The 2019 college lacrosse season is still two and a half months away. Schedules are still coming out, some teams haven’t released their rosters, and there’s still assistant coaching vacancies.
But it’s not early to start thinking about who might be some of the best players in the country at the end of the year. And with that, it’s time to discuss preseason all-americans.
With my Syracuse duties over with, I can now do some other fun things. This year, I’ll be a part of the Inside Lacrosse media vote for the weekly top 20 as well as media all-american selections. It’s a tremendous responsibility for anyone to have in the lacrosse world.
I’ve always been a fan of transparency and seeing what others had for their weekly top 20 and all-americans. The group tally always comes out, but I’m always intrigued by the thoughts and choices of others. And sometimes they lead into healthy discussions
And so, I’ll do the same with mine. And I also want to explain my picks instead of give them out and let it be for people on Twitter to dissect.
Here’s what I put down as my preseason all-americans.
Chris Jastrzembski’s 2019 IL Preseason Media All-American Ballot
|Position||First Team||Second Team||Third Team|
|Position||First Team||Second Team||Third Team|
|Attack||Michael Sowers (Princeton)||Michael Kraus (Virginia)||Jackson Morrill (Yale)|
|Attack||Pat Spencer (Loyola)||Chris Gray (Boston University)||Andrew Pettit (Lehigh)|
|Attack||Jeff Teat (Cornell)||Ethan Walker (Denver)||Tehoka Nanticoke (Albany)|
|Midfield||Dox Aitken (Virginia)||Jack Tigh (Yale)||Jake McCulloch (Cornell)|
|Midfield||Brad Smith (Duke)||Brent Noseworthy (Michigan)||Nick Spillane (Penn State)|
|Midfield||Max Tuttle (Sacred Heart)||Jeff Trainor (UMass)||Bryan Costabile (Notre Dame)|
|Defense||Chris Fake (Yale)||Cade Van Raaphorst (Duke)||Nick Mellen (Syracuse)|
|Defense||Craig Chick (Lehigh)||Dylan Gaines (Denver)||Johnny Surdick (Army West Point)|
|Defense||Isaac Paparo (UMass)||Patrick Foley (Johns Hopkins)||Chris Sabia (Penn State)|
|FOGO||TD Ierlan (Yale)||Gerard Arceri (Penn State)||Alex Woodall (Towson)|
|SDSM||Zach Goodrich (Towson)||Ryan Terefenko (Ohio State)||Daniel Jones (Johns Hopkins)|
|LSM||Matt Neufeldt (Denver)||Jared Conners (Virginia)||Brett Kennedy (Syracuse)|
|Goalie||Nick Washuta (Vermont)||Phil Goss (Brown)||Alex Heger (Robert Morris)|
I’ll go through positions and break down some of my thoughts and reasons.
There’s a top tier that consists of five attackmen. Michael Sowers, Pat Spencer, and Jeff Teat are the top three guys, with Michael Kraus and Ethan Walker rounding out the top five. After that, there’s a ton of attackmen at the next tier.
I really liked Chris Gray’s performance last season where he became “the guy” on offense for the Terriers. He led all freshmen with 40 assists and his 71 points were second behind Tehoka Nanticoke for a first-year guy.
Another primary scorer, Lehigh’s Andrew Pettit, was part of my third-team along with Jackson Morrill and the aforementioned Nanticoke. I do have some questions about Nanticoke and if he can replicate or even better his performance from last year. After having Connor Fields with him last year, how will Nanticoke improve his game now that he’s “the guy” for the Great Danes? He struggled at times without the senior in the lineup.
Brad Smith and Dox Aitken are arguably the top two best returning midfielders in college lacrosse. And a lot of people know their names. But some people haven’t heard of Max Tuttle, or they didn’t until last season. Maryland graduate Connor Kelly was tied for tops in the nation with 46 goals as a midfielder, even though many considered him an attackman (which might happen with Smith this year). The guy he was tied with: Tuttle, who scored the same amount of goals in three less games. I wouldn’t be surprised if Tuttle was a first round pick in the pro lacrosse drafts this year.
Jack Tigh might be the most underrated player from last year’s Yale team that had Ben Reeves, Morrill, and others. The rising senior recorded 49 points in his junior year while being a part of the first midfield unit.
Notre Dame isn’t the best team to watch for offense. But they do have some guys that have talent. Along with attackman Ryder Garnsey is midfielder Bryan Costabile. He’s the best middie on the Fighting Irish and a finisher with 30 goals. If you’re looking for a more balanced player in terms of production, Brendan Gleason is your man. Will the shot clock provide an increase in production from the entire Notre Dame offense?
In my “just for fun” ballot, I had Chris Fake as a second team choice. I loved his play, but I gave it to Cade Van Raaphorst since I knew what to expect of him with three years under his belt rather than just one. But when I got asked for my official vote if I was good with my choices, I flipped them again. Because now it was serious business. I wouldn’t be surprised if both of them were first teamers at the end of the year.
