Tuesday, September 27, 2016

2017 Draft-Eligible Goalies

Ohio State goalie Tom Carey
In the 2016 MLL draft, there was only one goalie taken in the first three rounds of the draft, Maryland keeper Kyle Bernlohr.

In a league where there are only 9 teams, and only one goalie can play at a time, there is plenty of goalie talent out there for teams to choose from so they are not quick to gobble up talent early in the draft. John Galloway, arguably the best goalie in the MLL last season, was just a 4th round pick. Scotty Rodgers, a notable #7 overall pick from 2010, only played in 12 games from 2010-2015 before reclaiming rockstar status last season. The bottomline is that goalies aren’t a hot commodity in today’s high-scoring game. Maybe (hopefully) that changes as the league pushes for expansion.

With all that being said, here are my top 5 goalies eligible for the 2017 MLL draft.

#1. Shane Doss, Notre Dame
While Notre Dame had a disappointing end (2-3 in their final 5 games, including a playoff loss to UNC, after starting out 9-1) to their season, Shane Doss was a bright spot and tops off this goalie class. He had a 56% save percentage last season and has starting experience dating back to his freshman year. His goals against average (GAA) was below 8 last season and is under 9 for his career. It helps to play behind a dominant defense but that can only get you so far. During a 6 game stretch against the best teams in the country last season (Maryland, Denver, UVA, Ohio St., Cuse & Duke) Doss posted a 58% save percentage and 5-1 record.

#2. Tom Carey, Ohio State
Carey originally started his career at Bryant but transferred after it was evident that Gunner Waldt (2016 4th round pick) wasn’t going to give up the starting job. He’s posted back-to-back seasons with a save percentage above 51% and goals against average below 9.1. He’s helped put Ohio State back on the map and I think he can be very successful at the next level.

#3. Jimmy Joe Granito, Drexel
Not #3 just because of the name. Jimmy Joe has the numbers to back him up. The Loyola transfer posted a 55% save percentage last season and 53% two years ago.

#4. Tyler Behring, Fairfield
While Fairfield had an up and down 2016 campaign, Behring was one Stag who you could depend on week in and week out. His 57% save percentage was just 2nd among all D1 juniors last year. Two years ago he split time with Brad Nordstrom and made the most of his time between the pipes winning 6 of 8 starts and finishing with a 62% save percentage and 6.32 goals against average.

#5. Jackson Brown, Hobart
I’ll go with Jackson Brown from Hobart for my #5 spot. Hobart quietly had a nice 2016 season going 10-7 and beating St. Joseph’s in the conference championship to secure a bid to the NCAA playoffs. Brown played a big role in that playing in 99% of the team’s minutes last season and marking a 52% save percentage. His body type reminds me of a Blaze Riorden or Gunner Waldt in the fact that he takes up space in-between the pipes. He’s listed at 5’10, 212 but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s closer to weighing north of 220.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Early Look at the 2017 Draft-Eligible Midfielders

We are just over halfway through the 2016 campaign so I thought it would be appropriate to check in on some of the 2017 MLL draft prospects. Specifically, I want to look at this years draft-eligible midfield group.

Last season, I don’t think it was much of a question that Duke midfielder, Myles Jones, was the best midfielder and would be drafted #1 overall. Is Sergio Perkovic that guy this year? It is still early, and some things can change, but today I will take a look at my top 5 midfielders eligible for the 2017 MLL draft.

#1. Sergio Perkovic, Notre Dame
Although his scoring is slightly down so far this season, he is still the best midfielder in the country at the moment. At 6’4, 220 pounds, he possess elite size and is a force to be reckoned with. With the game on the line, you want the ball in his hands, and he doesn’t shy away. Take a look at his game-winner earlier this year in OT against Virginia.

#2. Jake Froccaro, Villanova
Froccaro is a player who can flat out score. He started his career at Princeton, had a 10 goal game his sophomore year vs. Yale, and then would miss last season due to injury. This year, he began fresh transferring to Villanova where, through 9 games, has 31 goals and 7 assists. That’s good for second in D1 in goals per game behind Brown’s Kylor Bellistri.

#3. Tyler Pace, Denver
Tyler Pace is a 6’0, 180 pound Canadian who has had quite the career with the Pioneers. 37 points as a freshman, 49 points (and a National Championship) as a sophomore last season, and is currently averaging a career-high 3.0 points per game, through 9 games. He’s well-coached, savvy, and could easily sneak into the 1st round.

