It’s late December, and that means the NAIA lacrosse season isn’t too far away. It’s time to start looking ahead to the upcoming 2022 campaign.
First, we should catch you up on all that you may have missed this offseason.
NAIA men’s lacrosse experienced a wild coaching carousel that saw several powerhouse programs get new head coaches. These were the most notable changes:
|School||Former Coach||New Coach|
|Reinhardt||John Snow||Tyler Yelken|
|Madonna||Mike Walter||Carlos Matta|
|Aquinas||Peter & Stephen Treppa||Chris Klaiber|
|Missouri Valley||JD Lemay||Matt Heinzerling|
With the season so close, I sat down with Tucker La Belle to discuss the 2022 campaign, what we’re most looking forward to from NAIA lacrosse this year, and everything else NAIA.
2022 NAIA Lax Updates Podcast
Tucker and I released our first two podcasts for the 2022 NAIA lacrosse season this month and are excited to continue diving into the coming campaign!
We both agree that one of the most exciting aspects of this season will be the addition of two new programs: Multnomah (Portland, Oregon) and Westcliff University (Irvine, California).
These two additions are arguably the most important from recent years as they mark the first West Coast schools to add NAIA men’s lacrosse teams. If a few more schools in their area add teams, we could be looking at a new conference emerging in the near future.
We’re also very interested to see how some of the top teams from 2021 rebuild in 2022. Reinhardt, Keiser, Indiana Tech, and Cumberlands all saw multiple key players graduate. This could lead to a wide-open race for the title this season.
Our Preseason Top Teams
Despite the aforementioned losses, all four of the teams above and Columbia College find themselves in the top of our preseason power poll.
Keiser is bringing back a lights-out offense and an ever-improving defense. If the defense keeps showing growth, this could be the year Keiser finally wins it all.
Andrew Ryan and company should look to build off an outstanding campaign in 2021 at Indiana tech. Its pressure defense and fast-paced offense should still be a nightmare to prepare for.
Reinhardt has a new coach and a ton of offensive production to replace, but it’s still Reinhardt – we would be remiss to write the Eagles off. Dillan Bousquet and Tyler Wilkinson at attack should help a young midfield unit have time to develop. Defense and faceoffs should have RU remain as a top-tier team.
Returning arguably the top attack line in the NAIA and a midfield that hit its stride at the right time to end last season, Cumberlands is a contender. However, replacing the majority of the defense is a bit of a concern, at least early in the year.
Columbia College should easily have one of the best offenses in the KCAC once again with Tyler Parrott and Trevor Doren set for a return. The big question for CC is, can it get over the hump in games against elite out-of-conference opponents?