The 2022 college lacrosse season has officially come to an end. After a shortened 2020 season and a peculiar COVID cautious 2021 season, it was nice to finally have full schedules and fans in the stands. Depending on where your college lacrosse allegiance lies, 2022 was either a great or awful year for you. Preseason expectations appeared to be thrown out the window after the first week of the season back in February. In was an ecstatic year of college lacrosse and hopefully 2023 can take some notes from the 2022 season.
Here are 22 takeaways from the 2022 college lacrosse season.
1. Maryland Terrapins
In 2022, Maryland was the best team in college lacrosse. The accolades are impressive.
🏆 Big Ten Regular Season and Conference Champions
🥇 2022 National Champions
6️⃣ Players drafted in May’s PLL Draft
🥇 The Nation’s top Offense, Defense, Face-off%, and Save % (LaxReference)
🦀 Defeated Johns Hopkins 22-7 in #TheRivalry
2. The Ivy League is Back
Many lacrosse pundits (Twitter) wrote off the Ivy League after the 2021 season was canceled. My group chats were filled with folks asking if the top athletes would still consider Penn, Yale, or Brown?
Sorry, Karen. The Ivy came back stronger than ever.
🐶The league brought in 42 four and five-star players from the 2021 class.
🐯The Ivies had a 35-10 non-conference record, best in the country.
🐻The Ivies earned six tournament bids, four teams in the quarterfinals, and two teams made it to championship weekend.
3. Logan Wisnauskas
Maryland’s Logan Wisnauskas won the Tewaaraton trophy. The award is given annually to the nation’s top men’s and women’s college lacrosse players. He is the second Terp in a row to win the award, following last year’s winner, Jared Bernhardt.
Wisnauskas led the top-ranked Terp offense with 61 goals and 42 Assists. He became the sixth player in NCAA history to reach the 200+ goal milestone for his career. Finally, he also became the top point producer in Maryland history.
The Chrome LC selected him as the #1 pick in the PLL draft. Fair to say, Logan had a pretty good year.
4. ESPN Coverage
If you wanted to watch men’s lacrosse this year, ESPN was the place to be. The network streamed more than 250 games on ESPN2, ESPNU, the ACC Network, and ESPN+.
The game has never been more accessible to lacrosse fans. ESPN also expanded its reach with coverage of both the NLL and PLL.
5. Women’s D1 Final at Homewood
I know this is supposed to be for the men’s game, but we could all learn from the women’s championship game at Homewood Field. The stadium was packed and the crowds were juiced.
Homewood is not a large facility, officially seating 8500. The idea of playing at smaller facilities should be entertained.
22,184 was the announced attendance for the national championship game. Looking for stadiums in the 20,000-30,000 capacity is the move for the NCAA. While it may be “cool” to play at Gillette, M&T Bank or The Linc, those stadiums are too big.
Shift to MLS or smaller college venues. Make tickets a bit more exclusive and create a more ravenous environment.
6. PLL on ESPN
The PLL made the move this offseason from NBC to the ESPN family of networks. It just feels more of a natural fit.
In the past, it was hard to know where to find or locate the games. The Watch ESPN app enables fans easy access to watch all of the games.
I love bringing over Carc, Anish, Quint, Cotter, and Stanwick-Burch from the college game. These are the voices of the spring and can help bring new eyes to the summer and connect the college and pro game.
Bringing over Ryan Boyle from the Peacock was a smart move. Boyle is one of the top analysts in the game. I hope to see him more next spring.
7. Bring on the Transfer Portal
The Transfer Portal has changed the recruiting game. Coaches can now look across the college landscape (D1-D3) to replenish their roster.
John Tillman is the master of the portal. Keegan Khan (35G/28A, Villanova), Jonathan Donville (31G/22A, Cornell), and Owen Murphy (34G/5A, Johns Hopkins) fit right in to the Terp’s high-powered offense this season.
Rutgers Brian Brecht has used the portal to make quarterfinal and semifinal runs the last two seasons. This year’s roster was his best example. The 2022 Scarlet Knights had one of the oldest rosters in the county with 27 seniors and 7 grad transfers.
