Our 14th 2017 Scouting Report is on 2016's 58th ranked RPI team, the Monmouth Hawks!!
Profile: The 3 year old program is on the right track. After going 0-13 in 2014, the Hawks went 6-8 in 2015, and finished the regular season at 7-6 in 2016. Additionally, Monmouth qualified for the MAAC tournament for the second year in a row. That's a great 3 year stretch for a lot of teams and an excellent run for a program as young as Monmouth.
Blessed by being in a talent rich state, the Hawks leveraged their NJ's bountiful number of recruits into a formidable squad in short order. I don't think Monmouth is far off from being a yearly contender in the MAAC, if they aren't one already, and if they continue to develop as they have the last 3 years, a Big BBQ appearance is probably in their near future as well.
2016 Record: 7-7 overall, and 3-3 in the MAAC. Monmouth had a great season for a young program. The Hawks finished their regular season 7-6, made the MAAC tournament again for the second time in a row, and had 3 losses by combined 3 goals. Monmouth was a competitive squad last year and were 2 one goal losses to Marist from being the clear number 2 team in the MAAC.
Monmouth's offense blew up in 2016, scoring 3 goals/game more than they did in 2015. The Hawks were also more accurate in their shooting, had 30 more assists, cut their turnovers by 25%, and cleared the ball much better in 2016 as well. This is a team on the right track and they should be even better next year with another offseason to gel and crop of recruited BALLERS.
Roster: Monmouth only lost 1 senior to graduation in May, John Castellano. Castellano was actually a significant contributor last year, as he played in all 14 games in 2016 and was a starter in 4 of them. Castellano's seven goals and six assists placed him 7th on the team in points last season.
While Monmouth will need to replace Castellano, they return nearly the entire squad next season. One of the biggest returnees is rising senior, and Philly Boy, Chris Daly. After a slight dip in 2015 (12 Gs & 8 As) from his 2014 All-MAAC Rookie Team year (17 Gs & 9 As), Daly went off in 2016, as he led the team in goals (26), points (33), and was second on the team in assists. Additionally, rising senior Andrew Grajewski made All-MAAC 1st Team Defense last year and his fellow defensemen Cooper Glass made All-MAAC 2nd Team Defense; both Andrew and Cooper will be important returnees on defense.
Moreover, Monmouth had a great freshman class last year and will need their rising sophomores to develop even more next season. 3 Hawks rookies (Eamon Campbell, Griff Figel and Gordon Phillips) made the All-MAAC Rookie Team last season and Monmouth will need more from them if the Hawks want to get to the MAAC tournament title game and beyond in 2017.
Conference: The MAAC was good last year with Marist and Quinnipiac, but Monmouth was not far behind both of them. As mentioned earlier, Monmouth lost to Marist twice by 2 points combined and the Hawks were the only MAAC team besides Marist to hold Quinnipiac to 8 goals in a game (Quinnipiac beat Monmouth 8-5 in 2016. The Bobcats scored 10 goals against Manhattan and 14+ against every other MAAC team). Marist and Quinnipiac will probably be favored next year, but I think Monmouth is a real sleeper to win the MAAC crown in 2017.
What are they doing this summer: I love these Senior Spotlight Q&As the team has been posting up this summer. Their most recent one was with rising senior Steve Murawski. The Hawks are also holding Prospect Day events in late July for grades 9-12.
Obviously, since its summer, Monmouth's been spending some quality time on the Jersey Shore as well!
2017 outlook: I see another .500+ regular season for the Hawks and I think they will at least make it to the MAAC tournament finals in 2017, if not further. The Hawks tied Quinnipiac for the most All-MAAC Rookie Team selections, so they have a lot of good young guys who should be even better next year after a proper offseason, and another fall ball & preseason.
I like how Monmouth's been getting better every year and I don't see why the trend will stop next season. Monmouth seems like a team on the rise and I am excited to see what 2017 has in store for the Hawks.
Non-Sequitor: Former Dallas Cowboys receiver and Philadelphia Eagles great, Miles Austin, is an alum.