We’re back with the Alphabetical 2014 NCAA D1 Previews! Like last year, we’ll go through all of the D1 men’s teams for 2014 (there are 67 this year!) and we are now moving on to the Bucknell Bison, located in Lewisburg, PA.
Last year, the Bucknell Bison lost in the Patriot League finals and missed out on an at large bid in to the NCAA Tournament. Despite these disappointments, there are many bright spots to take away from 2013 that Bucknell can build on this year. Let’s take a look at their position breakdown for 2014.
Attack: Last year’s Patriot League Rookie of the Year was Sean Doyle, who earned a starting spot as a freshman for the Bison. Now a sophomore, Doyle will be hoping to build on his 27 goal 15 assist season. With seven multi-game goals last year, Doyle will draw a lot of attention from opposing defenses. Hoping to benefit from that attention is Senior Todd Heritage. Heritage had a terrific campaign for Coach Frank Fedorjaka, posting 34 goals and 5 assists. Rounding out the attack unit is Third Team All-American David Dickson. Dickson, a junior, is one of the best feeders in college lacrosse. Last year, He scored eight goals and racked up 48 assists, setting a school and conference record. Other underclassmen, like freshman Tommy O’Connor, could get in the mix sometimes too.
Midfield: Sophomore Thomas Filbotte looks poised to have a breakout year in 2014, as he will be starting and leading the midfield. A great shooter with 29 goals and an assist last year, Filbotte is a threat in both 6-on-6 and EMO situations. Fellow sophomore and returning starter Brock Ghelfi will also power the Bucknell offense, with 16 goals and 3 assists last year. Ghelfi is only 5’6”, but don’t let his size fool you. He’s a quick dodger with an explosive first step.
Rounding out the midfield is senior Peter Burke, another returning starter. Burke scored 11 goals and added 9 assists last year, and had 21 ground balls. Burke is a good feeder up top and a nice addition to a line with Filbotte, a shooter, and Ghelfi, a dodger. At SSDM, Mike Ondrusek did a great job with wing play and scooped up 15 ground balls, and his counterpart Sam McDonough had 20.
LSM: Alex Spring played in every game last year, and will be back after leading the team in groundballs (53). Spring also caused 19 turnovers and helped start transition for the Bison offense.
FOGO: Junior Gavin Sullivan will likely start this year after going 32 of 75 last year, but if he struggles, senior Matt Sharkey, a Cornell transfer, could see some action as well.
Defense: Preseason All-American Jackson Place is the undisputed leader of this unit, after having a season that put him fifth in the nation with 30 caused turnovers. Place also had 43 groundballs. Ben Kellar, a junior, started every game last year causing seven turnovers and added 16 groundballs. Rounding out the starting defense is freshman Brad Dotson, who succeeds as a pure athlete. There is plenty of depth among underclassmen who could fill in reserve roles.
Goalie: Sam Grinberg only saw action in five games last year while backing up Kyle Feeney, who has since graduated. However, he did very well in the reserve role, even being named Patriot League Goalie of the Week. Grinberg will start this year, and hopes to build on his previous success.
Overall: Bucknell looks poised to make a serious run this year. Their offense is extremely dangerous and their defense is stout. The only question mark is at the faceoff X, since last year’s starter graduated. Bucknell has serious potential this year, and could even win their conference and make a nice run into the NCAAs if everything comes together.