep with these teams' Pythagorean win expectation based on a 14-game schedule (which means that new programs were neither overachieving or underachieving).

That reality looks like how Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music sounds. Division I lacrosse is hard -- arguably harder than it has ever been -- and transitioning to that level of play carries with it growing pains and hard lessons about program development and what it takes to succeed. Here's an outlook on the four new programs that will attempt to achieve great things when the forecast calls for blood falling from the sky.


Head Coach: Ryan Polley
Nickname: Terriers
Conference: Patriot League
Best Chance(s) for Victory: Mercer, Vermont, Lafayette
Crime Scene Investigation(s): Lehigh, Bucknell, Loyola, Duke
Two Unrelated Notes:

  • The Terriers, compared to their first-year peers, are doing something somewhat unique -- entering a league full of predators. Due to Boston University's participation in the Patriot League, the Terriers may have the hardest time aggregating wins because of both the conference's competitive depth and the fact that the league has nine participating members, limiting Boston University's ability to go out and schedule a host of peer-level nonconference games.
  • Last year Marquette closed their season with Duke, a 3-19 shellacking that may portend the destruction that the Terriers may experience in early May.


Head Coach: Richie Meade
Nickname: Paladins
Conference: Atlantic Sun
Best Chance(s) for Victory: Michigan, High Point, Richmond, VMI, Mercer
Crime Scene Investigation(s): Lehigh, North Carolina, Duke
Two Unrelated Notes:

  • Furman will scrimmage Limestone to open their season. That should be a good test for the Paladins program, facing off against the two-seed from the 2013 Division II NCAA Tournament. Exhibitions don't usually mean much, but the date against Limestone could speak volumes about Furman's potential in 2014.
  • Look: Furman may end the season as one of the 10 weakest teams in the nation, but the Paladins have something valuable in their favor: A membership interest in the Atlantic Sun. Furman -- not unlike Richmond -- needs to finish ahead of just three schools to make the Atlantic Sun Tournament. That's not an impossible feat considering that the league features another first-year program (Richmond), a second-year program (High Point), a third-year program (Mercer), and a VMI program that has struggled to find wins.


Head Coach: Brian Fisher
Nickname: Hawks
Conference: MAAC
Best Chance(s) for Victory: Wagner, Canisius, Lafayette, Manhattan
Crime Scene Investigation(s): Lehigh
Two Unrelated Notes:

  • A lot of eyes may turn toward the Hawks to see what they can accomplish in the MAAC, but that league isn't a pushover: Siena looks fairly strong, Detroit made major waves at the end of last season, Quinnipiac took important steps forward last year, and Marist has a bit of momentum (even if the Red Foxes lost a platoon of seniors). Flipping conferences from the Northeast to the MAAC before even playing a Division I game may provide Monmouth with a tougher road to league competitiveness.
  • 41 percent of Monmouth's roster hails from New Jersey. That's a high volume of tramps that were born to run.


Head Coach: Dan Chemotti
Nickname: Spiders
Conference: Atlantic Sun
Best Chance(s) for Victory: Mercer, Vermont, Wagner, Furman, High Point, VMI
Crime Scene Investigation(s): Virginia
Two Unrelated Notes:

  • Richmond's development under Chemotti is one that is going to draw a lot of attention. Given the way that the school put men's lacrosse on its athletic offerings list (cutting other programs to make way for lacrosse) and the school's potential role in conference realignment (Richmond has often been mentioned as a potential target of the Big East given the Spiders' hoops heritage), Richmond has the pressure of self-validation surrounding it, even if that isn't fair for a fresh effort.
  • Richmond hosts Virginia to open their season. E. Claiborne Robins Stadium holds 8,700 people. Will the Spiders start their existence with a sell out? If so, that'd be a huge accomplishment (even if Richmond has its face melted in the game).