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The Good, The Bad, & The Future: Independents/America East

We look back at what the Independent and America East teams did in 2016 and who they'll be getting in 2017.

Woof woof. Or is it aarf arrf? Or ruff ruff? Or bark bark? I don't know.
Woof woof. Or is it aarf arrf? Or ruff ruff? Or bark bark? I don't know.
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

So the 2016 season has been over for about two-and-a-half weeks, and we still miss it. So as Eri is taking a look at each individual team (god rest his soul), I'll be taking a smaller look at each team.

And we'll start with the Independents and the America East. There are two teams that are free of any conference ruling them and that's the American way to do things. Both of these teams are also relatively new and also didn't do that well. Let's dive in.

CLEVELAND STATE VIKINGS (Didn't Even Play)

The Good: You got some of your coaching staff and players signed.

The Bad: How is there anything bad when a team hasn't even began play.

The Future: You're going to enter 2017 in your first yearDylan Sheridan is your first BOSS, while Andy German andKyle Bernlohr will be assistant BOSSES. That's a good start.

HAMPTON PIRATES (0-4)

The Good: It's your first season, and you even got Sportscenter to come! You're also the first HBCU team to play Division I lacrosse since Morgan State in the early 1980s. The game grew a little bit with the addition of Hampton.

The Bad: Do I have to do a part like this about a first year program? Fine. You gave up at least 18 goals in your four games that you played. Your "best" game was an 18-4 loss to Hoya's national champion Wagner.

The Future: You'll be adding at least two more guys in long stick midfielder and defenseman Everett Driver and midfielder Jonathan Napier. Hampton will surely be adding more guys from inside the school as well as possible transfers, and you've been getting a ton of interest overall. Hopefully, you play more than four games as well and can compete in some as well. And hopefully you can join a conference, like the SoCon (NJIT's teams are in the A-Sun, but A-Sun teams are part of the SoCon in lacrosse).

NJIT HIGHLANDERS (1-14)

The Good: YOU WON A GAME! You beat Dartmouth 10-7 for their first win in program history (they were winless in 2015). You also played tight games against VMI, Quinnipiac, Wagner, Marist, and UMass Lowell. A few more goals on your end and you'd be an even better team! And plus, you're still really really young.

The Bad: You lost those close games, and lost to VMI. I get that you're a second-year program, but C'MON!

The Future: You'll get at least three guys in attackman Ryan Kaden from Bridgewater-Raritan, goaltender Ian Reilly from Haddonfield Memorial, and midfielder Matt Sanchez from Mt. Olive. Picking right from their backyard.

Now we move on to the America East, which had a crazy end to their conference season.

UMASS-LOWELL RIVER HAWKS (4-12)

The Good: You quadrupled your win total from last year from a single win to four! Jacksonville, Wagner, and Dartmouth were the three teams outside of NJIT that you defeated. And you're also really young, just like NJIT! But you're better!

The Bad: You could've shocked the world by defeating Marisa's Boston University in the first game of the season, but nope. You also went winless in conference play and could've beaten UMBC, Hartford, and Vermont, but lost to them by a goal or two. Other tight losses were Fairfield, Siena, Manhattan, and Providence.

The Future: You're getting at least five guys next season. Three of them are attackmen in Dylan Rhatigan, Brandon Beland and Joe Nutting, and will join defenseman Cameron Hult and goalie Tyler Canto. If you quadruple your win total again next season (probably not), my god. But a breakout season under BOSS Ed Stephenson should come soon.

UMBC TERRIERS (4-10)

The Good: You had a lit attackman in Nate Lewnes, who scored 10 GOALS against Albany late in the season and forced overtime with the Great Danes! He was named as an Honorable Mention All-American, but missed three games due to a battle with mono.

The Bad: BOSS Don Zimmerman will retire on July 1st and Lewnes graduated. Also, your one conference win was against UMass-Lowell with Lewnes back in the lineup. Close losses included Richmond, Stony Brook, Vermont, Penn, and the aforementioned Albany comeback.

The Future: Max Maxwell (what a name) will be back as a senior, and you will have at least nine freshman coming in next season. Key guys include attackman James Lucas and FOGO Jake Brothers, both of whom played at Mt. St. Joseph, and Sachem North defenseman Ben Aronow.

BINGHAMTON BEARCATS (4-10)

The Good: You won half of your games inside of the conference, and all four at home. And beat Drexel by three. But lost to Albany by four, so that's alright I guess. Joe Licata was named to the AE All-Rookie team too.

