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The Good, The Bad, & The Future: SoCon

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

What a majestic falcon.
What a majestic falcon.
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

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.

Yesterday, I took at look at the MAAC. Today, it's time to head down south a wrap up the SoCon! Air Force and The Nation's Longest Winning StreakTM won the conference and didn't need to play a Play-In Game! Wow! But how about everyone else and VMI? Let's dive in.

VMI KEYDETS (2-14)

The Good: You won an extra game this year, but it came against Hampton. But, you're also very young, and sophomore midfielder Wesley Sanders led the team in goals (28) and points (35), more than doubling the totals of the next best player in those categories.

The Bad: You're still VMI. You're not that good.

The Future: Can you get more than one good win next year and not be the laughing stock of D1 lacrosse (Hampton doesn't count)? You're getting a trio of Paul VI kids in midfielder Brett Clark, midfielder and attackman Luke Davies, and defenseman John Schmank. Also, goaltender Ben Stump from Lambert arrives on campus.

JACKSONVILLE DOLPHINS (3-10)

The Good: You got wins against St. John's and Vermont (and VMI but yeesh), and leading scorer Shawn Ewert is going into his junior season. Oh, and I forgot, you know have BOSS John Galloway and GOAT Casey Powell. I also heard that you're changing your name to the Orange Dolphins and Nellie will be renamed as Otto.

The Bad: Well, you got your old coach fired. Plus, tough losses to UMass Lowell, Bellarmine, Holy Cross, and High Point weren't good as well.

The Future: Did you not see what I said in "The Good" section? THAT'S A PRETTY NICE FUTURE. PRETTY, PRETTY, PRETTY...PRETTY NICE FUTURE! Tap into your backyard, Jacksonville! Notable Floridians include LSM Ben Carbone (Lake Mary), FOGO Chad Minter (Maclay School), and midfielder and attacker Garret Arnold (Melbourne Central Catholic). Also, you're getting attackman Dwayne Mattushik (Bergen Catholic), defenseman Liam Hare (Spring-Ford), and goalie Joey Goodwin (Mountain Lakes).

FURMAN PALADINS (2-11)

The Good: You only had two seniors on the team. Maybe that's good? Outside of VMI, you defeated Jacksonville too.

The Bad: From 4-9 last year to 2-11, it wasn't a good year for BOSS Richie Meade. Tough losses include Ohio State, Mount St. Mary's, Richmond, and Mercer. Also, both of your two wins came in conference play. Gotta be better in out-of-conference action.

The Future: Be happy that BOSS Meade can tap into the Baltimore market, because here come some of those kids. Four kids from MIAA schools arrive, including St. Paul's duo Reese Norton (midfield) and John Faus (defense/LSM), along with Boys' Latin midfielder Davy Linzana, and Loyola-Blakefield attackman Luke Hurley. Other notables include attackmen Luke McDaid (Garden City) and Winn Medlock (Salisbury School/Memphis University School), midfielders Louie Yovino (St. Thomas Aquinas) and Jackson Durham (Highland Park), defenseman Aidan Conk (St. Anthony's), and goalie Alec van de Bovenkamp (Culver).

MERCER BEARS (5-8)

The Good: The record stayed the same, so I guess that's more good than bad. Also, the Kennesaw freshman Lucas Wittenberg lead you guys in assists (13) and points (25) this year! STAND UP KENNESAW (except for the ACC Tournament, #ShouldveStayedInChester)!

The Bad: The record stayed the same, so it is kinda not good. Close losses to Robert Morris, Bellarmine, and Air Force hurt, especially the latter two. A win against Bellarmine would've given you a spot in the SoCon Tournament.

The Future: Digging in your own backyard I see. Georgia kids coming include attackers Jack Ryan (North Gwinnett) and Shawn Finnerty (Alpharetta), midfielder Sean Smart (Etowah), LSM Justyn Jean-Felix (Lambert), defenseman Brady Berman (Lambert), and goalie Brad Hodoval (Greater Atlanta Christian). And it's also worth mentioning about John Michael Night, a FOGO from Trinity Prep who was diagnosed with Locked-In Syndrome late in 2015. He was committed to Mercer two weeks before the stroke that left him in LIS, and he's been getting a ton of support this season. Take a break from reading this and read this article about him coming back home.

