Canadians In The NCAA – Week 9

submitted by Jason Donville

In a week in which several Canadian’s put up multi-goal performances, Drexel freshman Robert Church served notice that there is a new sniper in the game that is capable of putting up a huge number on unsuspecting defenses. Besides Church, other Canadians who put up big offensive stats this past week include O’Brien, the Farmer brothers, Clevely, Card, Brock, Lincoln, Tao Brambleby, McBride, Campbell and Keogh. However, in this week’s edition of Canadians in the NCAA we will also talk about some of the Canadians putting up impressive defensive statistics. These include players like Houtby, Noble, Sealock, Coates, Rubisch, Woods, Marrese, Pecchia, Kiekebelt, MacRae, Longland and MacDonald. From a Canadian perspective here is a recap of the week that was in the NCAA. .

 Robert Church is just another rookie from Coquitlam! Yeah right!

The Drexel Dragons have knocked off too many good teams this year to be considered anything less than a superb team. Freshman Robert Church (Coquitlam) has certainly played a role in this success, having scored 17 goals in nine games leading up to this weekend’s action. However, on Saturday Church was totally in the zone, scoring seven of his teams 11 goals in a come-from-behind win over #8 Hofstra.  Jamie Lincoln (St Catherines) had 3 goals and 3 assists and Adrian Sorchetti (Whitby) had 3 goals in the losing effort for Hofstra. Robert Morris is now back on another winning streak thanks in part to Corbyn Tao Brambleby (Coquitlam) who scored 5 goals against Air Force in a 13 to 7 win. The kids from Stony Brook were similarly on, with Jordan McBride (New West)  scoring 6 goals, Kevin Crowley (New West) scoring 3 goals and 2 assists, and Robbie Campbell (Delta) adding a goal and 4 assists in a 14 to 11 win over UMBC.  Dave Brock (Burlington) continues to find the back of the net, scoring 4 goals in an 11 -10 Albany win over Hartford. Hartford subsequently got back in the win column with Aiden Genik (Toronto Beaches) scoring 3 goals and an assist in a one goal victory over state rival Quinnipiac. Denver beat Hobart 17-13 and Mark Mathews (Oshawa)  had 3 goals and an assist in the win while Brian Neufeld (Virgil) scored 4 goals in Siena’s 9-8 win over Detroit – Mercy. Syracuse picked up a couple of wins last week with Stephen Keogh (Toronto Beaches) scoring 3 goals and assist in a win over Villanova, and another 3 goals and an assist in a win over Albany. Canisius picked up its second win of the season over St Joe’s with Adam Jones (Owen Sound) potting a hat trick and Simon Giourmetakis (Edmonton) adding 2 goals and an assist. 

This week we will look at both offensive and defensive statistics

In looking at player’s statistics this week, we have added to the usual offensive categories (goals and assist) two defensive categories, namely ground balls (GB) and caused turnovers (CT). These two statistical categories give a broader sense of how the defense contributes to a winning team’s performance and also shows the contribution that some offensive players can make when their team does not have the ball. If we add together a players offensive scoring stats plus ground balls and caused turnovers (times 2) we arrive at a number that I call a players total impact points (TIP) which I then divide by the number of games the player has played. The TIP therefore consists of the total offensives and defensive points a player scores in a game with a goal and an assist being an offensive point and ground ball or a caused turnover being a defensive point.

Players such as Mann, Houtby, Buchanan, Sealock and Noble are making it happen on the defensive side of center

Looking at Division I statistics below, we see that many (but not all) of the top offensive players also possess great defensive statistics. However, several players with low or modest offensives numbers rise to the top of the overall rankings because their defensive achievements have been so strong. Jacksonville’s Cameron Mann (Hamilton) is the first name that stands out. His offensive statistics are solid but his 38 ground balls and 7 caused turnovers imply that he must be a superb two-way player. Jordan Houtby (St Catherines) has modest offensive numbers but he leads all rookies in the NCAA with 23 caused turnovers and his 34 ground balls are also near the top of his cohort. Robert Morris University has a number of players that can score in bunches but the defensive statistics of a couple of its gifted middies suggest that a great offense starts with a very good defense. Kyle Buchanan (Nepean)  and Jordan Sealock (Airdrie) are each putting up strong defensive stats in terms of both ground balls and caused turnovers. Finally, Cornell freshman defender Jason Noble (Orangeville) was recently voted rookie of the week in the Ivey League and his defensive stats support the notion that Noble is an emerging defensive star. So far this year Noble has grabbed 29 ground balls and has 17 caused turnovers to his credit in 9 games.  Canada’s top 40 players in Division I as ranked by TIP are presented below.

