Our next 2017 Scouting Report is on 2016's 47th ranked RPI team, the Holy Cross Crusaders!!
Holy Cross 2016 season review.
Profile: Though Holy Cross Lacrosse hasn’t had much success in its history, the Crusaders have been pretty frisky the last few years. The team went 7-8 in 2013 which was the most wins in a season since HC went 8-7 in 1988. 2014 was a bit of a step backwards when they finished a disappointing 3-12 (5 of Holy Cross’ 12 losses in 2014 were by 2 points or less), but the team bounced back with a strong 2015 when they went 6-7 in BOSS Lattimore’s first year as head coach. (With wins over Fairfield, Loyola, and Army; the wins over Loyola and Army were Holy Cross’ first-ever wins versus nationally ranked teams.)
Additionally, despite starting out last season 1-10 (losses to Harvard, Lehigh, Loyola, and Hartford by 1 (OT), 1, 1, and 2, respectively), HC rallied to win their last three regular season games including a huge victory over heavily favored Boston University in the regular season finale to make the Patriot League Tournament for the first time ever in team history.
While they haven’t put everything together just yet, after decades of futility, Holy Cross has gone from Patriot League pushover to potentially a sleeper in 2017, and that’s pretty impressive.
2016 Record: 4-11 overall and 3-5 in the Patriot League. 2016 was a historic year for Holy Cross as they made the Patriot League tournament for the first time in team history. Additionally, the Crusaders held their own against several top 20 teams in 2016, losing to Harvard, Lehigh, Loyola, and Hartford, by a combined 5 points. If the Crusaders can find a way to hold on and flip some of those close losses into wins next season, they may make some noise in the Patriot League in 2017.
2017 Roster: Holy Cross is going to have to find a replacement for Sean Wilkinson who was third on the team in goals (21) and first in assists (15) in 2016. Wilkinson finished his career with the Crusaders being named to the Academic All-Patriot League team for the second year in a row.
Luckily for the Crusaders, they’ll have seniors Jon Vogel & Mark Buermann in 2017. Buermann had a great 2016 and finished the season second on the squad in goals (24) and third in assists (9); Mark also earned 2nd Team All-Patriot League honors in 2016 as well. Vogel was equally productive last season. Jon led the team in goals and total points, 39 and 42, respectively, and led the Patriot League with 2.6 points per game. Junior Logan LeBlond is also a key returning contributor, LeBlond finished tied for fourth in goals (10) and was second on the team in assists (11) in 2016.
Conference: You could easily convince me that the Patriot League is the third toughest conference in the country. Loyola is probably the favorite to win the PL next season, but the gap between it and the other top teams in the conference is slim. Navy, Bucknell, Army, or a surprise team could make a run next season.
Moreover, the lower half of the conference has also gotten significantly better; teams like BU & Holy Cross have gone from easy wins to stiff competition in the last five years, making the road to the Patriot League Tournament that much more difficult. If you are looking for a conference race filled with uncertainty, you can’t do much better than the Patriot League in 2017.
2017 Outlook: I think Holy Cross is going to surprise some teams next season and will make a return trip to the PL Tournament. In 2015 the Crusaders started out hot and then cooled off. In 2016 they started out flat and then got hot towards the end of the season. I think 2017 will be the year they put it all together and play consistently well throughout the year. If they can do that, a return trip to the PL Tournament (or even a PL Tournament first round bye) is definitely a possibility next season.
Non-Sequitor: Bill Simmons and his boy Jacko went to Holy Cross. I’ve been trying to get them into lacrosse.