BELLARMINE KNIGHTS (6-9)

The Good: You got leader Bobby Schmitt back for one more season, and improved from 4-8 to 6-9 and a spot in the SoCon Tournament as well. Junior Tucker Ciessau lead the team in all scoring categories after Austin Shanks left for Ohio State.

The Bad: Close losses to Marquette, Ohio State, Providence, Richmond, and Air Force twice didn't leave a good taste in your mouths. You're a competitive team, but without Schmitt anchoring the defense next season, it's going to be a tough journey to get back to the SoCon Tournament.

The Future: A duo from The Woodlands in Texas including LSM and defenseman Johnny Daniels and offensive weapon Brentley Kalata come in. Highland Park defenseman Luke Petty might be counted on early, especially with a guy like Schmitt graduating. Also, Brother Rice attackman Morgan Macko looks to be a player to use for the future.

HIGH POINT PANTHERS (9-6)

The Good: BOSS Jon Torpey scheduled pretty well, with four big conference schools to start the season, finishing with an overtime win over Virginia. You also got good wins against Marist and Providence.

The Bad: Your record went slightly down from 10-7 to 9-6, and you lost to Richmond twice, the second being a 17-6 embarrassment in the SoCon semifinals. Looks like the early season struggles didn't do enough.

The Future: With attackmen Matt Thistle and USILA Honorable Mention All-American Dan Lomas graduating, you'll need to replace those two guys. I think you will, with guys like T Moyer and Quin Eissler or some incoming freshmen. Your top recruit is Hill Academy attackman Cam Garlin, so that might be one spot at attack that gets filled. Michael Stanton from Gonzaga might get some time as well at attack, along with Ben Baker of Upper Arlington. Midfielders coming in include Cody Mazurek (La Salle College High School), Ricky Koehler (DeMatha), and Nate Carter (Salisbury School). Defensively, Logan Danenza (St. Anthony's) and Griff Caligiuri (Lake Highland Prep) are excellent additions, as well as Delbarton goalie Chris Crowley.

RICHMOND SPIDERS (11-5)

The Good: You had the same exact season as 2015, and fell in overtime to Air Force in the SoCon title game! So close! But the season was another great one, with wins over Fairfield, Duke, and twice against High Point coming as some of the best games of your season. Freshman Teddy Hatfield led the team in goals (20) and points (36), and entering year four of the program, with your original recruiting class becoming seniors, 2017 could be special, just like year one.

The Bad: You got shut out by a subpar Virginia team at home, which was a little embarrassing, and lost both of your meetings to Air Force this year in their first season in the SoCon. That'll be a challenge to overcome next year.

The Future: It's pretty bright. Midfielder Garrison Kedda is a big in-state addition, playing at St. Stephen's & St. Agnes in high school. Other notables include attackmen Nathan Emery (Hill Academy), Kevin Todd (Spring-Ford), and Michael Reale (Staples), and midfielders Jack Miller (Manhasset), Tyler Shoults (West Genesee), and Tate Gallagher (Shipley School).

AIR FORCE FALCONS (15-3) - Won SoCon Tournament; Lost to Notre Dame in NCAA First Round

The Good: You're one-for-one in winning the SoCon, which is 100%! That's fantastic! Chris Walsch balled out of his mind again and was an Honorable Mention All-American along with senior defenseman Alex Warden, while senior goalie Doug Gouchoe and Warden anchored a stingy Falcon defense that had The Nation's Longest Winning StreakTM.

The Bad: Losing your first two games to Navy and Denver in close affairs isn't that bad, but the Denver game could've been an outstanding early season upset. The loss to Notre Dame in the First Round wasn't pretty however.  Not a lot of bad! Except that Gouchoe and Warden are graduating, and that's pretty bad!

The Future: Since it's a service academy, there will be guys that directly go to Air Force and some that will go to the prep school for a year. Regardless, you have some pretty solid recruits coming in. To keep the defense strong, George Rittenhouse (Calvert Hall), James DeTommasso (Massapequa), and Vincent Lombardi (Bayport-Blue Point) are excellent additions. Offensively, you'll have Anthony DeMaio (Coronado), Jeremy Magno (Bergen Catholic), Craig Coleman (La Salle College High School), Chris Buell (Highland Park), and Matthew O'Rourk (Ward Melville) as excellent additions. Right now, I only know that Coleman (who's the younger brother of current Harvard midfielder Sean Coleman) is going to the prep school for 2017.