December 17, 2009

All-DaSilva Team: NCAA Division I Men

by Matt DaSilva | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

All-Coyne Teams: MCLA I | MCLA II | WD3 | MD3
All-DaSilva Teams: WD2 | MD2 | WD1 | MD1

It’s that time of year. Preseason’s greetings!

Lacrosse Magazine
will release its preseason rankings in the January issue, but one of the things we don’t do is preseason All-Americans – we limit ourselves to Preseason Players of the Year, which, to be honest, is tough enough to deliberate and find a consensus.

(Look no further than LMO’s fan poll that ended Monday, the results of which will also be published in January.)

As an experiment, Jac Coyne and Matt DaSilva have developed their own preseason All-American teams – with a twist. We’re not looking for the best player at every position. Rather, we’re trying to construct the best team, blending styles and strengths. We want to devise a team that cannot be defeated in a 15-minute game with any combination of the remaining players in their division.

We’ll call them the All-Coyne and All-DaSilva teams, so as not to be confused with those other preseason All-Americans.

Think we’ve erred? Think you can do better? You can try to whip up a different combination of players at their designated positions (and post them in the comments section below) without using ours, but we promise, you won’t win.


NCAA DIVISION I MEN'S ALL-DASILVA TEAM

A- Ned Crotty (Duke)
A- Stephen Keogh (Syracuse)
A- Kyle Wharton (Johns Hopkins)
M- Shamel Bratton (Virginia)
M- Kyle Wimer (UMBC)
M- Roy Lang (Cornell)
FO- Andrew Hennessy (Bryant)
LSM- Barney Ehrmann (Georgetown)
D- Parker McKee (Duke)
D- John Lade (Syracuse)
D- Diogo Godoi (UMass)
G- Scott Rodgers (Notre Dame)

Why you can’t beat me:

The All-DaSilva Team left some great players on the board, no doubt, but I’m gushing about this mix of D-I studs. No matter the game situation, ADT is in good hands.

Let’s start with a 6-on-6 offensive possession. As Duke does, I’m looking to Ned Crotty to initiate from behind the cage and be the quarterback. No one does it better. Crotty led the nation with 55 assists in 2009 and, as the only current collegian on the 2010 U.S. men’s team, has been studying pros Ryan Boyle and Ryan Powell in how they control an offense. Scary.

I’ve provided Crotty the perfect line mates in Stephen Keogh and Kyle Wharton. I chose Keogh over Syracuse teammate and fellow Ontario box lacrosse product Cody Jamieson as my finisher on the crease. Why? Crotty is a natural lefty. A feed to Keogh, a righty, as opposed to Jamieson, another lefty, is the difference between a near-pipe or cross-crease feed, respectively – less traffic and reaction time for the defense. From where will your boys slide? If you slide from the crease, Crotty and Keogh will just play pinball. If you slide adjacent and leave Wharton open, well, you just gave one of the biggest left-handed shots in the game time and room to pick corners at 100-plus mph. If you don’t slide at all, Crotty is more than capable of taking it to the rack himself.

Quite the conundrum, isn’t it?

After getting burned each way by this attack, your defensive coordinator might think about dropping into a zone.

Heh-heh-heh. I’m wringing my hands with a sinister grin, and dialing Shamel Bratton’s number.

Crotty floods the zone with a skip pass over the top to Bratton, who catches the ball in stride, dodges the left alley and whizzes a left-handed laser through your immobile defense and whip-lashed goalie.

All of my midfielders – Bratton, Kyle Wimer and Roy Lang – can initiate their own shots from up top. Wimer does more than just score, though. He’s UMBC’s go-to guy for dirty work, a great ground ball guy who can hold his own defensively and face off on occasion. With just three short-stick middies allowed on the All-DaSilva Team, I need that kind of utility. Lang might have caught you by surprise here, but I believe this native Californian will catch a lot of people by surprise in 2010. Cornell’s looking to replace its entire first midfield line, and Lang – a stellar short-stick d-middie in ’09 – will likely have his number called. He’s got good size (6-foot-3, 185 pounds) and excellent instincts on both sides of the ball. He made opponents pay with nine goals in transition. His offensive numbers should improve with an increased workload (he’s only a sophomore, two years removed from consecutive seasons of 70-plus goals in high school), but that’s gravy. As long as Lang and Wimer get back to the hole on defense, the All-DaSilva Team will be difficult to attack.

Which brings us to a 6-on-6 defensive possession. Let’s be honest: with my speed, you’re not going to get too many fast breaks. Besides, you’ll probably want to employ a ball-control offense to eat as much clock as you can on these precious few possessions. (Did I mention that Andrew Hennessy won 71 percent of his faceoffs for Bryant in 2009? If the Bulldogs weren’t in the middle of Division I reclassification, you’d know a lot more about Hennessy by now. He went 22-of-30 against preseason All-American John Schiavone of Loyola, for example. Love me some possessions.)

I knew you’d want to suck the life out of the ball. It’s okay. I don’t need a shot clock – the All-DaSilva Team boasts a flock of fleet-footed long poles in Barney Ehrmann, John Lade, Diogo Godoi and Parker McKee.

At 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds, Ehrmann could have easily followed his father’s footsteps into big-time football. Instead, he chose to continue Georgetown’s legacy of great long-stick midfielders (Kyle Sweeney, Brodie Merrill).

I’ve had a bit of a man crush on Lade ever since I first saw him play at U.S. U-19 team tryouts in 2007. He reminded me of Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed, the way he picked off passes and never gave up on plays, never content or still. That relentless style followed him from Team USA to Villanova to Syracuse – where he transferred and won an NCAA championship in 2009.

Speaking of Team USA, McKee came out of nowhere and nearly joined Crotty on the 2010 U.S. men’s team with an impressive tryout. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder ranked second in Division I among non-faceoff specialists with 93 ground balls in ’09.

The Brazilian-born, New Hampshire-raised Godoi is 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds of pure awesomeness. His match-ups speak for themselves. He held Loyola’s Shane Koppens without a point and Georgetown’s Craig Dowd to just one assist, among other impressive performances in ’09.

All four d-poles are capable of running up top or down low, giving me versatility and plenty of defensive pressure on your ball-control offense. If you do break the seal, Scott Rodgers led the nation in both goals against average and save percentage last year. But don’t get too close. At 6-foot-4 and 254 pounds, Rodgers is his own enforcer.

Simply unbeatable.


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