Editor’s Note: Preseason Rankings are nothing more than fun. When it comes to All-Americans, the aforementioned fact is even more true. Preseason All-American accolades mean absolutely nothing, no matter where they come from. So instead, we’re asking our expects to focus on Ten Players To Watch In 2013. Ryan Connors hits up the NCAA D2 world!
10) James Chayka – Midfield – Mercyhurst
Ok, Maybe I shouldn’t be starting off with such a biased pick, but I don’t care. We are talking about players to watch, and this kid is hands down the most entertaining player to watch in DII. He is the DII version of SU’s Matt Abbot. His is the do-it-all middie. Wings on face-offs, offensive middie, defensive middie, man-down D, and clearing middie. He doesn’t put up monster points, but he does all the dirty work and gets the hustle stats. New NCAA rules will only strengthen Chayka’s game.
9) T.J. DiCarlo – Goalie – Mercy
One of the best goalies in DII, if not the best goalie. He has been the anchor for the Mercy team for the past three years. He is the reason why this young program was able to compete right off the bat in the ECC. He also posted the second highest number of saves in all of DII last year with 171. Look for him and Mercy to improve again this year.
8) Mike Melnychenko – Midfield – Chestnut Hill
The heart and soul of the Chestnut Hill squad. He put up 48 points last season, basically single-handily. Melnychenko is a deadly offensive threat and will carry his team this season. If he can gain support he will have another stand-out season, and CHC could have another competitive year.
7) Brandon Gamblin – Midfield – NYIT
The Gamblin Man, as I have dubbed him, is an absolute work-horse. The former UMass Minuteman burst onto the scene last season and will have an even better season this year. Gamblin put up 33 goals last season and added 11 assists. I expect his goals to remain about the same but we will see an increase in assists – teams are going to slide early to Gamblin and he’ll dish the rock and get points.
6) James Delaney – Midfield – Seton Hill
61 points last season as Seton Hill shocked DII and won nearly all their games. Seton Hill is going to have such a strong offense next year, of which Delaney is going to be a major component. Delaney works well with his teammates – he racked up 33 assists last year to match his 28 goals.
5) Riley Lowen – Attack – Limestone
In past years, Lowen was overshadowed by Shayne Jackson, but anyone who knows lacrosse knows this kid is the real deal. A natural born finisher from British Columbia. who scored 48 goals last season, and 54 the year before. He is deadly on the man up, and knows how to find the net. He will get the bulk of the offensive load this season with the departure of Jackson and Decker. Look for him to score in bunches.
4) Jeff White – Goalie – Lemoyne
Arguably the best goalie in DII. He was part of the number one defense in DII that only relinquished 65 goals all last season. He posted a 4.46 GAA and .611 save percentage. If Lemoyne gets back to the Championship Weekend this year, he is the reason that they do so.
3) Brian Scheetz – Attack – Mercyhurst
The quarterback of the offense last year saw him average 2.36 assist per game. Last season he became the all-time points leader at Mercyhurst, and this season he will only add to his record point total. Teams slide early to Scheetz but he handles the double team well. Hands down, he has the best vision in DII. Scheetz will try to help his team get back to the playoffs as they look to get another championship.
2) Matt Delmonico – Attack – Seton Hill
James Delaney’s partner-in-crime. The combo of these two will lead the bountiful Seton Hill offense this season. Delmonico knows how to score, he shoots to open net very well and finishes everything. He averaged 4.25 PPG last season as a sophomore. This season will be even better for Delmonico, and perhaps Seton Hill.
1) Greg Melaugh – Attack – Merrimack
Melaugh had a break through year last year scoring 57 points and averaged 4.38 points per game. This player has the talent to be one of the best in the league, if not the best. He has to continue his scoring ways though, but if his shooting percentage from last season holds up (it was 36%), it could be another scary year for opposing goalies. More importantly, Melaugh has 5 game-winning goals last season. Meaning, in such a tight conference, you want Melaugh to have the ball when the game is on the line. Should be an exciting season for Merrimack.