Early MD2 Top 5 For 2015: Limestone's Reign
|After they met in this year's NCAA finals, we see Limestone and LIU Post returning to prominence once again next spring. (John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com)|
Led Mike Messenger, the Saints midfield will be loaded next year, and there are very few holes to fill for a team that was surprisingly young this spring.
2. LIU Post
A goalie and a faceoff man stand between the Pioneers and overwhelming status as the favorites in the North. The offense returns five of the top six scores, paced by Matty Beccaris.
Rory Whipple will finally have four full classes next year, and if the first three are any judge, the Spartans will get even better. The coach's son, Conor, anchors a potent frontline.
There are several sizeable losses – most notably FOGO extraordinaire, Greg Puskuldjian – but fortunately stud attackman Sal Tuttle is just a junior.
5. Le Moyne
With player of the year candidate Kevin Kelly sparking the offense, the Dolphins will be a handful in the Northeast-10 again, but rebuilding the defense will be project.
Odds and Ends
There will be several teams in the next five that will have serious aspirations of making the tournament in 2015, but still have some questions. From a roster perspective, the most ready would be NYIT. Snubbed this spring in favor of a surging LIU Post squad when tourney berths were announced, the Bears should be just as powerful next spring, led by attackmen Luke Miller, Shawn Murphy and Tom Hughes. Throw in the massive chip on their shoulder, and Bill Dunn's squad is going to be a handful.
Merrimack and Dowling are two other teams to keep an eye out for in the North, along with some other up-and-comers like Bentley, Chestnut Hill and Molloy.
In the South, Mercyhurst will be in the hunt just via the tradition Chris Ryan has built in Erie, but there are a lot of holes to fill, starting with three-time D-II player of the year Andrew Wagner. Fellow ECAC members Seton Hill, Lake Erie and Wheeling Jesuit could make a run in the polls before '15 is over.
Queens, which made a magical run to the tournament this spring, has plenty returning to make a repeat visit, led by attackman Garrett Chan, middie Evan Farkas and goalie Eric Dolan. Mars Hill, Mount Olive, Lenoir-Rhyne and Florida Southern could also have the juice to be in the poll mix before end of 2015.
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