submitted by Jason Donville
The season is slowly beginning to unfold
Slowly but surely the NCAA lacrosse season begins to unfold. This past week saw a relatively small number of games that were further reduced by several weather related postponements. To make up for the scarcity of activity over this past weekend, I have taken the liberty of previewing the Canadians playing in Division II and highlighted a handful of rookies that I think will have an impact this year.
Division II – Stephan LeBlanc serves notice that Division II lacrosse is for real!
Knowledgeable lacrosse people are well aware that the NCAA Division II and Division III are loaded with superb student-athletes. Skeptics need look no farther than last year’s top Canadian Division II player Stephan LeBlanc. LeBlanc is now playing in the NLL and is first overall in rookie scoring, ahead of fellow teammate and Virginia graduate Garrett Billings by a point. LeBlanc’s numbers (16 goals and 31 assists in 8 games) are impressive in their own right but when you look at who’s behind him in the NLL scoring race (Billings, both Gajic brothers, Zack Greer, Kevin Huntley, Corey Small, etc), you begin to realize just how strong some of the better players in Division II actually are. And, if you think LeBlanc’s numbers were a fluke may I be so bold as to suggest that the most impressive Canadian rookie heading to the NCAA in 2010 is not going to Syracuse, Hopkins, or Maryland but to Division II Limestone – more on this later.
In Division II this year, watch out for McClure, Farmer, O’Brien, Rubisch, Benesch, Artem, Burton and Comeau
Three of the most exciting Canadian players in Division II play at Dowling College on Long Island and that trio includes John McClure (Brampton), Kyle O’Brien (Whitby) and Kyle Rubisch (Brampton). McClure and O’Brien are the goal scorers and they combined for 118 points last year in 13 games and will look to take those numbers higher in 2010. On the other side of center stands Rubisch who has emerged as one of the top Canadian long poles south of the border and one of the best defenders north of the border as well (Rubisch was the OLA Most Outstanding Defender recipient this past year). Another big gun to keep a watch for in 2010 in Division II is Mars Hill’s Danny Farmer (Calgary). Playing at midfield last year, Farmer scored 53 goals in 15 games and also grabbed 42 ground balls along the way. This year Farmer moves to attack and is already off to a good start. At Mars Hill, Farmer will be supported by his brother Ty (Calgary), and Eric Benesch (Bloomingdale). Other players worth watching in 2010 include Braden Artem (Acton) who put up big numbers for Catawba last year, Mercyhurst’s Tyler Burton (London), and Notre Dame De Namur’s Drew Comeau.
The Rookie Watch in Division II centers around one name only – Limestone’s Riley Loewen
There will be 16 Canadian rookies in Division II in 2010 but one name stands out from the group and that is Riley Loewen who enters the NCAA Division II with better box lacrosse numbers than virtually all of the top Canadian attacks playing in Division I. Loewen is big, fast and scored 48 goals and 24 assists for Burnaby in Junior A last year. He should have an immediate impact and could very well set some rookie scoring records. Other Canadian rookies to watch include Queens University of Charlotte rookie Cory Kloepfer (Gilford) who scored 32 points for Barrie (Jr. A) last year, Limestone’s Todd Kozak (Mississauga), and Chestnut Hill’s Shane Morlock (Whitby). The last Canadian worth keeping a watchful eye out for is Mercyhurst goalie Cam Watts (Oakville) who is a product of the Hill Academy.
Division I Recap – Serville continues to rock and roll
This past weekend featured a relatively light schedule made even lighter due to the weather related postponements. On Saturday, Jacksonville came close to pulling off its first win as a Division I program, losing a heartbreaker to Bellarmine 14-13 in Jacksonville. Ryan Serville (Toronto) continues to hold a hot hand, scoring five goals and 2 assists in the loss while Cameron Mann (Hamilton) scored twice and added an assist. On the other side of center, Derek Hopcroft (Toronto) and Jarrett Davis (Port Moody) each scored two goals and an assist in Bellarmine’s come from behind win. In Columbus, the Ohio State Buckeyes which feature four Canadians on their roster opened the season with a solid 10-8 victory over Villanova. Freshman attack Logan Schuss (Delta) had an impressive debut with 2 goals and an assist, while Mike Pires (Saanichton) also added a goal. The much anticipated Delaware versus Presbyterian game was postponed due to weather. Among Canadian Top-Guns, Serville leads all Canadians in Division I goal scoring with 7 goals so far this year followed by Delaware’s Curtis Dickson (Port Coquitlam) with 5 goals and Detroit-Mercy’s Joel Matthews (St Catherines) with 4 goals.
