As part of our offseason we are doing an early 2017 scouting report on every D1 team. The kid Jayskrem is also doing a great series called The Good, The Bad, & the Future; his last few posts were on the CAA, the Patriot League, and the Big East. You should definitely check them out.
Our last scouting report was on Wagner. We're doing our list from the bottom to the top, so our seventh report is on 2016's 65th ranked RPI team, Jacksonville!!
Profile: Pre-June 2016, Jacksonville was just a young program (first season 2010), that had a bit of buzz around it because of its unique location (only D1 in Florida) and the fact the Dolphins were pretty decent for a new team. Jacksonville was below .500 for their first 3 seasons, but the squad did go 6-7 in their inaugural year and in 2012. By 2013, the Dolphins were 8-5, and definitely started to get some chatter. However, Jacksonville went 4-8, 4-8, & 3-10 in the 3 years after and lost a lot of momentum from their positive early years. Despite extending Coach Van Arsdale in August of 2014 to a deal through 2017, the school parted way with their former coach this past May.
Post-June 2016 .... well the sky is the limit. The school scooped up Syracuse greats John Galloway & Casey Powell, as BOSS and offensive coordinator, respectively, and suddenly the Dolphins got really interesting. The term "Syracuse South" has been bandied about quite a lot since the news was announced..
2016 Record: 3-10 overall, 1-6 conference. 2016 was a rough year for the Dolphins. Despite going .500 in February (2-2), Jacksonville won 1 game the rest of the season (VMI on April 9th) and had lots of trouble finding the back of the net. Outside of scoring 10+ in their wins over Vermont & VMI, Jacksonville only scored ten or more goals once the rest of the season (10 Gs in the loss to High Point). New offensive coordinator Casey Powell should go a long way to improving an offense that was less productive in 2016 than they were in 2015.
Roster: Jacksonville had 9 seniors on their 2016 roster. The team's biggest senior loss was Dakota Rohlin. The Temecula, CA native led the team in goals, was second in total points with 26 (19 Gs & 7 As), and received All-SoCon First Team honors this past May. His loss will be difficult to fill. Chase Miller was the only other Dolphins senior to record over 10 points (7 Gs & 5 As).
While the coaching change will obviously take some time to get used to, the cupboard is not bare. Rising junior Shawn Ewert had a big year in 2016 as he led the Dolphins in total points and assists (9 Gs & 22 As). Moreover, Eric Applegate had a wonderful rookie year and even made the All-SoCon Freshman Team after bagging 15 goals and 8 assists, to make him 3rd on the team in total points. Additionally, rising junior Ben Gleichenhaus was All-SoCon 2nd Team at goal. Big Ben led the nation in saves/game (13.69) and was 17th in save percentage with .558. Ben will be a big part of their defense next year.
Conference: 2016 was a difficult year for Jacksonville as they were the second to last team in the conference. The good news is that you can pretty much only go up from here. The bad news is, the SooooooooooooooooooCoooooooooooon is a pretty good conference and might be even better next year. Air Force was one of the biggest surprises in 2016, but Richmond was also a top 20 team throughout the year. Additionally, High Point made several appearances in the top 20 and shocked the world with their upset over UVA.
While the three best teams in the conference grabbed many of the headlines, the rest of the conference is actually pretty tough as well. It might still take 2-3 years before Jacksonville is ready to be a yearly threat for the conference crown. That's not a knock against the 'Phins, that's just an acknowledgement of how swiftly the conference has developed in a short period of time.
What are they doing this summer: Still buzzing from their coaching announcement. Getting both Galloway & Powell was major move by the school, legitimizes the program, and regains the momentum the team had after its initial success. If your coaching move got BOSS Desko excited enough to release a statement, you know it was a good one.
Head coach John Desko extends his congratulations to two of his former players on their hiring at Jacksonville: pic.twitter.com/uDUuymbC1A— Syracuse Lacrosse (@CuseMLAX) June 10, 2016
2017 outlook: I think the team should win 2-3 more games next year will compete for a spot in the 2017 SoCon tournament.
Non-Sequitor: "According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 874.3 square miles , making Jacksonville the largest city in land area in the contiguous United States."