#4. Zach Miller, Denver
Zach Miller spent his first two seasons at Denver playing attack. He’s made the transition to midfield this season and, while his numbers are slightly down, he’s a staple of that Pioneers offense. He’s a career 42% shooter, to date, and is also a member of the Iroquois national team.
Denver's Zach Miller is a crafty southpaw from The Hill Academy
#5. Zed Williams, Virginia
There are a few other names that you could throw in at #5 and make an argument for as a top 5 junior midfielder. I like Zed Williams. He was a highly touted recruit (ranked #4 by Inside Lacrosse) and broke the high school national records for total goals and total assists at Silver Creek in New York. He started to come into his own last year scoring 37 points and is being relied upon more this season. He’s still a bit raw but has the tools and the size to be successful at the next level.

Monday, December 21, 2015

UConn Football is Back

The Connecticut Huskies are going bowling for the first time since 2010 - when they faced off against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. This time around they’ll see a 9-3 Marshall team in a matchup in the St. Petersburg Bowl in Florida.
The Huskies were projected to finish in the basement of the AAC in multiple preseason polls and after a promising 2-0 start, they dropped to 3-5, and with ECU, Houston, and Temple still on the schedule, a bowl game didn’t look like it was in the picture. But if there’s one thing that stands out about UConn athletics, it’s that you can never count the Huskies out.
I have to give it to Bob Diaco. After finishing 2-10 in his first season with the team last year, and losing what looked to be the “QB of the future” in Casey Cochran (concussions), I thought that it could be another couple of years until UConn football would be competitive again.
From 2007-2010, UConn football went 33-19 finishing with at least 8 wins each season and reaching 4 straight bowl games. What stands out on those teams was UConn’s reliable defense. Those were teams led by dominant defensive players like Danny Lansanah, Scott Lutrus, Tyvon Branch, Darius Butler, Robert McClain, Lindsey Witten, Sio Moore, Dwayne Gratz, Blidi Wreh-Wilson, etc. Their defense always seemed to keep them in games, getting to the quarterback and making big plays, which was especially important considering they themselves never really had a great quarterback. During that same 4-year span, UConn quarterbacks threw just as many interceptions as touchdowns (45).
There are a lot of parallels that one can draw between this year's UConn team and those of the Randy Edsall era. And the best part is, UConn is returning a lot of firepower next season. I’ll start out with the defense. On the front 7, they’ll return Cole Ormsby, Folorunso Fatukasi, Junior Joseph, Cameron Stapleton, and Luke Carrezola. Carrezola and Fatukasi (both sophomore’s) lead the team with 12.5 combined sacks. This is an incredibly athletic group with a bunch of guys who can move around and play in different formations. Linebacker, Graham Stewart, will be a huge loss for this defense. The transfer from Florida is a ballhawk with a high motor who will most likely get a shot to play on Sunday’s. However, EJ Levenberry, is a transfer from Florida State who sat out this season but will be eligible to play next year and will be looked big upon to fill the shoes of Stewart.
Lindsey Witten (#9) led the Huskies with 11.5 sacks in 2009
In the secondary, the Huskies will lose safety Andrew Adams, who has 9 career interceptions. That loss will hurt just as much as Stewart, but cornerback, Jamar Summers, who’s currently tied for 5th in the nation with 5 interceptions, will be looked upon to become the staple of this secondary.

Bottom line: UConn’s defense is back
Offensively, sophomore quarterback, Bryant Shirreffs, was the big surprise. The NC State transfer fended off Timmy Boyle for the starting job. He tossed for 9 touchdowns but it was his ability to move around in the pocket (420 rush yards, 3 rush TD) that made him such a threat. Combine his running ability with the likes of Arkeel Newsome (1,500+ total yards, 8 total TD) and Ron Johnson (220 rush yards, 4 rush TD) and the Huskies had a formidable rushing attack. The real question coming into the year: who would the quarterback be throwing to? They graduated their top 2 receivers (Geremy Davis & Deshon Foxx) and prior to the season it was announced that starting TE, Sean McQuillan, had been arrested and removed from the football team. Enter Noel Thomas. The 6’1 junior emerged as The Shirreffs top target and reminds me of a young Marcus Easley...Sophomore’s Tommy Myers and Alec Bloom filled in for McQuillan and their NFL size (6’5, 250 & 6’6, 260, respectively) provided additional beef in the blocking game. Shirreffs, Newsome, Johnson, Thomas, Myers, and Bloom are all set to return next season.
Bottom line: UConn has an offense

UConn will return their trio of backs in 2016
The future looks bright and the Bob Diaco era is off to a promising start. Win or lose to Marshall in the St. Petersburg Bowl, there is no reason that UConn football can’t compete for an AAC championship in the near future.