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The Good, The Bad, & The Future: Patriot League

We continue our conference recaps with the Patriot League.

NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship - Semifinal Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

With the offseason 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. Previously, we recapped the Ivy League teams. We’ll now take a look at the teams from the Patriot League!

So let’s get started!

Lafayette Leopards (2-12)

The Good: The Leopards earned a very good win against Navy back in mid-March.

The Bad: Another year of declining win totals. From four wins in 2015, to three last season, to only two this year. Conor Walters earned a team-high 25 points, which is very low for any team. Their other two 20-point scorers are graduating, and five of their seven players that got double-digit point marks are also graduating.

The Future: Offense will need help right away, but their defense will be somewhat stable. Starters Jack Lydon and Shayne Sharp are back, along with goaltender Jonathan Anastos. But the team should focus on offense, they scored over 10 goals in two games and won one of them (NJIT).

Colgate Raiders (5-9)

The Good: It still wasn’t anywhere near the Patriot League title winning season in 2015, but the Raiders made a slight improvement from last season, going 5-9 overall, including wins over Bucknell and Hobart. Griffin Brown was the Patriot League’s Freshman of the Year with a team-high 23 goals and was named to our All-Freshman Second Team.

The Bad: Colgate came close in a few games, losing to Binghamton (three goals), Army (two goals), Holy Cross (one goal), and Syracuse (two goals but kind of really one goal) during the season. Many of the players that helped lead the Raiders to their conference title depart, including goaltender Brandon Burke, midfielder Peter Donato, and defensemen Jackson Patterson and Strecker Backe.

The Future: Many of the Raiders’ offense returns, including Brown, Sam Cleveland, Anthony Abbadessa, Nicky Petkevich, and Chase Wittich, which was Colgate’s top five scorers. They should be back in Patriot League Tournament contention next season.

Bucknell Bison (5-8)

The Good: Bucknell was expected to make some noise in the Patriot League, and they somewhat did. They earned two strong wins in conference play, knocking off Boston University from the undefeated ranks, and took down Loyola in overtime. Will Sands had another big year with a team-high 42 assists and 62 points, while Connor O’Hara led the team with 32 goals. Christian Klipstein was a Second Team All-Patriot League choice along with defenseman Matt Gilray.

The Bad: A popular darkhorse pick to win the Patriot League (mine as well), the Bison went on a four-game losing streak after winning their first two games by one goal each. They also suffered a loss to Mount St. Mary’s in early April. Tommy O’Connor, Quinn Collison, and Mike Schiappa are notable starters that depart Lewisburg.

The Future: The Bison do bring back Sands and midfielder Sean O’Brien, both of whom will be seniors, along with Gilray. The window is certainly closing for Bucknell to make some kind of move in the Patriot League and win a title. They almost knocked off Loyola in the semifinals back in 2016.

Lehigh Mountain Hawks (7-7)

The Good: The Mountain Hawks got to .500 for the first time since 2014’s 13-5 record. And the sophomore class, led by Andrew Pettit, Tristan Rai, Eddie Bouhall, and Craig Chick, continued to impress. Chick had a team-high 40 caused turnovers, which was tied for third overall in the entire nation. The Mountain Hawks also made it to the Patriot League Tournament.

The Bad: Saying that a 7-7 record is a team’s best mark since 2014 shows how big Lehigh has taken a dip, especially with the emergence of Loyola in the Patriot League. They did lose to Holy Cross and were on the opposite side of Navy’s Dave Little’s nine-goal outburst back in late-March in Annapolis. Notable losses include attackman Matt Raposo, midfielders Ian Strain and Cody Triolo, and goaltender Donny Stires.

The Future: The sophomores are now juniors and will have to take up more of a leadership role. And there’s also the rising sophomores, such as FOGO Conor Gaffney and defenseman Erik DiGirolamo, that will play a big role on the team. It’s been a little overdue for the Mountain Hawks to have an over .500 season.

Holy Cross Crusaders (5-10)

The Good: The Crusaders finished Patriot League regular season play at 4-4, before they upset Navy in the Patriot League Quarterfinals. It was a program-best in conference wins, and won their first ever PL Tournament game in their second ever appearance, with the first coming in 2016. Thanks to a senior attack of Kevin Lux, Sean Kirkpatrick, and Jon Vogel, the Crusaders had an unbelievable year.

