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The Good, The Bad, & The Future: MAAC

We continue our conference recaps with the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference!

With the offseason now in full swing, it’s time to look back at the 2017 season! We’ll dissect all the individual teams from worst to first based off my final Power Rankings later during the summer.

But first, we’ll dissect each conference and return The Good, The Bad, & The Future series. We won’t talk a ton about each team until the individual dissections, but this should be a good quick glimpse at each team. Yesterday, we did the NEC teams. We’ll now take a look at the teams from the MAAC!

So let’s get started!

Manhattan Jaspers (3-11)

The Good: Year two of the Drew Kelleher era once again resulted in three wins, and a late-season appearance on ESPNU for some reason against Monmouth. I’m still not sure why, but take it and run with it! There are teams out there that would die for that opportunity! Parker Giarratana was the team’s top scorer with 39 points as well.

The Bad: I don’t think there was progress made with this team this season. Trading wins against Marist and UMass Lowell for Wagner and Hartford (in multiple overtimes) doesn’t seem like a step in the right direction. The 16-6 loss to Siena gave the Saints their first win of the season and kept their MAAC Tournament chances somehow alive.

The Future: Only three notable seniors are gone in midfielders Matt Garvey and Alex Abiog and defenseman Connor Flannery. The rest of the team should return for 2018, led by eight juniors. Many of their midfielders are freshmen and they have a year already under their belt. Can they get above three wins?

Quinnipiac Bobcats (2-9)

The Good: Junior Will Vitelli was named the MAAC’s Specialist of the Year with a 58.9% face-off percentage.

The Bad: There was a lot of bad. Safe put the Bobcats in his preseason Top 20 and even thought that they’d repeat as MAAC champs. They only resulted in two wins coming against NJIT and Manhattan. All but one of their losses (Brown) were between one and four goals. Six of them came by one or two goals.

The Future: Quinnipiac goes into 2018 without Drew D’Antonio at attack, Kevin Diehl at midfield, and most importantly Jack Brust in goal. Brian Feldman returns as the only consistent starter at attack, but the strength lies with Foster Cuomo and Anthony Carchietta at midfield and with Bryce Nalls and Mike Ruane on defense.

Siena Saints (3-11)

The Good: Chris Robertson and Mike Reilly led the Saints in offense this season, and freshman Gage Ponsetti took over the starting goaltender job midway through the season. Siena also had a three-game winning streak, their only three wins on the season, and were in contention for a spot in the MAAC Tournament.

The Bad: Pretty much the entire season before the three-game winning streak was bad. They lost to Hobart and St. John’s by a goal, and gave the Red Storm their lone win on the season. And their worst performance came at the end of the season against Marist. Needing just a win to make the MAAC Tournament, the Saints gave up a 5-1 lead in the fourth quarter, and gave up three goals in the final 50 seconds of the game. They melted.

The Future: The Saints lose their top midfielder and defenseman in Jon-Michael Tokar and Ryan Ghaderi respectively, as well as attackman Jordan Barlow. Plenty of Siena’s top returning players are juniors, but guys such as Ponsetti and sophomore Keenan Cook will be eager to make an immediate impact in Loudonville next season.

Detroit Mercy Titans (5-11)

The Good: Sophomore attackman Matthew Vangalen led all Titans with 26 goals and 21 assists. No other Detroit Mercy player had at least 20 goals or assists on the season. It’s also a three win increase from last year’s total.

The Bad: The Titans lost their final five games of the regular season, and one of them came against newcomer Cleveland State. They’re pretty much the middle team in the MAAC since their three conference wins came against Manhattan, Quinnipiac, and Siena. Goaltender Jason Weber has regressed each season in goal, ending this season with a 50.7% save percentage. And he’s graduating this year.

The Future: Outside of Weber, their biggest loss will be attackman Kyle Beauregard. But the big concern is in goal. Sophomore Mitchell Turnbull and freshman Logan Shamblin have not played a collegiate second in goal, as Weber played every second in the 2016 season. It might have helped if one or both of those goaltenders got some time. Or they go with incoming freshman Steven Warren.

Canisius Golden Griffins (6-9)

The Good: Canisius looked to be the second best team in the MAAC during the regular season, especially with a 17-6 beatdown of Marist. Junior Connor Kearnan had a career season with 35 goals and 24 assists for the Golden Griffins.

The Bad: They got given a bagel early in the season against Denver. A 12-0 defeat from the Pioneers in a game they were probably going to lose. But not scoring a goal at all is much worse. I believe it was also the only shutout in Division I lacrosse. Yikes. Their wins aren’t that impressive as well, with Marist being their top win.

The Future: Only two of their starting midfielders in Jeff Edwards and Lewis Vaccaro depart. It’s a noticeable hole for the team, but they’re holes that can certainly be filled. They’ll have one more year left to be Western New York’s team before St. Bonaventure makes their debut in 2019.

Marist Red Foxes (10-6)

The Good: The Red Foxes continue to be one of the rising mid-major programs in the nation. Even though they didn’t win the MAAC championship, they earned quality wins against Air Force and Binghamton, and also played Princeton well. J.D. Recor got drafted by the New York Lizards after scoring 18 goals and 31 assists, and fellow attackmen Gannon Morrison (junior) and Joe Tierney (freshman) racked up points for a quality unit. Goaltender Brian Corrigan was a stud in net, recording a 62.7% save percentage.

The Bad: They had a weird stretch of about 30 days where they lost four of five games, and a three-game losing streak against teams that each earned six wins on the year. In the MAAC title game, Marist had a short lead in the third quarter, before Monmouth tied and retook it later in the game. The Red Foxes had one final chance with seconds to go, but the Hawk defense provided a huge stop for the win.

The Future: Recor’s loss is a big hit on the program, but Keegan Wilkinson’s team should be able to recover without him with Morrison and Tierney leading the way. On defense, they lose starters Frankie Brier and Jimmy Murphy, along with two-way midfielder Ralph Faiella.

Monmouth Hawks (14-4)

The Good: In their fourth year of existence, the Hawks won their first ever MAAC title, thanks to solid goaltending from Nick Hreshko and the defense in front of him, led by Andrew Grajewski. It’s amazing how the program has turned from a winless first season to 14 wins and a conference title.

The Bad: It was a very successful season, but now comes life after the first class. It was a senior heavy team, and guys like Hreshko and Chris Daly will be gone. Looking at their starting lineup from their Play-In game against Bryant, Daly is the only starter at attack graduating, all three starting midfielders are gone, and two starting defensemen are also gone, along with their goalie.

The Future: With the inaugural class gone, look for Bryce Wasserman, Eamon Campbell, Garrett Pfeifer, and FOGO Justin Schwenk to try and continue Monmouth’s early successes. In goal, could sophomore Mike Yanovitch take the reigns? Or could incoming freshman Noah Lode get it right from the start?