The Bad: EVERYTHING. You didn't improve on your win total from last year, lost an extra game, lost close games to Marist, Delaware, and Albany (which isn't that bad), your top two scorers are graduating, you're in downstate New York, and you don't have a coach as of now. Uh oh.

The Future: Well outside of the unknown coach (help us out "Sources"), you'll be getting at least five guys next season. Mike DeMarco is a midfielder from back-to-back NY state champion Victor, while attackman Owen Mead was on a Sparta team that did surprisingly well last season. You'll also be getting defensemen Zach Barrett (Lynbrook), Daniel Beiline (IMG Academy), and Noah Madgwick (Stone Bridge).

HARTFORD HAWKS (11-7) - America East Tournament Champions; Lost to Quinnipiac in Play-In Game

The Good: You beat Albany and won the America East Tournament! THAT'S REALLY GOOD! Also, sophomore FOGO Dylan Protesto is a BEAST (like, 3rd Team All-American beast), and Dylan Jinks lit it up as a freshman. Plus, new BOSS Ryan Martin is a very popular selection! Good job not being Virginia!

The Bad: You lost your old BOSS Peter Lawrence, who's moved on back to NXT Sports, and lost to Quinnipiac in the NCAA Play-In game. It was also your second loss to the Bobcats. And outside a brutal 11-3 loss to UMass, it was a pretty good season!

The Future: You're loading up on more talent for 2017. Attackman Alex Bonnett from Penncrest joins Protesto in a mini-Penncrest reunion, while defenseman/LSM Anthony Drouin comes from Salisbury School. Other notables include goalkeeper Liam Donnelly (Yorktown), midfielder Dylan Speitel (Manheim Township), and attack/middie Chet Morgis (Mountain Lakes). This team is young, and will certainly make some noise in the AE for the next couple of seasons.

VERMONT CATAMOUNTS (9-8)

The Good: You defeated Stony Brook to make the AE title game, and junior midfielder Ian MacKay was a Third Team All-American.

The Bad: You were on the opposite end of many close games, including Jacksonville, Providence, Michigan, Hofstra, and the AE title game against Hartford. Also, you don't have a BOSS after Ryan Curtis stepped down. Paging Bernie Sanders?

The Future: The Catamounts will get at least nine guys next season. Some notable guys include midfielders Liam Rischmann (Darien), Ryan Stafford (Brunswick School), and Jasper Tyner (Potomac School), along with midfield and attackman Tucker Roy (Avon Old Farms), and attackmen Ben French (IMG Academy), and Jon Perotto (Pittsford).

STONY BROOK SEAWOLVES (12-4)

The Good: You finished the season ranked and were in contention for an at-large bid. Challen Rogers was a Third Team All-American, and complemented Alex Corpolongo on the first midfield line.

The Bad: You lost to Vermont in the America East Tournament semifinals, and also lost to Brown and Marist in close games. Matt Schultz and the British Columbia duo, Rogers and Brody Eastwood, are departing, along with goalie Zach Oliveri.

The Future: You'll bring in at least 11 guys next season. That's a good amount. Notables include attackmen Aidan Byrne (Niskayuna) and Connor Grippe (Ward Melville), along with midfielder Chris Pickel (Bayport-Blue Point). And with two western Canadians going, the Seawolves will add two new western Canadians in midfielders Mackenzie Rope (Pitt Meadows, BC) and Harrison Matsuoka (Robert Thirsk, AB).

ALBANY GREAT DANES (12-4) - Lost to Syracuse in NCAA First Round

The Good: You had a great season and made it back to the NCAA Tournament, but fell to Syracuse in a tough 11-9 game inside the Carrier Dome. Connor Fields was a Third Team All-American, and Seth Oakes and John Maloney were Honorable Mentions. Justin Reh and Bennett Drake filled in the spot that Lyle Thompson left on attack and did very well.

The Bad: YA DONE MESSED UP! It started with the 15-14 overtime win over UMBC, when Nate Lewnes carried UMBC on his back, followed by an upset loss to Hartford, and then giving up an early lead and losing to Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament. Plus, you have some guys graduating in Maloney, Derrick Eccles, and goalie Blaze Riorden.

The Future: You'll bring at least seven recruits in for next season. T.D. Ierlan from Victor is one of the top FOGOs in the 2016 class, and will complement sophomore Zack Ornstein very well. Other notables include LSM and defenseman Matt Spahr from Comsewogue and midfielder Davis Diamond from St. Andrew's in Florida.