A good week for Dowling, Mars Hill and Limestone

Dowling continues to play well of late as evidenced by its 21 to 8 win over Molloy this week. Kyle O’Brien (Whitby) had 2 goals and 6 assists in the win while John McClure (Brampton) scored 4 goals, and Kyle Rubisch (Brampton) added a goal, an assist, three ground balls and a caused turnover. Limestone had a strong outing over St. Andrews whom they beat 18 to 5 with Riley Loewen (Burnaby) scoring a hat trick and adding an assist. Mars Hill had two big wins with Ty Farmer (Calgary) scoring 5 goals in the win over Wingate with brother Danny adding 2 goals and 4 assists and Eric Benesch (Bloomingdale) adding 2 goals and 2 assists. A few days later Mars Hill beat Florida Southern 11 to 6 with Danny Farmer scoring 6 goals and an assists, Eric Benesch added a pair of goals and assist and TJ Cowx adding 2 goals and an assist. Finally, Bal Keegan (Coquitlam) scored 2 goals and 2 assist in leading Lake Erie to a win over Chestnut Hill.

Rubisch is arguably the most impactful Canadian in Division II

Looking at Div II statistics from a more balanced perspective, we see as was the case in Division I that many of the top scorers appear near the top of the TIP standings. However, our statistical model suggests that the most impactful Canadian in Division II is not an offensive player but in fact a long pole. Kyle Rubisch anchors the Dowling defense and while he has scored a goal and an assists it is his 34 ground balls and 18 caused turnovers in seven games that make him so impactful to his team. Incidentally, Rubisch was voted the top defensemen in the Ontario junior league this past summer so Rubisch’s defensive performance in the NCAA is consistent with his performance in Canadian box leagues. Two other players of interested are Mars Hill’s Kevin Woods (Newmarket) and Chris Cudmore (Whitby). While the likes of the Farmer Brothers, Eric Benesch and T.J. Cowx (Delta) have been putting up huge offensive numbers at Mars Hill, players like Woods and Cudmore have provided the defensive catalyst which is often the starting point for the offensive. Similarly, Dave Marrese (St Albert) has put up strong defensive numbers at Dominican College. Finally, note that player #19 on the list below, Michael Pecchia (Coquitlam) is a goalie. How can you not love a goalie that that has snagged 27 ground balls and caused 4 turnovers in 9 games!

In Division III – RIT loses a heartbreaker while Clevely scores big

RIT has been playing very well of late but this past weekend the Tigers lost a heartbreaker to #4 Cortland 12 to 11 in overtime. Sean Gilles (Oakville) scored 3 goals in the loss for RIT. Adrian had a better weekend, beating Mt St Joe 23 to 14 with DJ Clevely (Orangeville) scoring 4 goals and adding 5 assists. Tyler Tanguay (Port Colborne) had 4 goals and T.J. Cook (Caledon) added 2 goals and 2 assist in the Adrian win. Randolph Macon won two games this week and Ty Midwinter (Hamilton) had three points in each game. Finally, Roanoke beat Virginia Wesleyan 11 to 4 and Richard Lachlan (Port Coquitlam) had 3 goals and an assist while Matt Quinton (Elora) added a hat trick,

RIT is loaded with Canadian’s who can play defence

From a statistical perspective, the picture in Division III from a TIP perspective is similarly to Division I and II with several top defenders interspersed among the top goal scorers. In terms of players with strong defensive statistics, RIT appears to be loaded. RIT midfielder MJ Kiekebelt (Caledon) and long pole Dan MacCrae (Oakville) each have superb defensive stats in relation to their cohort. Potsdam’s Ben McCullough (Brampton) also has great two way numbers, averaging close to 2 offensive points and 4 defensives points per game. Tom Langland (Dunnville) of Morrsiville State and Bradon MacDonald (Midhurst) at Adrian round out the top Canadian defenders in Division III.

Games upcoming

There are a number of exciting games upcoming for Canadian lacrosse fans in Southern Ontario. Next Saturday Cornell hosts Harvard and there will be a large Canadian contingent at that game. The Cornell game is at 3:00PM and for the adventuresome, Colgate hosts Lehigh at 7:00PM and UMBC plays at Binghamton at 7:00PM. For those who want something closer to home, Canisius hosts Marist at 11:00AM, Hobart hosts Ohio State at 1:00PM and for those who live in Southwestern Ontario, Detroit Mercy hosts Mount St Mary’s at 1:00PM.

Final Thoughts

While the NCAA season has been up and running for a couple of months now, field lacrosse in Ontario is just getting started this weekend. For those who want to check out some high end youth lacrosse, the Jammer Classic is on this weekend. The tournament is held in honor of Jamieson Kuhlman, who played for the Toronto Beaches and the Hill Academy and dreamed one day of playing in the NCAA. It’s kind of become the unofficial start of the Canadian field season and the tournament has a really nice feel to it – hope to see some of you there on Friday.


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