Monday, February 14, 2011

Canucks south of the border

Jason Donville from did a very thorough job breaking down the Canadian content in NCAA Division I lacrosse.
There are 34 Division I teams with at least one Canadian on their roster but there are five teams where the Canadian contingent is large enough to influence the style of play of their respective team. These five teams are Stony Brook, Hofstra, Drexel, Denver and Robert Morris. None are expected to win the NCAA championship but all possess the offensive fire power to generate more than a few upsets and if nothing else provide some extremely exciting highlight reel material.  
Here the five teams with large Canadian content

Stony Brook Seawolves – Stony Brook is led by two Canadians, Kevin Crowley (New Westminster) and Jordan McBride (New Westminster) who combined for 99 goals in 2010 and made it to the NCAA final eight and an overtime loss to Virginia. Crowley and McBride are supported by Robbie Campbell (Delta), Kyle Belton (Langley), Greg Miceli (King City) and JJ Laforet (Georgetown) and this group is more than capable of playing the pick and roll, quick stick game that Canucks are renowned for. Given last year’s tough loss to Virginia and the fact that Crowley and McBride are both seniors, expect to see this group play like there is no tomorrow.
Hofstra Pride – The story at Hofstra is similar to Stony Brook in that the team is loaded with Canadian talent and its two star players are seniors. These of course are Jay Card (Caledon) and Jaime Lincoln (St Catherines) who combined for 64 goals, 42 assists, 54 ground balls and 40 caused turnovers in 2010. Card and Lincoln will be supported by Adrian Sorchetti (Whitby) and Michael Burke (Caledon). Most preseason polls have Hofstra pegged to finish in the top ten in the NCAA in 2011 and if Card and Lincoln get on a hot streak, the Pride could sneak into the final four.
Drexel Dragons – Wins over Notre Dame, UMASS and Hofstra in 2010 are ample proof that Drexel can play and win over the NCAA’s elite. Among last year’s pleasant surprises was a rookie from Canada’s west coast named Robert Church (Coquitlam) who managed to score 32 goals in his rookie season. With the arrival of freshman Ben McIntosh (Coquitlam) and a supporting cast that includes Garrett McIntosh (Coquitlam), Kyle Bergman (Toronto), Mitch De Snoo (Oshawa) and Greg Howren (Coquitlam), the Dragons now have enough players to run a box lacrosse offence! Drexel also boasts one of the best goalies in the NCAA (Mark Manos) so a combination of offensive fire power and goaltending means Drexel could really surprise this year. Some have also speculated that Church and Ben McIntosh could become the next great Canadian tandem along the lines of Crowley and McBride. The Canucks on this team are young so Drexel should get progressively better over the next three years.
Denver Pioneers – Denver only has four Canadians on their roster but they are all good. The two incumbents, Mark Matthews and Cameron Flint, combined for 59 goals while the two incoming rookies, Kurtis Green (Saanich) and Jeremy Noble (Orangeville) are both blue-chips and could crack the starting line-up as freshman.  This group of players should put up really big numbers in 2011.
Robert Morris Colonials – Ok, so nobody expects Robert Morris to win the NCAA championship this year. That said, if you play a game of lacrosse against a team that boasts a line-up that includes Corbyn Tao-Brambleby (Coquitlam), Trevor Moore (Port Coquitlam), Kiel Matisz (Stony Creek), Dave Morton (Orangeville), Kyle Buchanan (Nepean) and Kevin Brownell (Burlington), and you take that group of players lightly, you are likely to regret it. Robert Morris needs to get better on defense but on the offensive side of center this team can play with any team in the NCAA.

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