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College Crosse 2017 Scouting Report No. 15: Sacred Heart Pioneers.

STAND UP, CONNECTICUT!!!

Stand up, Fairfield!!!
Stand up, Fairfield!!!
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Our 15th 2017 Scouting Report is on 2016's 57th ranked RPI team, the Sacred Heart Pioneers!!

(Ed. Note: You can find all of Jayskrem's The Good, The Bad, & the Future posts & the rest of our 2017 Scouting Reports here.)

Sacred Heart University.

Profile: 2008 was the last time Sacred Heart was above .500, but after posting back-to-back 6 win seasons, there was a little hope that the Pios would be pretty competitive in 2016. Indeed, SHU was 6-7 in 2015 and almost earned a spot in the NEC tournament before ultimately losing a threeway tiebreaker for 4th place at the end of 2015 regular season. While a 2-14 2016 is disheartening, SHU has some offensive talent coming back next year that could provide a nice core for 2017.

2016 Record: 2-14 overall, and 0-6 in the NEC. 2016 was a tough year for the Pioneers in the NEC as they lost every conference game by an average of 5 goals. The Pioneers were pretty competitive in a couple out of conference games against Hartford and Air Force, losing to both by 1 and 3, respectively. But the 2016 Pioneers dipped in most offensive and defensive statistics from the squad in 2015, and weren't as consistent as they were two seasons ago either.

Roster: Sacred Heart lost 10 seniors to graduation in May. The biggest loss on the offensive end was former midfielder Alex Dodge. Dodge started all but 1 game last year and led the team in goals (24) & points (35). The Pios lost three big defensive starters last May as well, in Chase Godfrey, Owen Thompson, & Nick Fairley; the trio combined to start all but 4 games last season.

It's not all bad news for Sacred Heart though, as rising senior Brian Masi returns. Masi started only 1 game last year, but he was second on the team in points (34).  Also returning for Sacred Heart will be rising sophomore Max Tuttle. Max tied Masi for second on the team in goals (20 Gs) and was third in points (30) as well. Rising senior Bryce Jurk is also a big piece coming back next year. Jurk led the team in assists (15) and, aside from Masi & Tuttle, he is the only returning SHU player who had more than 14 points in 2016 (29 points).

Conference: The NEC was pretty good in 2016 and SHU getting into the NEC tournament in 2017 will be difficult. St. Joe's and Bryant have a good thing going and should be in the conversation for the AQ next year. Additionally, Hobart emerged as a force last season and snatched the conference AQ from everybody  Moreover, Mount St. Mary's & Robert Morris have improved in recent years and even Wagner is a threat now.  The NEC has a handful of teams that appear to be on the rise and Sacred Heart will need to improve their play significantly if they want to earn a NEC tournament bid next season.

What are they doing this summer: The squad took a break from recruiting to catch a ball game at Citi Field.

2017 outlook: I think it might be another difficult year for Sacred Heart in 2017. The team returns some offensive talent, but they will need to fill multiple losses on defense and must improve their play if they wish to go anywhere next season. Moreover,, the NEC seems to be getting better every year, which only makes the path in front of Sacred Heart more difficult.

Non-Sequitor: Comedian and former Saturday Night Live cast member Kevin Nealon is an alum.