Division II Recap – The Farmer brothers are off to a quick start
The past weekend in Division II was once again marred by weather but a few games were completed worth noting. Mars Hill had little problem with Birmingham-Southern, with a 15 to 4 victory. Ty Farmer (Calgary) led the way with 4 goals and 4 assists, while brother Danny scored 3 goals and 3 assists in the win. Helping the Farmer brothers was TJ Cowx (Delta) who contributed 5 points while Eric Benesch (Bloomingdale) added four. Out west. Drew Comeau (Red Deer) picked up 2 goals and an assist in a win over Grand Canyon, and two more assists in a loss to Colorado College.
Games upcoming – Syracuse versus Denver is the one to watch
Given the weather picture, there remain only a few games worth noting for those interested in crossing over the border to watch an NCAA game. The key upcoming game is this Friday when Syracuse hosts Denver and I expect to attend this game in person. After that, the next two games that are relatively close to the border feature Hobart hosting Cornell and Dartmouth at Colgate, both on the 27th of February.
In next week’s edition of Canadians in the NCAA, I will review the weekends games as usual as well as providing a review of Division III players of interest for the 2010 season.
Yours in Lacrosse – Jason Donville
|Figure 1 – NCAA Div II – Canadian and Iroquois Players – 2010|
|1||American International||Dan MacIssac||Port Perry||Junior||Midfield|
|4||Chestnut Hill||Mark Lively||Anmore||Freshman||Attack|
|5||Chestnut Hill||Shane Morlock||Whitby||Freshman||Attack|
|6||Dominican College||Alex Jones||St Albert||Junior||Midfield|
|7||Dominican College||Dave Marrese||St Albert||Junior||Defence|
|8||Dominican College||Jesse Peterson||Saskatoon||Junior||Midfield|
|9||Dominican College||Tyler Douglas||St Albert||Junior||Midfield|
|13||Lake Erie||Bal Keegan||Coquitlam||Freshman||Attack|
|17||Limestone||Tor Reinholdt||Port Moody||Freshman||Midfield|
|19||Limestone||Jackson Decker||Port Moody||Sophomore||Attack|
|21||Mars Hill||Brendan Fox||Pickering||Freshman||Midfield|
|22||Mars Hill||Zach Tomkinson||Barrie||Freshman||Midfield|
|23||Mars Hill||Eric Benesch||Bloomingdale||Junior||Attack|
|24||Mars Hill||Mark Burnett||Pickering||Junior||Defence|
|25||Mars Hill||Ty Farmer||Calgary||Junior||Midfield|
|26||Mars Hill||Danny Farmer||Calgary||Senior||Attack|
|27||Mars Hill||Kevins Woods||Newmarket||Senior||Midfield|
|28||Mars Hill||Blake Mattinson||Coquitlam||Sophomore||Midfield|
|29||Mars Hill||Cade Zulak||Ajax||Sophomore||Midfield|
|30||Mars Hill||Chad Howson||Newmarket||Sophomore||Midfield|
|31||Mars Hill||Chris Cudmore||Whitby||Sophomore||Defence|
|32||Mars Hill||Kiernan Limming||Victoria||Sophomore||Defence|
|33||Mars Hill||Spencer Stobbe||Edmonton||Sophomore||Goalie|
|37||Mercyhurst||Zac Reid||St Catherines||Freshman||Midfield|
|42||Notre Dame De Namur||Brandon Miller||Calgary||Junior||Defence|
|43||Notre Dame De Namur||Drew Comeau||Red Deer||Senior||Attack|
|45||Pfeiffer University||Kirby Upshaw||Orono||Freshman||Defence|
|47||Seton Hill||James Delaney||Vancouver||Freshman||Midfield|
|48||Seton Hill||Matt Bertrand||Oakville||Sophomore||Midfield|
|49||St Andrews||Brandon Ree||Barrie||Sophomore||Defence|