The Dominican University of California Penguins (NCAA D2) are preparing for their third-ever full varsity season as an NCAA team and the program is really starting to look like the real deal. In 2010 the Penguins won 4 games and 2 of those came against NCAA D2 squads. In 2011 the team won 5 games, and all 5 Ws came against NCAA D2 teams. So how will Dominican do in 2012? Will they continue to rise, and win more games? Or will they level off in only their third varsity season?
The first thing we can quickly look at is the number of returning players, and in this case, Dominican is doing great. In 2011 the only Senior even listed on the roster was Emmett Faricy. Faricy was the third leading scorer on the team as a midfielder, and the Penguins will certainly need someone to step up and fill that void, but they have some serious middie depth in Dalton Copeland, Jim Little, Brock Beall, Blake Crossman, Kyle Mitchell, and a host of other players. If Dominican can find another attackman to really put the ball away this year, their offense should definitely improve again.
Photos courtesy of Dominican Lacrosse’s facebook page.
And the same can be said for the defense. That should improve too. They didn’t graduate a single player, and we’re hearing they have some decent young players on campus who might be able to push for time. Basically, 2012 could be a lot like 2011, except everyone has been working on their game, and the program has advanced. And that means good things.
So roster-wise, Dominican looks really solid. But how can one judge the intangibles of a team? We’ve seen some highlights from Dominican already this year as they scrimmaged Cal in the fall, and the one and only BHSVideoDad filmed the game! Always an awesome experience… and the Penguins looked solid against a pretty decent MCLA team. For years Cal has bested Dominican, and the fact that Dominican won handily this year bodes well for their spring season. You can say it’s just fall ball, and that this was just a scrimmage, and I wouldn’t argue with you. But if you know anything about West Coast lacrosse, you know that scrimmages like this are still heated and important games. The bottom line is that Dominican looked good in the scrimmage. And that’s good enough for me.
But to judge a team’s true intangibles, you need more than video highlights. So when the Dominican Penguins put up some video from their recent Chipotle Challenge – Gold vs White game, I got to see inside the program a little deeper.
And I like what I see! Guys seem excited to be there, excited to compete, and excited to be playing college lacrosse. For a team that looks better on the field than years prior AND has increasing depth and talent, a good attitude can make all the difference! For this reason, I’m liking the Penguins to make a little noise in 2012.
As an added bonus, the other D2 teams that I think could make some noise this year (outside of the usual suspects of course) are Mercy, Chestnut Hill, Adams State and St. Andrew’s. But we’ll get into those schools a little later in the year. For now, things are coming up Penguin. And with EIGHT teams now making the NCAA D2 playoffs, their timing might be perfect.