submitted by Jason Donville
Believe it or not its lacrosse season again! For fans of NCAA lacrosse and/or those who enjoy keeping up with the performance of Canadian’s playing south of the border, the season is off to a terrific start with three games already in the bag and some notable performances from guys with maple leaf tattoos on their calves. However, before we get into the specifics of this weekend’s games, let’s briefly look at this year’s contingent of Canadians (which includes two Iroquois players) and players of interest as we head into the season.
Canadian contingent up 40% in 2010!
For those who followed this blog last year, you will recall that there were 153 Canadian’s playing in the NCAA in 2009 at the Division I, II and III levels. This number included 75 Canadians playing on Division I teams. Looking into 2010, with rosters yet to be finalized it is difficult to say exactly how large the Canadian contingent will be but at Division I the numbers appear to be up sharply. According to the most recent look at team websites the number of Canadians playing Division I in 2010 will jump to 105 versus 75 in 2009. That’s a 40% jump in one year! The 2010 class includes 43 freshmen and suggests that it won’t be long before the number of Canadians playing in the NCAA Division I will soon top 150. We will report on the evolution of Division II and Division III in subsequent weeks.
Players to watch in 2010 – its starts with Cody Jamieson
Each season brings a new crop of players who emerge as the dominant players of their year and here I get to speculate about a few players who I expect will turn some heads in 2010. So let’s starts with Cody Jamieson (Six Nations). While “Cody” is not particularly well known in the NCAA given that he has only played 6 games in the NCAA Division I, in Canada he is already recognized as a prodigy. To put some meat behind this statement, one should note that Jamieson was a rookie in Canada’s senior league this past summer, a league that features most of the top Canadian box players from the NLL. As a rookie, Cody not only won the rookie of the year award but also won the scoring championship and the MVP award. The last Canadian rookie to do something like that was a kid named Gretzky (in hockey) who interestingly grew up about 20 miles from where Cody grew up – there must be something in the water in that part of Canada. The bottom-line is that if Cody is healthy, he is going to be phenomenal for Syracuse and lead an offensive unit that was already strong without him – all time single season scoring records should fall.
Other players of interest – McBride, Crowley, Campbell, Belton, Card, Keogh, and Neufeld
The recent Team Canada tryouts highlighted that a contingent of Canadian’s playing on Long Island “have game” and will make life miserable for anyone who takes the Stony Brook Seawolves lightly this year. This group is led by Jordan McBride (New Westminster) and also includes Kevin Crowley (New Westminster), Robbie Campbell (Delta) and Kyle Belton (Langley). And while on the topic of Long Island, let’s not forget about Hofstra’s Jay Card (Caledon) – this kid has “touch” around the net and the mindset of a fighter pilot which suggests that the 35 goals he scored last year will be exceeded in 2010. Another player worth watching is Syracuse’s Stephen Keogh (Toronto Beaches). Teammate Cody Jamieson will prove to be a huge distraction that will require him to be doubled and this should give Keogh a lot of room to maneuver – expect another big year from Keogh. Bryan Neufeld (Virgil) is another player who could have an intriguing story-line in 2010. Recall that Neufeld scored 38 goals for Siena as a rookie but will not sneak up on anyone this year. Other sophomores worth watching include Hartford’s Aidan Genik (Toronto Beaches) and Carter Bender (Caledon) , Denver’s Mark Matthews (Oshawa), and Kyle Bergman (Toronto) out of Drexel.
Rookie Watch – Palmer, Cockerton, Ward, Church, Brownell, Flint and Digby
The rookie watch is always intriguing because it is difficult at times to tell whose box game will translate well to the US field game and for those players joining stronger teams, whether or not they will crack the starting line-up. Thus, rookies playing fort start-up programs like Jacksonville and Detroit-Mercy are likely to see more playing time than a freshman trying to crack the roster of a Syracuse or John’s Hopkins. That said, here’s a few interesting names to watch out for. At the top of the list are Virginia freshman Matt Cockerton (Oshawa) and Johns Hopkins freshman Zach Palmer (Oshawa). Both of these players were top A list players in Canada and everyone back home will be watching to see how these two kids make out in their freshman year. At the other end of the field is an intriguing player out of Orangeville by the name of Dillon Ward. US schools don’t typically come to Canada looking for goalies but Ward should be seen a “poster child” for the evolution of the Canadian game. Ward is a product of the Orangeville minor lacrosse system and Brodie Merrill’s Hill Academy and some consider Ward to be the best field lacrosse goalie Canada has produced in a decade. Four other rookies that we expect will have immediate impact on their respective teams are Drexel’s Robert Church (Coquitlam), Robert Morris’ Kevin Brownell (Burlington), Denver’s Cam Flint (Georgetown) and Tyler Digby (New Westminster) who also plays for Robert Morris. All four of these players are high impact scorers in Canadian box leagues and should have no problem finding the net in the NCAA.