Kevin Warne is in the mix for Portal King. Warne led the Hoyas to their 4th straight
Big East tournament championship. The Hoyas brought in Connor Morin (Notre Dame) and Will Bowen UNC), and Alex Trippi (UNC). Warne struck again shortly after their upset loss to Delaware in the first round of the tournament.
8. Connor Buczek and Cornell
Cornell is all Buczek has known as the D1 level. After finishing his playing career in Ithaca, Buczek worked his way up from volunteer assistant to replacing Peter Milliman after he left for Johns Hopkins in 2020.
I listened to a handful of interviews this season with the 28-year-old coach. He is impressive and led the Big Red to a share of the Ivy League and to being a finalist in the national championship game in his first full season.
Buczek is one of the reasons why the future’s so bright in The Ivy League.
9. Nobody Likes the RPI
The RPI is rigged and doesn’t like the ACC. At least that seemed to be the mood on Twitter when the committee gave Virginia the only bid from the ACC to the tournament.
Sure ND looked hot toward the end of the year, but resumes mattered. Duke and ND both had too many bad losses and not enough wins to make the difference. Comparing their records, they should have split against one another and they both may have gotten in.
|Vermont, Delaware, Richmond
|Jacksonville, Penn, Loyola, Syracuse, ND (2x)
|Georgetown, Maryland, Ohio State, UVA
10. Tough Years at UNC and Chapel Hill
UNC and Syracuse added to the ACC woes. Tucker Dordevic and Chris Gray were both asked to carry their team. They are both elite and special talents but needed their teammates to at least play a supporting role.
Both teams have already had 2022 contributors leave to the portal. The ACC will need both teams to rebound to hope to capture multiple tournament bids in 2023.
11. Tourney First Timers: St. Joseph’s and Boston
It doesn’t get much better than seeing teams make the tournament for the first time. St. Joseph’s ended their NEC run in style, capturing the tournament championship for the first time in six tries. The Hawks stood up and gave Yale all they could handle before falling 18-16 in the first round.
BU was impressive all year. The Terriers had only one loss in the league and won the conference tournament to earn their first tournament bid. BU prepared itself by battling Yale, Princeton, and Harvard in the non-conference.
Their Tuesday Night Lights matchup against Harvard was an epic fight. Ryan Polley has the Terrier a force to be reckoned with in the years to come in the Patriot League.
12. Delaware Upsets Georgetown
How many of us had the Hoyas playing on Memorial Day for a chance to win the national championship? I’m not ashamed to say I did.
Ben De Luca and the Blue Hens had other plans. Delaware played an even 60 minutes and knocked off the #2 Hoyas.
13. Rutgers Final Four
It isn’t a stretch to say that the Scarlet Knights don’t have a winning tradition. Rutgers 2022 team was the first men’s program in any sport to reach a national semifinal since men’s soccer in 1990. Fencing last won a men’s national title back in 1949 (thanks for the stat Quint).
While we’re here, can RU play their home games at Yurcak field? The atmosphere for their first round game was electric. It’s exactly what our sport needs.
14. Brown, Princeton, and Harvard
We are used to Yale and Penn leading the charge in the Ivy League. It was the conference depth that helped secure the six bids for the conference. Brown, Princeton, and Harvard all had great years and the best may be ahead of them. Here is a quick preview.
Lacrosse was a game of runs. It was especially true for the Larken Kemp Wagon. After starting 1-1, they won four straight, lost three straight, won five straight then dropped their final two (Thank you Terry Foy). #GoBruno
Princeton missed out on the Ivy League tournament and regrouped to make a Memorial Day weekend run. Princeton’s offense benefited from a depth of scoring, with seven players having 20 or more goals on the season. The future is bright in New Jersey. Of the seven, Chris Brown was the only senior.
The Crimson had seven players with 20 or more points this season. Four were freshmen. Gerry Byrne has a Wicked Pissah brewing in Cambridge.
15. Jacksonville and Richmond
It’s too bad the SoCon is no longer sponsoring lacrosse. 2022 may have been its finest year. Jacksonville and Richmond were the class of the league.
