The 2011 Pre-Season Division III NCAA Lacrosse rankings are out from Lacrosse Magazine, Inside Lacrosse and Laxpower. Jac Coyne also ranked the teams in DIII back in August, but I’m sure he’ll have some changes! Since I contribute to the LaxPower DIII Forum Poll, I thought I’d post my personal Top 20 as well.
2010 was a great year with Tufts winning their first National Championship (after winning their first NESCAC crown) over Salisbury on Memorial Day. Cortland, Stevenson, Roanoke and others all came very close, and 2011 offers a similar slate of very competitive teams. Right now, there are probably 6 teams (maybe more!) that have a legit shot at winning it all. The question remains, how do you rank them? And who fills slots 7-20? It’ going to be another bumpy year in Division 3!
Connor Wilson’s (Wheniwasakid…) Pre-Season NCAA Division 3 Rankings
1 – Tufts - 2010 National Champion. Lost some, return a lot and brought in talent. How Foglietta plays in big games will make or break their season.
2 – Stevenson – Tons of talent on offense, a lot of depth at the midfield and a reworked defense could be the key to winning it all.
3 – Salisbury - Back for business. Last year’s loss in the NC game has renewed the focus and committment on the Eastern Shore. And that could be scary.
4 – Cortland - Upstate talent, depth and toughness. Cortland is always a contender with the best tw0-way middie in the game in DeLuca.
5 – Middlebury – A great defense will need to carry the Midd offense as the team continues to adjust to life without a preeminent superstar scorer. One could emerge though. After all, it’s still Middlebury.
6 – Haverford – A great team that has come close in the past. They just need to put it all together in 2011.
7 – Roanoke – Roanoke always seems to be on the outside looking in. Is 2011 the year when they pull the defense together during the playoffs? They have the talent and coaching.
8 – Connecticut College – A real TEAM. No superstars, but everyone can play. Makes them more dangerous in tight games.
9 – RIT – All the talent in the world, but are they athletic enough to run with the big boys?
10 – Geneseo – Genny needed a good goalie to replace Costanza. They got a kid to transfer in. A banner year in Genny is possible!
11 – Gettysburg – I doubted them in 2009 and they did EXTREMELY well. Could 2011 be the same situation? Good middie talent remains in tact for the Bullets.
12 – Lynchburg – This team has been called young for the last two years and they were good… so are they experienced yet? Will they be great?
13 – RPI – Another talented Upstate NY team that may lack the overall athleticism to win when it counts.
14 – Bowdoin – Could suffer from a slow start because their hockey playing contingent will need to adjust, but they have some ballers. Athletic team that will get better as the season progresses.
15 – Denison – It’s easy to get up for a couple of tough regular season games, but Denison doesn’t seem to be able to consistently do the same in the NCAA’s. Until they can win those games, doubt will remain, and justifiably so.
16 – Dickinson – Can they move past their position of the last couple of years? Dickinson has been good, but not great. They have yet to live up to expectations.
17 – Nazareth – A good team that could move up quickly. They could also lose some games early and be an after-thought. Outside of the top 14 teams, a lot is up in the air.
18 – Cabrini – Another good team, but not great. They play hard and will make the NCAA’s, but most likely lose in the 1st or 2nd round.
19 – Hampden-Sydney – Good team, could surprise some people but won’t contend.
20 – Wesleyan – My darkhorse pick for 2011. This team could win the NESCAC and go deep into the NCAA’s… or they could go 7-8. It all depends on how the team improves and plays together.