The men’s Division I lacrosse programs in Maryland have reloaded for the 2020 season. These teams recently completed their fall practices and are full of optimism.
Here is a breakdown of the local squads:
2019 Record: 8-8 overall, 3-2 Big Ten
Top Returners: Senior midfielder Forry Smith is just the 15th Johns Hopkins player since 1950 to serve as a captain more than once. He started all 16 games and scored a career-high 21 goals with five assists for a career-high 26 points in 2019. Smith led the team with a .457 shooting percentage and added four extra-man goals on the year as well.
Senior defenseman Owen Colwell, a three-year starter, had two goals, one assist, 31 ground balls and 11 caused turnovers last season. He has played in 48 games during his career, posting 59 ground balls and 20 caused turnovers.
Attackman Joey Epstein is first sophomore captain at Johns Hopkins since Kevin Mahon in 1975. He led the team in goals (48), assists (25) and points (73) and earned first-team All-Big Ten and third-team USILA All-America honors while also being tabbed the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Epstein’s 48 goals and 73 points are both Johns Hopkins freshman records.
Key New Additions: The Blue Jays landed 12 players on Inside Lacrosse’s “Power 100 Freshmen” rankings, including attackmen Owen Murphy (12) and Jacob Angelus (16).
Early Outlook: Johns Hopkins head coach Dave Pietramala has reloaded for the 2020 season, and the Blue Jays should have enough firepower to challenge for a Big Ten title and make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
2019 Record: 12-5 overall, 7-1 Patriot League
Top Returners: Junior Kevin Lindley was second on the team in points (64) behind Pat Spencer, who was the Tewaaraton Award winner. Lindley will be the focal point of the attack and is poised to have another huge season. He is known as a goal scorer, but he is going to take more responsibility as a dodger and ball-carrier this year. He also is one of the toughest attackers in the nation.
Fellow junior attackman Aidan Olmstead had seven goals and three assists in a fall game against Villanova. Olmstead is a multi-dimensional player who can carry the ball, feed, dodge and shoot. He finished with 25 goals and 21 assists last year.
Junior Bailey Savio took all but six of the team’s 477 faceoffs and set a school record for ground balls (141). He was fantastic, especially against some of the better faceoff guys in the nation. This year, he is expected to be even better, and he has other true faceoff guys on the team who will make him better during practice.
Key New Additions: The Greyhounds have 14 new players on the roster, including local faceoff specialist Chris Cottone (Calvert Hall), midfielder Will Sherwood (Archbishop Spalding) and long-stick midfielder Calder VandenHeuval (Glenelg Country). Loyola also added a pair of transfers with midfielders Jack Decker (Marist) and Riley Seay (Bellarmine).
Early Outlook: That duo of Lindley and Olmstead is ready to step out of Spencer’s shadow and become one of the best 1-2 punches in college lacrosse. Junior Sam Shafer will start in goal after serving as the main backup to Jacob Stover for the past two seasons. Shafer will be supported by a stout, veteran defense that is able to play man-to-man defense while also being able to get the ball on the ground to cause turnovers. Loyola has the talent to make a run at a national title.
2019 Record: 12-5 overall, 3-2 Big Ten
Top Returners: The Terrapins will be led by senior attackman Jared Bernhardt, who was a 2019 Tewaaraton Award finalist after scoring 51 goals — at least two in every game — and dishing out 27 assists.
Midfielder Logan Wisnauskas (Boys’ Latin) led the team in points (79) and assists (35). His 79 points was a sophomore program record and tied for fourth on the school’s single season scoring list. Wisnauskas was named a USILA Honorable Mention All-American and earned second-team All-Big Ten accolades.
Midfielder Bubba Fairman started all 17 games and finished with 25 goals and 17 assists. He posted seven multi-goal games and four hat tricks. Attackman Anthony DeMaio finished 2019 with 28 goals and 18 assists. He started in all 17 games and had seven multi-goal games with three hat tricks. Justin Shockey went 86-of-171 on faceoffs (.503) and grabbed 36 ground balls. All three are now juniors.
Key New Additions: The Terps will get a huge boost with five talented transfers: defenseman Nick Grill (Marquette), midfielder Jake Higgins (Cleveland State), faceoff specialist Joel Trucksess (Lehigh), long-stick midfielder Michael Uricao (Villanova) and goalie Chris Brandau (Georgetown).
Early Outlook: Head coach John Tillman had a formidable group that will present matchup problems for each of their opponents. Maryland will challenge for the Big Ten title and also has the talent to play into late May.
