Tag: Ethan Barnard

10 D-III Lacrosse Teams to Watch in 2023

Jane Earley has won two national championships with Middlebury College. (PHOTO Courtesy: Will Costello)

By Matt Noonan

It’s been a few days – OK, a little over a week since the NCAA Division III college lacrosse season concluded, but before we officially say farewell to the 2022 season, I thought I would share a ten teams – five men and five women’s squads – that I believe could contend for a national championship next May.

Men’s D-III Lacrosse Teams to Watch in 2023

Bowdoin College: The Polar Bears were a team to watch this spring — hey, I thought they were the team that was going to win the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) crown last month. Despite ending their season in the quarterfinals against RIT, Bowdoin is certainly a squad to keep an eye on next spring. Coach Bill Mason will welcome back some key members of this year’s team, including Will Byrne (68 goals, 33 assists), Patrick Fitzgerald (53 goals, 16 assists), and Ethan Barnard (342 face-off wins) that will certainly help Bowdoin contend for both a conference and national title.

RIT: Coach Jake Coon and the 2022 Tigers joined an elite group of teams that captured back-to-back titles in NCAA D-III lacrosse history, but could they really contend for a third consecutive crown next spring? I believe they can, despite losing some talented upperclassmen, but if the Tigers are able to win their third-straight title, they would become the first team since Salisbury University to capture three-straight championships (Salisbury won three consecutive NCAA titles in 2003, 2004, and 2005).

Tufts University: The Jumbos’ run toward a national championship was quite exciting with the Powder Blue and Brown scoring two impressive postseason wins against St. John Fisher College and Salisbury. Tufts’ season concluded in the semifinals with a 26-15 setback to RIT. Like Bowdoin, Tufts will return some key pieces from its 19-win squad next spring that will certainly be players to watch, including Jack Boyden and Tommy Swank.

Union College: The Dutchmen’s run toward its first-ever national championship was exciting — can I say entertaining, as well? Union should be in the mix again next spring, despite graduating some key members of its 2022 squad. Dan Donahue will return between the pipes next season after an impressive second year with the squad that saw the Weston, Massachusetts native record a career-best 240 stops and 17 wins.

York College: Despite ending its season in the national semifinals, the Spartans run toward a championship was highlighted by two postseason victories over Christopher Newport and Southern Virginia. They will lose some key veterans that were either graduate students or seniors this spring, but will welcome back Ben Mayer, a first-year attack from Palm Harbor, Florida that led the Green and White with 90 points on 58 goals and 32 assists.

Others to watch: Albion College, Amherst College, Christopher Newport, Denison University, Dickinson College, Gettysburg College, RPI, Salisbury University, St. John Fisher, Wesleyan University, and Western New England

Women’s D-III Lacrosse Teams to Watch in 2023

Middlebury College: After being idle for a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Panthers continued their previous momentum from 2019 and their first three matchups in 2020 by winning 22 of 23 contests this spring, including the national title game. Jane Earley guided Middlebury to its second title in three years, as well as its eighth in program history. Earley, who established new single-season records for goals (80) and points (99), will be one of many players to watch next year.

Salisbury University: Despite ending their 2022 campaign without some hardware, the Sea Gulls were once again a team to watch after finishing the 2021 season as national champions. Coach Jim Nestor will welcome back some key pieces from its 2021 and 2022 squads, including Erin Scannell, who led Salisbury with 55 goals, which should help Salisbury be in the mix for its fifth crown in program history.

The College of New Jersey (TCNJ): After scoring two impressive postseason wins over Salisbury University and SUNY Cortland last month, the Lions’ momentum vanished in the national semifinals with an 18-7 setback to Tufts. The loss, however, could help the Lions understand what they must do to contend for the program’s 14th national championship. TCNJ has not won a national championship since 2006.

Tufts University: For the second-straight season, coach Courtney Shute‘s Jumbos fell short of winning the program’s initial title. But perhaps this year’s defeat to Middlebury will be the inspiration to win the crown in 2023? Like every team, the Jumbos will graduate some key pieces from this year’s squad, including goalie Molly Laliberty and midfielder Anna Clarke.

Washington and Lee: The Generals ended their season by matching their program record for wins with 19. Washington and Lee saw its bid toward a national title conclude in the quarterfinals against Gettysburg College, but the loss will certainly fuel the Blue and White next season, which returns some impressive talent that has guided the unit to 33 wins in its last 37 contests.

Others to watch: Capital University, Colby College, Franklin & Marshall, Gettysburg College, Ithaca College, Kenyon College, Pomona-Pitzer, Rhodes College, Roanoke College, SUNY Cortland, SUNY SUNY Geneseo, University of Chicago, Wesleyan University, and William Smith

Amherst, Middlebury Look To Continue Their Recent Momentum

PJ Clementi and the Amherst College men’s lacrosse team scored two impressive wins last week at the Mustang Classic. (PHOTO COURTESY: Clarus Studios)

By Matt Noonan

Following a pair of impressive wins this past weekend, Amherst College heads into tonight’s non-conference meeting with Springfield College with a great deal of momentum.

The Mammoths bounced back from an 18-14 setback to Tufts University earlier this month with a pair of wins against Bates College (22-10) and Gettysburg College (18-14) last Friday and Saturday.

PJ Clementi highlighted his team’s win over the Bullets by netting a career-high six goals on nine shots to go with three ground balls. The senior attack from Huntington, New York is currently second on the team in goals (14).

Nicholas Kopp was also a player to watch against Gettysburg as he won 27 of 36 face-offs while scooping a game-high 14 ground balls.

Coach Sean Woods said Kopp’s impressive showing against Gettysburg is a result of he and his coaching staff challenging the first-year face-off specialist “over the last couple of weeks.”

“Nick just did a great job keeping his nose over the ball,” Woods said following his team’s second matchup from last weekend’s Mustang Classic, which was held at Stevenson University.   

The 27 face-off wins are the most Koop has recorded in four games this spring – he currently ranks second in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) in face-off wins. Bowdoin College’s Ethan Barnard leads the conference with 107 victories at midfield.  

Following tonight’s meeting with Springfield, Amherst will head to Rochester, New York on Saturday to compete against St. John Fisher.

Amherst is just one of many NESCAC teams to watch, both this week and weekend – the same could be said for the Middlebury College women’s lacrosse team, which scored its 30th consecutive victory yesterday against York College. The impressive winning streak dates back to Middlebury’s second game of its 2019 season.

The Panthers, who defeated the Spartans by a score of 11-5, outscored the hosts in the second half, 7-2, thanks to Hope Shue (four goals, one assist) and Kelcey Dion (two goals). Five players concluded the non-league meeting with one goal. Middlebury’s defense held York scoreless in the third quarter.

While the Middlebury attack – and yes, its midfield – did its job, the same could be said for goalie Annie Enrietto, who secured her fifth win between the pipes with six saves on 14 shots.

Through five contests this spring, Enrietto has recorded 29 saves on 94 shots. She recorded a season-high of 12 saves in her squad’s season-opener against Bowdoin earlier this month.

Tomorrow, Middlebury will compete against The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) in a game that will pit two of the top 10 teams in the country.