The Bad: That is unless you consider how they did in non-conference play. They went 0-5 in non-Patriot League games, which included three-goal losses to Harvard, Brown, and Marist. Besides their starting attack, they also lose Marc Buermann and Jack Ortlieb, which means that their top-five scorers are all gone. Starting defenseman Jack McGovern also leaves.

The Future: An impactful senior class leaves, but there are still some important players around. Logan LeBlond will be a senior after putting up 11 points at attack, and Sean Mullaney scored 10 points. Matt Farrell started all 15 games as a sophomore on defense, and freshman goaltender Jonathan Tesoro started all 15 games. He’ll look to improve on his 10.77 goals against average and 45.1% save percentage numbers.

Navy Midshipmen (6-8)

The Good: Navy won four of their final six games in the regular season, and also upset archrival Army West Point in April. Sophomore Greyson Torain earned All-American honors with 23 goals and 38 points, both are tied for team-highs. Matt Rees and Chris Fennell also earned All-American nods.

The Bad: The Midshipmen had some big excitement, but it began to simmer down after the season-ending injury to midfielder Casey Rees. That injury appeared to be start a slippery slope for the team, and started the season at 2-6. Fennell and Rees graduate, as well as midfielders Colin Flounlacker and John Trainor, and FOGO Brady Dove.

The Future: Torain and Casey Rees will be back to man the offense, as well as goaltender Ryan Kern, who had a 9.19 goals against average and a 50.8% save percentage as a freshman. The entire starting attack and the majority of the midfield will also return, and Jack Ray hopes to rebound from scoring only five goals and two assists in seven games this past season. Michael Strack and Steve Hincks return on defense.

Boston University Terriers (12-5)

The Good: BU had their best season in their short history and made it to the Patriot League semifinals. Cal Dearth and goaltender Christian Carson-Banister were chosen as USILA All-Americans. Dearth had a team-high 38 goals and 19 assists for 57 points, while CCB recorded an 8.64 goals against average with a 58.6% save percentage. The Terriers also began the season 7-0.

The Bad: They haven’t been able to get by Army West Point yet. Even though they defeated Loyola for the first time in program history, they fell to the Black Knights by scores of 11-10 and 10-7 in the PL semifinal. They also almost had another April meltdown, but were able to clinch their conference tournament spot. Dearth, Carson Banister, Dominick Calisto, Cam Pincus, and Greg Wozniak all depart.

The Future: The bulk of the offense is back in Jack Wilson, Ryan Hilburn, and James Burr, as well as midfielders Hayden Ruiz and John MacLean. Quintin Germain is the only starting defenseman to return, while all signs point to Joe McSorley taking over as the team’s starting goaltender.

Army West Point Black Knights (12-4)

The Good: The Black Knights are always a tough team to play, but 2017 was an unbelievably good year in West Point. They didn’t make the NCAA Tournament, but they earned big wins against Syracuse in the Carrier Dome and at home against Notre Dame. They were the first team left out by the NCAA Tournament selection committee. Cole Johnson, Johnny Surdick, and David Symmes were all Honorable Mention All-Americans.

The Bad: Army can’t seem to beat Loyola, as they lost to the Greyhounds twice during the season, including a 13-4 loss in the Patriot League Championship. They also lost to Rutgers by two goals early in the season and were upset by Navy in their annual meeting. Johnson, Dan Grabner and Reaves Klipstein are amongst key players graduating.

The Future: Symmes and Surdick return, as well as Nate Jones, Conor Glancy, Ted Glesener, and Avery Littlejohn on offense. Dom Ricca joins Surdick as returning defensemen, as well as goaltender A.J. Barretto.

Loyola Greyhounds (10-6)

The Good: Pat Spencer did his stuff once again, putting up 28 goals and 55 assists to lead the Greyhounds. Alex McGovern was a nice surprise on offense to play alongside Spencer and put up 24 goals and 20 assists. Graham Savio won 57.8% of his face-offs.

The Bad: Their best win was Towson. They lost to Virginia, Hopkins, Duke, and Ohio State, as well as Bucknell and BU in overtime. They lost all three of their overtime games as well. They certainly weren’t the Greyhounds from 2016. Savio, Romar Dennis, Jack Carrigan, Brian Sherlock, and Zach Sirico all graduate.

The Future: There are some holes for the Greyhounds to fill, and with the rest of the Patriot League catching up to them, it won’t be easy for Loyola to maintain that top spot without fights from Army and another PL team or two. Jacob Stover was solid in net, and he will be counted on more in 2018.