Usually, a defenseman is tasked to stop the offense from scoring goals. College lacrosse has a ton of those guys. But there’s a few of them that are also pretty good at producing some offense. They’re like pitchers driving in an RBI and helping their cause. Those guys like Craig Chick and Isaac Paparo have a soft spot in my heart. They were both former LSMs before getting converted into close defensemen, but they still have the long stick blood in them. Chris Sabia also has some offense to him as a three-year starter at Penn State. He scored five goals last year while causing 19 turnovers.
Starting with the FOGOs, which were probably the easiest category to figure out. TD Ierlan, Gerard Arceri, and Alex Woodall are the three best faceoff takers in the country.
It’s nearly the same for the short stick defensive midfielders. Zach Goodrich and Ryan Terefenko have showed to be the two best at that position. I chose Daniel Jones of Johns Hopkins after his breakout 2018 over Drew Schantz, although I’ve been a big fan of Schantz since he came to South Bend.
The long stick spot has been decimated from last year. Denver transfer Matt Neufeldt has another year left as a redshirt-senior. After that, Jared Conners showed some offensive flare to go along with his work on defense. I also think Syracuse’s Brett Kennedy can do some really good things on defense covering the opposing team’s top midfielder. Plus, he’s not afraid to shoot the ball. UNC’s Jack Rowlett isn’t in here since he started the last 12 games at close defense. I considered him a close defenseman.
Vermont’s Nick Washuta had the nation’s best save percentage at 60.9% and third in the country in goals against average in 2018. He was also a big reason why the Catamounts were a top 10 scoring defense.
I put Phil Goss over Alex Heger for my second team selection, despite the numbers saying something different. Outside of Goss, Brown didn’t have a defense last year. The now-junior was a big reason why the Bears stole games last season and even flirted with upsetting Cornell in the Ivy League semifinals. Heger is still a solid netminder with the numbers he has.
Injured Guys and Freshmen
I wouldn’t be surprised if the official list includes names such as Ryan Conrad or Grant Ament. Both are talented guys, along with Daniel Bucaro and Adam Charalambides, but I don’t know what to expect from them coming back from a major injury (or two).
The same goes for freshmen. Guys like Joey Epstein might start or play right away or they might not. With that, I’m taking a cautious approach and will wait for the results. Because as a Sixers fan, I’m used to waiting for results.
Speaking of freshmen, I’ve done an end of year All-Freshmen team for the past two years. I won’t due a preseason one because we don’t know who will be playing and who won’t. There might be a midseason edition this year, but we’ll see when we get to that point of the season.
Other Guys Worth Noting
There are plenty of other dudes worth mentioning that didn’t get my vote. I’ll list some of them by position.
- Attack: Jake Bernhardt (Maryland), Jake Carraway (Georgetown), Kyle Marr (Johns Hopkins), Kieran Mullins (Rutgers), Asher Nolting (High Point), Mac O’Keefe (Penn State), Jimmy Perkins (Utah) Clarke Petterson (Cornell), Joe Saggese (Sacred Heart), Cole Williams (Johns Hopkins)
- Midfield: Bubba Fairman (Maryland), Sean Eccles (Albany), Colton Jackson (Denver), Tre Leclaire (Ohio State), Matt Moore (Virginia), Jakob Patterson (Albany), Casey Rose (Rutgers), Jamie Trimboli (Syracuse), John Wagner (Marquette)
- Close Defense: George Baughan (Princeton), Arden Cohen (Notre Dame), Mark Evanchick (Penn), JT Giles-Harris (Duke), Warren Jeffery (Vermont), Dylan Johnson (Denver), Ryland Rees (Stony Brook), Dixon Smith (Jacksonville), Gibson Smith (Georgetown)
- FOGO: Conor Gaffney (Lehigh), Justin Inacio (Ohio State), Matthew Pedicine (Hobart), Justin Schwenk (Virginia), Justin Shockey (Maryland)
- SSDM: Peter Dearth (Syracuse), John Fox (Virginia), Roman Puglise (Maryland), Drew Schantz (Notre Dame)
- LSM: Reece Eddy (Boston University), Robert Kuhn (Johns Hopkins), Teddy Leggett (Lehigh), Ryan McNulty (Loyola), Noah Richard (Marquette), Koby Smith (Towson)
- Goaltender: Mike Adler (Saint Joseph’s), Hunter Braun (UMass Lowell), Shane Brennan (Towson), Tate Boyce (Providence), John Hulsman (Marquette), Colby Kneese (Penn State), Tommy Lingner (UMBC), Noah Lode (Monmouth), Logan Shamblin (Detroit Mercy), Jacob Stover (Loyola)