MOUNT ST. MARY’S
2019 Record: 9-7 overall, 5-1 Northeast Conference
Top Returners: Goalie Dylan Furnback was the 2019 NEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2019. He started all 16 games, registered 194 saves, recorded a 53.9 save percentage and was a first-team All-NEC pick.
Defenseman Bryan McIntosh started all 16 games and picked up 51 ground balls and had 33 caused turnovers. He was also a first-team All-NEC selection.
Midfielder Luke Frankeny started every game, finishing the year with 27 goals and six assists (47 points), 12 ground balls and two caused turnovers. McIntosh was a second-team All-NEC pick.
Furnback, McIntosh and Frankeny are all now juniors.
Key New Additions: The Mountaineers added a talented recruiting class that includes Steven Schmitt and Phillip Polo, both of whom are ready to make an immediate impact.
Early Outlook: The Mountaineers dropped just one regular-season conference game (to Hobart), but lost to Robert Morris in NEC semifinals, which ended their shot for an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Mount St. Mary’s will look to take the next step in 2020, but the Mountaineers need to fill the void created by the losses of attackman Chris DiPretoro and midfielder Jack Mangan.
2019 Record: 6-7 overall, 4-4 Patriot League
Top Returners: Christian Daniel (Northern) started 13 games as a sophomore in 2019 and was the team’s second-leading scorer with 43 points on a team-best 31 goals and 12 assists. Junior defenseman Nick Franchuk started eight of 13 games and finished with 11 ground balls and five caused turnovers.
Key New Additions: The Midshipmen have a talented incoming class of more than 20 recruits and walk-ons, including freshman midfielder Henry Rentz (Severn) and attackman Dom Cole.
Early Outlook: A new era opens for Midshipmen lacrosse with the hiring of new head coach Joe Amplo, who takes over for Rick Sowell. Amplo built the men’s lacrosse program at Marquette and led the Golden Eagles to consecutive Big East Tournament titles and NCAA Tournament appearances in 2016 and 2017. He also guided Marquette to at least the Big East semifinals in five of its six seasons. Amplo is looking to surpass that success at Navy.
2019 Record: 11-5 overall, 4-1 Colonial Athletic Conference
Top Returners: Towson returns five of its top seven point-scorers from last season, including attackmen Brody McLean (39 goals, six assists, 45 points) and Luke Fromert (27 goals, 10 assists, 37 points). The Tigers also get Grant Maloof (24 goals, 11 assists, 35 points) back for a fifth year.
Defensively, the Tigers return Koby Smith, Gray Bodden, Mo Sillah and Garrett Zungailia. Smith was a second-team USILA All-American.
In goal, the Tigers bring back 2019 starter Tyler Canto and 2018 starter Shane Brennan as the top two vying for a starting spot.
Key New Additions: The Tigers added a pair of transfers — James Avanzato (Maryland) and Austin Stewart (Denver) — and a 13-player recruiting class that will battle for playing time.
Early Outlook: Towson has won eight CAA titles and is primed to add another in 2020. Head coach Shawn Nadelen hired Matt Musci as the offensive coordinator to replace Anthony Gilardi, who departed this summer for the head job at Stony Brook.
2019 Record: 7-9 overall, 2-4 America East
Top Returners: Attackman Ryan Frawley was a America East pick in 2019. He finished 21st in the nation in goals per game (2.88). Frawley’s 46 goals tied Dave Quattrini (1980) for the third most in a single season in school history. He’s now a senior.
Senior defenseman Colin Kasner (DeMatha) was a second-team All-America East selection. Kasner finished 11th in the nation with 2.07 caused turnovers per game. His 30 caused miscues were the most since Mike Camardo caused 36 in 2011.
Junior attackman Trevor Patschorke (Severna Park) earned America East Tournament Most Valuable Player honors. He finished second on the team in goals (33), assists (20) and total points (53)
Key New Additions: The Retrievers have 14 incoming recruits, including the highly touted Ben Stephanos (Howard) who should add valuable depth to the team. UMBC also brought in transfer Andrew Hurdle (Bucknell/McDonogh).
Early Outlook: The Retrievers won their first America East championship since 2009 and have momentum heading into the 2020 season. UMBC won four consecutive elimination games — all on the road — to advance to the NCAA’s Round of 16 and a matchup at No. 1 Penn State. The UMBC offense finished at No. 28 in the country at 11.8 goals per game, a big improvement from 2018. That could improve further this upcoming season.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Johns Hopkins Athletics, Maryland Athletics and Navy Athletics