January 18, 2013

#LMranks: No. 11 Colgate Raiders (Men)

by Matt Forman | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter | Team Page/Schedule


Colgate head coach Mike Murphy said the Raiders want Tewaaraton Award winner Peter Baum to "have a Magic Johnson-kind of role," this season.
© Greg Wall

Lacrosse Magazine is counting down its preseason rankings throughout the month of January exclusively on LaxMagazine.com.

Today continues a look at our NCAA Division I Top 20 rankings. For more, visit LaxMagazine.com/LMranks. Follow @LacrosseMag on Twitter and Tweet using the hashtag #LMranks. The countdown will resume Monday with profiles of the 10th-ranked teams in NCAA Division I men and women.

Power Ratings

Offense: 5*
Defense: 3
Goalkeeping: 2
Faceoff: 3
* Out of 5

Top Returner

A Peter Baum (Sr.)
The reigning Tewaaraton Award winner, Baum reminds Colgate coach Mike Murphy of former Army star John Walker and Duke standout Ned Crotty for his athleticism and ability to dodge from anywhere on the field. "He's very much got Michael Jordan in him. He can score as many points as we need. But we want him to have a Magic Johnson-kind of role, making everyone around him better," Murphy said.

X-Factor

D Bobby Lawrence (Jr.)
A 5-foot-11, 18-pound junior, Lawrence shut down some of the nation's elite attackmen in 2012, holding Maryland's Owen Blye and UMass' Will Manny to a combined one goal. "A lot of people were scratching their head as to how he didn't get All-American," Baum said. "He really put the clamp down on guys."

What's New?

Potentially a freshman starter between the pipes. Jared Madison, who played all of 2012 with a broken back, is gone. Junior Conor Murphy started both NCAA tournament games and it's his job to lose, but athletic freshman Gordon Santry stood out during the fall as the "ultimate big-save guy," Murphy said.

What's Not?

A season-closing contest against Maryland, which Colgate has won each of the past two years. The Raiders fell to Patriot League rival Lehigh in the conference championship last year, but secured a spot in the NCAA tournament on the strength of their upset of the Terrapins.

2012 Recap

#LMranks MD1 Preseason Countdown

No. 20 Bryant
No. 19 Hofstra
No. 18 Fairfield
No. 17 Villanova
No. 16 Yale
Monday: No. 15 Princeton
Tuesday: No. 14 Penn State
Wednesday: No. 13 UMass
Thursday: No. 12 Syracuse

Friday: No. 11 Colgate

More: Countdown schedule | WD1 | MD2 | WD2 | MD3 | WD3 | JuCo | MCLA | WCLA

Record: 14-4 (5-1 Patriot)

In a Nutshell: Colgate struggled to generate offense in the third game of the season, a 9-6 loss to Dartmouth played in a blinding snowstorm in upstate New York. The result? Offensive coordinator Mike Abbott shuffled the deck, moving Peter Baum down to attack from midfield, inserting Matt Clarkson into Baum's old spot and tweaking the attack group to include Brendon McCann. From there, the Raiders won 10 of their next 11 games, securing the Patriot League regular season championship. A rematch with Lehigh in the conference championship was one of the season's most exciting games, but Colgate fell 16-14 to the upstart Mountain Hawks. They rebounded by bouncing undefeated UMass from the NCAA tournament, but didn't play well in a 17-6 second-round shellacking at the hands of Duke.

High Point: Peter Baum capped Colgate's furious second-half comeback by scoring with two seconds left in regulation, as the Raiders shocked then-No. 18 Bucknell, 11-10, to capture the Patriot League regular season title. Colgate trailed 6-2 at halftime, but seven different scorers contributed to the surge, before Baum sunk the golden goal.

Low Point: The 17-6 loss to Duke in the quarterfinals clearly wasn't the Raiders best effort. Just two weeks prior Colgate beat Maryland, which then turned around and beat Duke in the NCAA tournament semifinals. "That definitely hurts. It sticks with us," Baum said. "We've talked about it a lot as a team. We just didn't do the things that got us there. We ended up making a team that we didn't think was all that much better than us look like they were a whole lot better than us."

2013 Preview

Best Case: Peter Baum becomes the first men's player to win back-to-back Tewaaraton Awards, and he leads Colgate to its most successful season in school history. The Raiders earn the Patriot League's automatic qualifying bid, host a first-round NCAA tournament game and reach the semifinals before bowing out to the eventual national champion. Colgate earns respect for conference squads, which don't have a great track record one year after bursting onto the radar.

Worst Case: The Raiders don't play what Murphy calls "complimentary" lacrosse, and their defense struggles to contain opponents who control the tempo and keep the ball away from Peter Baum, Ryan Walsh and Co. The goalie situation is never solidified, and that hurts, especially against conference foes. Colgate falls to Lehigh in the Patriot League tournament, then can't pull off a third straight upset of Maryland, which leaves them on the outside looking in at the NCAA tournament field.

Inside Scoop

Coach Mike Murphy's comments on...

D Derek Katchis (Jr.)
"He played sparingly for us last year behind Kevin Gordon, and he has had a really good fall. Derek is maybe a little smaller in stature than Kevin was, but he has a great stick. He picks up the ball off the ground. I was fortunate — again, going back to my days [as an assistant] at West Point, and even last year — to coach Tim Henderson at Army, and when I got here I had Kevin Gordon. They were very offensive-minded long poles. I think Derek has that ability. He's not 6-foot-4 like Timmy was, and he can't run like the wind like Kevin Gordon, but if I look at those guys more like greyhounds, Derek is more of a pitbull. He's a kid who's going to get after you; he's going to get into your hands very quickly. He's around the ball a lot. I appreciate that about Derek.

M Matt Clarkson (So.)
"He had a good freshman campaign for us, but the best thing that happened to Matt Clarkson was he played terrible against Duke in a quarterfinal loss. I remember walking out of our last team meeting Monday when he got back from Philadelphia and the look on Matt's face, he felt like he let his teammates down. He spent the summer getting bigger, faster, stronger, shooting, and I know Mike [Abbott] has been very impressed with Matt's ability to get to either hand. He's a very good right-handed dodger and can get to the spots, but those Duke guys sent him down the lefty alley because they knew he couldn't shoot left-handed. We had a goalie individual last week before Thanksgiving, and Matt was in that group with Ryan and Peter, and that was the best shooter in the group. I was impressed with that."

A Brendon McCann (Jr.)
"He's the guy who shouldn't get put under the map too much, after Peter Baum and Ryan Walsh. Last year, when we moved Peter from midfield to attack, we also moved our fourth attackman Brendon McCann off the bench and into a starting role. I challenged Brendon last year in a big way — in a very big way. He responded, and my hope is that Brendon is able to do that again, because if you're going to put your No. 1 against Peter and your No. 2 against Ryan, I don't know that your No. 3 is as good as my No. 3, if Brendon McCann is my 3. Brendon is using that as motivation as well."

Rival Coaches Say

"Reigning Tewaaraton Award winner gives them a chance against anyone. However, I think it will be hard for them to duplicate the season they had a year ago... Return a lot but are they ready to play with the top?... When you return close to 200 points at attack, you should be ranked high. Huge questions in the goal as well as can the defense improve on last year?... Peter Baum was unquestionably the best player in college lacrosse last year, and deservingly won the Tewaaraton Award. He is back."


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