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 first year Furman Paladins, located in Greenville, SC. D1 lacrosse in South Carolina? You better believe it! (Fun fact: a Paladin is a chivalrous hero or knight from the times of Charlemagne.)
One of the four new programs in Division 1 this year, the Furman Paladins will be competing in the Atlantic Sun conference. The Paladins have one of the best coaches in lacrosse with Team USA Head Coach and Navy legend, Richie Meade. Like any new program, this team is extremely young and filled with freshman, so here is a look at who should make an impact down south in 2014.
Attack: Furman has done a good job of getting players from non-traditional lacrosse areas who may have been passed over due to their location. This group of players will be led by some of those freshman. Zach Coker is a talented offensive initiator who will be a large part of the attack unit. The best dodger is probably Graham Dabbs, who has great speed and is good at creating opportunities from behind the net. The third starter figures to be Ben Levin, who is the best off-ball finisher on the team. These freshman have a great chance to establish themselves as major contributors this year and for years to come.
Midfield: The oldest player at the midfield is junior college transfer Kenny Meinsen. Meinsen played two years at Suffolk Community College, and was a two time All-American in the NJCAA. He will have to provide veteran leadership to the Paladin offense. Redshirt sophomore Clayton Adam has had injury struggles, but should be a big contributor this spring assuming he is healthy. Rounding out the group is freshman Chase Hancock, a Florida native who had a very successful high school career. With Meinsen’s experience, most of the offensive production will likely come from the midfield. At SSDM, three freshman are in the mix. Colin Moore, Danny Dorsett, and Nick Ranta all have a chance to contribute defensively.
FOGO: There are only two faceoff guys on the roster, and both are freshman. It’s an open competition between Hil Blaze of McDonogh in Maryland, and Justin Kane of Spain Park, Alabama. The good news here is that great FoGos can come from almost anywhere.
LSM: The likely starter will be Lincoln Leisemeyer, who is transferring from Onondaga Community College. Leiesemeyer is looking to become the first major Division 1 player from Hawaii. He’s a quick and rangy player with good strength who could also bump down to close if needed, although he may be slightly undersized. Maybe that’s how he slipped through the cracks? He comes from a JuCo winner. That’s a good start.
Defense: Close defense is the position with the most depth on the team. Former USA U-19 player Ralph D’Agostino is a transfer from Syracuse who will be the top defender on the unit as a redshirt sophomore. Another JuCo transfer, junior Dylan Feeney is a big and aggressive defender. The aforementioned Leisemeyer could take the third spot, or it could go to freshman Triston Stegall. There are plenty more capable freshman who will get some looks at defense as well.
Goalie: Yet another open competition between two freshman, either Frazer Kinsley or Jake Gavin will get the starting nod in net.
Overall: There are some question marks on offense especially when it comes to depth, but the Paladins have an outstanding coach who has the ability to transform them into a dangerous team that pulls in the same direction. The defense looks solid, and the entire team is led by some junior college transfers. Most programs struggle in their first year, but with Richie Meade coaching, who knows what will happen? We’ll have to wait and see.
For more NCAA D1 Lacrosse coverage, check out Alphabetical 2013 NCAA D1 Preview: Air Force, Albany, Army, Bellarmine, Binghamton, Boston, Brown, Bryant, Bucknell, Canisius,
Colgate, Cornell, Dartmouth, Delaware, Detroit, Drexel, Duke, and Fairfield.