Three games this past weekend – Dickson and Matthews off to a great start!
While most NCAA Division I teams will not start play for another a week or two, three games were played this past weekend worth noting. This past Friday saw Delaware beat St Joe’s 15 to 5 with Curtis Dickson (Port Coquitlam) leading the way for the Blue Hens with five goals and an assist. Saturday saw Detroit Mercy open at home against Bellarmine with Joel Matthews (St Catherines) starting the season with 4 goals in a losing effort for Detroit. On the other side of center, Chase Williams (Vancouver) had two goals and an assist for Bellarmine and Derek Hopcroft (Toronto) added a pair. Finally, Jacksonville played their first game ever on Saturday losing to UNC. Ryan Serville (Toronto) led the Jacksonville scoring effort with two goals and an assist.
Games upcoming – Not much happening close to the border for a while
Most northern teams in the NCAA wisely schedule their games down south this time of year. For Canadians hungry to see an NCAA Division I game in person, key upcoming match ups include Villanova at Ohio State (this weekend), Cornell at Hobart (27 Feb) Dartmouth at Colgate (27 Feb) and Army at Syracuse (28 Feb). Simon Fraser’s next home game is not until March 20th but it should be a good one as the opponent is BYU.
Canadian Lacrosse and the Toronto Rock
While this blog focuses primarily on Canadian’s playing field lacrosse in the NCAA, I am going to take the liberty of speaking about the Toronto Rock (NLL) team. As many lacrosse fans may know, the Toronto Rock were sold this past summer to an investor (James Dawick) who has a passion and intelligence for the game of lacrosse that has been missing in Toronto since the passing of Les Bartley. Over the past six months, Dawick in concert with coaches Troy Cordingley and Terry Sanderson have gone about reconstructing the Toronto Rock with results that have been nothing short of spectacular. The Rock are now 4-1 and playing a style of lacrosse that is exciting to the casual fan and considered extremely astute to “serious” lacrosse types who think they know something about how the game is suppose to be played. Recent NCAA graduates Garrett Billings and Stephan LeBlanc are putting up huge offensive numbers while Rock stalwarts Colin Doyle, Bob Watson, Blaine Manning and Phil Sanderson are playing their best lacrosse in recent memory. Dawick and Company have clearly delivered and now it’s time for the lacrosse community in the greater Toronto area to get out and support this team. The Toronto Rock’s next home game is this Friday at 7:30PM against Brodie Merrill’s Edmonton Rush. Hope to see you there!
Its lacrosse season and I am therefore a happy camper. To the young men who are currently studying in the US and playing lacrosse in the NCAA, I offer you my best wishes both in the classroom and on the playing field. Let the games begin!
|Figure 1 – NCAA Div I – Canadian and Iroquois Players – 2010|
|1||Canisius||Adam Jones||Owen Sound||Junior||Midfield|
|9||Ohio State||Brandon McLean||Victoria||Sophomore||Midfield|
|13||Ohio State||Brock Sorenson||Peterborough||Sophomore||Defence|
|20||Jacksonville||Clark De Geer||Caledon||Sophomore||Midfield|
|21||Syracuse||Cody Jamieson||Six Nations||Senior||Attack|
|23||Robert Morris||Corbyn Tao-Brambleby||Coquitlam||Junior||Attack|
|24||Delaware||Curtis Dickson||Port Coquitlam||Senior||Attack|
|25||Canisius||Dan Coates||St Catherines||Senior||Midfield|
|27||Robert Morris||Dave Morton||Orangeville||Sophomore||Attack|
|32||Sacred Heart||Eric Crepinsek||Oakville||Freshman||Midfield|
|38||Fairfield||Graham Bergsma||St Catherines||Senior||Midfield|
|39||Stony Brook||Greg Miceli||King City||Sophomore||Defence|
|41||Hofstra||Jaime Lincoln||St. Catharines||Junior||Attack|
|42||Robert Morris||Jake Hayes||Calgary||Freshman||Attack|
|44||Bellarmine||Jarrett Davis||Port Moody||Senior||Midfield|
|49||Stony Brook||JJ Laforet||Georgetown||Freshman||Midfield|
|50||Detroit||Joel Matthews||St Catharines||Freshman||Midfield|
|52||Detroit||Jordan Houtby||St Catharines||Freshman||LSM|
|53||Stony Brook||Jordan McBride||New Westminster||Junior||Attack|
|54||Robert Morris||Jordan Sealock||Airdrie||Senior||Midfield|
|58||Robert Morris||Kevin Brownell||Burlington||Freshman||Midfield|