Jacksonville could have made a team or two day’s difficult if they were given a chance in the tournament. The Dolphins are led by John Galloway, who like Buczek is young and seems destined for great things.
Galloway gave a number of interviews about the Duval culture he is building in Jacksonville this season. Max Waldbaum enjoyed it after transferring over from Tufts. Dylan Watson should be a nice piece for 2023.
Richmond took a big step in 2022. They knocked off the 2nd ranked Cavaliers in April and took Peen to the final minute in the first round. Dan Chemotti has prepared the Spiders by playing most of the teams in the ACC. The Spiders are one of the teams helping to raise the floor of D1 lacrosse.
16. Johns Hopkins Struggles
Millian brought in John Grant Jr. to run the offense. In two years, JHU’s offense has looked average, unable to run teams with equal or greater talent.
Junior stepped down at the end of the year. Jays Alumn John Crawley is trying to fix the Jays. He is a rising star in the coaching profession and has many Jays alums excited.
Milliman needs to turn things around. The blowout loss to the Terps in the rivalry shows how far the Jays have fallen behind their rivals.
Denver won the national championship in 2015. They had players from all over the United States and Canada. Since their championship, the Pioneers have missed the tournament twice, lost in the first round twice, and only once made one Final Four appearance.
The Pioneers face a daunting travel schedule with many of their road conference games a 4+ hour flight away on the East Coast. Denver is also losing ground to Georgetown, winners of four straight conference tournaments.
The offense has been good, but not as lethal as they were in the shot clock era. The Pio’s defense has been their Achilles heel. They have finished in the bottom ⅓ of the country in each of the last two years.
18. New Conferences
The ASun became the newest conference to sponsor college lacrosse in 2022. With teams stretching from Detroit to Salt Lake City. The conference will expand and welcome in Mercer, Jacksonville, Queens and Lindenwood for the 2023 season.
With the SoCon and NEC deciding to no longer sponsor college lacrosse after the 2022 season, the Atlantic 10 took their place and picked up teams for 2023. The new A10 should challenge the Patriot League and Big East for the top rung in the middle tier.
The conference will be made up of Hobart, UMass, St. Bonaventure, St. Joseph’s, High Point and Richmond. My hope is they come to their senses and also extend an invitation to Merrimack.
19. Stony Brook Shut Out by America East
Stony Brook finished 9-5 and second in the America East in 2022. Their reward? Season over April 30th, no conference tournament.
What did they do? Nothing. Stony Brook announced they were moving to the CAA for the 2023 season in January. The America East punished the lacrosse and all other spring sports teams by making them ineligible for the conference tournament.
The Sea Wolves were not going to win an at-large bid on their own and were dependent upon the conference tournament for a shot at the post season.
Shame on you America East.
20. Lindenwood and Queens University to D1
Next year the NCAA will have 75 Division 1 men’s lacrosse teams with the addition of Lindenwood University and Queens University.
Lindenwood is located in St. Charles, Missouri. The Lions were 12-4 this year in Division 2 and will compete in the ASun next season.
Queens university is located in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Royals were 12-5 this year in Division 2 and will compete in the ASun next season.
21. Coaching Carousel: St. John’s, Providence, UMass Lowell, NJIT, Bryant
The coaching carousel got off to a hot start with vacancies at five Northeastern universities. Here are my top two candidates if I am an AD looking for a job.
Sean Kirwain (UVA OC): The Cav’s OC has stops at Tufts, Brown, and UVA in his career. He has been with Lars for eight years. His name has been mentioned for a number of jobs, I thought he made sense in Providence too or…Tufts?
Casey D’ANnolfo (Tufts HC): The Tufts alum has done a masterful job since taking over for Mike Daly six years ago. He has a fun fast-paced offense and knows how to coach athletes that have a demanding academic schedule. If Milliman falters again in Baltimore, this might be the call.
22. The Fans
It was great having college lacrosse fans back in the stands for games in 2022. Thank you for a great season. I can’t wait until 2023.