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2014 Alphabetical NCAA D1 Preview: Robert Morris

The NCAA D1 season is now underway! During the first couple of weeks of lacrosse season we’ll be finishing up the Alphabetical 2014 NCAA D1 Previews! Like last year, we are going through all of the D1 men’s teams for 2014 (there are 67 this year!) and we are now moving on to the Robert Morris Colonials, located in Moon, PA.

Robert Morris put together an 8-7 season in 2013 and fell to Bryant 14-7 to close out the season. RMU got wins over UMBC, Detroit, Jacksonville, Hobart, Wagner, Mount St. Mary’s, and Quinnipiac (twice). The Colonials suffered one goal losses to Bellarmine, Drexel, and Sacred Heart. The Bryant loss was the worst of the season, and RMU had only lost 15-11 to the Bulldogs in the regular season.

RMU didn’t play any of the truly top teams last year, but 2014 sees the Colonials take on both Maryland and Notre Dame, two potential top 5 teams. Can they improve on their 8-7 record from last season? Can RMU take things a step further and get back to their 11-4 form of 2012? Let’s see what Robert Morris has in store for the Northeast Conference.

Jake Hayes, Dave Morton, and Tyler Digby are all gone and they take 104 points with them in total. Leading scorer Eric Rankel does return, and he brings back 40 points on 28 goals and 12 assists. Rankel will be joined as an offensive leader by fellow sophomore Luke Laszkiewicz, who now leads the attack. Having a dangerous weapon like Rankel in the midfield is nice, and when paired with a guy like Taylor Graves or James Rahe, RMU will make plays.

Watch out for some of the freshmen on the RMU roster as well… there are three junior players from the Hill Academy on the roster and all 3 play (2 start). There are three freshman from the Hill Academy on the roster. Could they be ballers? Think about it. I’m also interested to see if senior Ryan Higgins can figure in to the offense more prominently in his final year. Now is the time!

RMU has four goalies on their roster, but none of them played more than around 20 minutes last year. One of those freshmen I mentioned earlier is a Hill Academy goalie though… Senior Brian Bohn could be the starter, but I like Brett Cass’ game too, although he can be rebound prone at times.

On defense, RMU has some talent returning. Joseph Scenna started every game last year and is a big, imposing figure. Luc Magnan also returns after starting every game last year, and Sean Meagher played in every game and added 2 goals and an assist. Tyler Rankel is another pole who can score, and the LSM had 2 goals and 3 assists in 2013. Cory Berry is yet another talented pole that returns, and that gives RMU at least five guys who can play.

RMU’s biggest concern has to lie at the face off mark. We can talk about returners, but when the team averages out to around 35% on the year, it’s not worth it to talk names. Someone needs to step up for the Colonials here, or a freshman needs to seriously shine. A lack of continuous possessions can hurt any team looking to make a run, and win games.

RMU seems to have a lot of pieces for success, but their goalie and face off situations have me a little concerned. If a team wants to go deep, it helps to have proven talent at those two specialty positions. While it’s not always true, without a star studded line up, it’s extremely hard to do. RMU has some great talent… is it enough to cover those two apparent holes?

For more NCAA D1 Lacrosse coverage, check out Alphabetical 2013 NCAA D1 Preview: Air ForceAlbanyArmyBellarmineBinghamtonBostonBrownBryantBucknellCanisius,
Colgate,  CornellDartmouthDelawareDetroitDrexelDukeFairfieldFurman,
GeorgetownHartfordHarvardHigh PointHobartHofstraHoly CrossJacksonvilleJohns_HopkinsLafayetteLehighLoyolaManhattanMaristMarquette,
MarylandMassachusettsMercerMichiganMonmouthNavyNorth Carolina,
Notre DameOhio StatePennPenn StatePrinceton, Providence, Quinnipiac, and Richmond.