It's the America East's turn in our 2016 conference preview. Let's meet our teams!
|Team||2015 Overall Record||2015 Conf. Record||2016 Preseason Top 20 Rank (USILA)|
(Italicized = #TheBigBBQ2015 participant.)
Teams to keep an eye on.
- Albany: The Great Danes have been on quite a roll the last few years. Aided by the Thompsons, Albany is the three-time defending champ of the America East. Though (Lax God) Lyle Thompson is no longer on the squad, Albany was picked to win the AE again in 2016.
While it might take some time for the offense to find its identity, the cupboard is still full. It will be really interesting to see what coach Scott Marr cooked up in the off-season for 2016.
- Stony Brook: Despite not making the postseason, the Seawolves had a very successful 2015. Losing out on the America East AQ was a tough pill to swallow, but Stony Brook is primed for another good year. Indeed, the Seawolves are ranked 20th in the USILA preseason poll, have a potent offense, and a senior class that would love to snatch the America East AQ from Albany's doggy bowl.
2012 was the last time Stony Brook made it to #TheBigBBQ; if the Seawolves can play to their potential, they just might have what it takes to break Albany's chokehold on the conference.
- Connor Fields, Albany: Connor was amazing last year, and had arguably one of the best years by a freshman in history. Sure it didn't hurt to have Lyle Thompson on the squad, but Lyle or not, the East Amherst, NY product was lights out all of 2015. Fields was Honorable Mention All-American, America East Rookie of the Year, AND First Team All-America East. Not bad at all for a rookie.
I hope defenses underestimate him this year, as I would love for the kid to drop another 60+ goals and get out of Lyle's impressive shadow.
- Brody Eastwood, Stony Brook: Straight out of Victoria, British Columbia, Brody took his game to another level last year as he busted out a school record 62 tallies. Additionally, Eastwood made 2nd Team All-America East last year and was deadly on the man-up, scoring 10 EMO goals in 2015. The senior will need to pour it on in 2016 if Stony Brook is to have any chance at breaking up the Albany monopoly.
- Blaze Riorden, Albany: The Nation's favorite goalie, Blaze was a brick wall last year. Riorden nabbed 1st Team All-America East for the second straight year and made hearts flutter around the country with his ESPY nominated goal against Cornell in last year's dance.
But Riorden is more than just a SportsCenter highlight. Indeed, he led the conference in save percentage and goals against average. It will be a tall order, but Blaze needs to have an even better 2016 if Albany is to make a 4th straight trip to #TheBigBBQ.
(Ed. Note: SORRY Big Red fans, but I had to include this GIF. GO BIG BLAZE, GO!)
Official College Crosse Conference Prediction: Albany.
- This is definitely going to be a year of transition for the Great Danes, but I think they will have more than enough to retain their crown. This is not a knock on Stony Brook as I believe both squads will once again battle it out for the America East regular season and conference crown. However, I think Albany heard those whispers that they won't be the same without Lyle on the team. I believe the Great Danes will use that as motivation and by Selection Sunday we will once again see Albany on the #TheBigBBQGuestList.