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2019 Men’s College Lacrosse Year In Review: #60 VMI Keydets

VMI’s four wins was their most since the 2012 season.

Jack Tarr Photography

With the 2019 college lacrosse season complete, it’s time to look back at how all 73 teams did during the season, along with an early look at each squad for 2020.

Note: These are not end of season rankings.

Here’s our last five Year In Review posts we’ve done:

To see all of our posts, check out the 2019 Year In Review section on the site.

Let’s continue our 2019 Year In Review!

#60 VMI Keydets

Conference: SoCon
2019 Record: 4-9 (0-7 in SoCon)
Head coach: Jon Birsner (4th Season)

Statistical Leaders

Goals: Johnny Daniel (25)
Assists: Ryan Perouty (18)
Points: Ryan Perouty (42)
Faceoffs: AJ Krstulovic (83-of-191; 43.5%)
Ground balls: Kyle Walsh (62)
Caused turnovers: Kyle Walsh (42)
Goals against average: Benjamin Stump (14.66 GAA)
Save percentage: Benjamin Stump (48.6%)

Personnel Losses

Key seniors departing: D Kyle Walsh (42 CTs, 62 GBs, 3 Gs, 3 As), M John O’Donnell (11 Gs, 11 As, 16 GBs, 4 CTs), LSM Brandon Crespo (11 CTs, 11 GBs), M Timothy Barile (4 Gs, 4 As, 2 GBs, 1 CT)
Senior scoring departing: 37 of 194 points (19.1%)
Senior starts lost: 36 of 130 (27.7%)

Season Summary

A 4-9 win season could be looked at a disappointment for most teams. But for VMI, it’s a step in the right direction. A lot of things went right early on for the Keydets.

They began winning their first two games of the season over Manhattan and NJIT. It was the first time the team won their season opener and first two games of the year since 2000, when the Keydets went 7-6 (their last season they went over .500). Their opponents: Virginia Tech and Holy Cross.

A 3-1 start was their best since 1995 and the four wins on the year was the most since 2012. Head coach Jon Birsner was also able to win more than two games for the first time in his tenure. Previously, he won just two games in his first three seasons, all against Hampton and NJIT. Wins over Manhattan and Wagner made that happen.

But VMI was still unable to win a SoCon conference game. Their last conference win came in 2014, when they were in the Atlantic Sun for a year after moving from the MAAC. They lost nearly all their conference games by at least seven goals, except for Bellarmine which looked like it would be another blowout loss by halftime. Despite being down 9-2, the Keydets managed to come within one with 5:01 left in the game, but the Knights’ defense stood tall for a 13-12 win.

John Daniel and Ryan Perouty proved to be VMI’s top two offensive weapons, registering 30 and 42 points respectively. Midfielder John O’Donnell scored 22 on the year. Josh Bass, Jon Fant, and Michael Santos also registered in double-digits in points.

But the real x-factor was senior defenseman Kyle Walsh. He was a First Team All-SoCon selection for the second straight season and finished second in the nation in caused turnovers per game (3.42). Walsh led the Keydets with 42 caused turnovers and 62 ground balls and was recently picked up by the Atlanta Blaze of Major League Lacrosse.

Looking Ahead

The loss of Walsh will be very tough to fill, along with Brandon Crespo. Rising senior John Schmank and rising junior Eric Lane each had 20 caused turnovers on the season and will be looked upon to be big players on the defensive side of the ball. Rising sophomore Trejan Cannon had a good first year as a short stick defensive midfielder, recording 10 caused turnovers and 38 ground balls. Rising senior goal Benjamin Stump also returns for one more season in goal.

Daniel, Perouty, Bass, Fant, Santos, and Aidan Riley all return for VMI on offense, representing six of their top seven scorers from last year. Birsner and company would love to see the offense score more next season in order to help them compete better in conference games. 2019 looked like a positive step in the right direction. Can the Keydets use that momentum as they enter the next decade?

Poll

How many wins will VMI get in 2020?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    0-1
    (3 votes)
  • 30%
    2-3
    (21 votes)
  • 39%
    4-5
    (27 votes)
  • 26%
    6+
    (18 votes)
69 votes total Vote Now