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Alphabetical 2014 NCAA D1 Preview: Cornell

We’re back with the Alphabetical 2014 NCAA D1 Previews! Like last year, we’ll go through all of the D1 men’s teams for 2014 (there are 67 this year!) and we are now moving on to the Cornell Big Red, located in Ithaca, NY.

2013 was a great year for the Cornell Big Red, but it ended in a heartbreaking loss to the Duke Blue Devils in the NCAA Tournament, which also ended the careers of stars like Steve Mock and Rob Pannell. This offseason has also been troublesome for Cornell, because of the surprise firing of their coach, Ben DeLuca, and an off the field hazing incident that ended their fall season abruptly. Despite these off the field issues, and a huge loss of talent from 2013’s graduating class, Cornell will still have many gifted players on the field in 2014.

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan

Attack: Superstars Rob Pannell and Steve Mock, debatably the best tandem in college lacrosse (Thompson Trio, that’s one more) last season, have been lost to graduation. However, last year’s third starter was Matt Donovan. Donovan is now a junior, and the former Ivy League Rookie of the Year will be the #1 attackman in Ithaca. Donovan scored 27 goals and dished out 8 assists. Finishing many of Donovan’s feeds will be Canadian senior Dan Lintner, who is a great shooter in close quarters. The third spot is up for grabs among three players who all had limited action last year: Sophomore Sean Doyle, and Juniors Erik Turner and Jack Molloy. Despite the huge losses of Pannell and Mock, Donovan can lead this group to success.

NCAA Men's Lacrosse Division 1 Quaterfinals_ Ohio State vs Cornell

Midfield: Yet again, two great players have graduated at this position, Connor English and Max Van Bourgondien. However, Junior Connor Buczek is the best midfielder on the team this year after having a very succesful year in 2013. Last season, Buczek registered 35 goals and 18 assists. However, much of the midfield is still up in the air. Junior John Hogan is a talented offensive player who had ten goals last year, and Joe Paoletta is a career d-mid who is looking to get some offensive runs this year. Chris Cook, another junior, saw some time with the second midfield last season. At SSDM, Senior Mike O’Neil will be a key player. Joining him will be Tufts transfer Tim LaBeau.

LSM: After the graduation of Thomas Keith, Connor Hunt – who can also play close – will likely be the go to guy at this position. Hunt has good on ball defending skills, and will be pushed for time by freshman Marshall Peters.

FOGO: Returning starter Doug Tesoriero has been solid every year for the Big Red, winning 58% of his draws. A senior, Tesoriero will continue to be a stud on a team that needs leadership.

Defense: The leader of the defense in 2014 will be Senior Tom Freshour, who registered 40 groundballs and 19 caused turnovers last season. Freshour has been a starter for years, and will be joined by fellow returning starter Jordan Stevens. Stevens played well down the stretch last year, and recorded 41 groundballs and 23 caused turnovers. The third spot could go to the aforementioned Hunt, or Junior Mike Huttner. Also in the mix is Sophomore Tony Britton.

Goalie: AJ Fiore graduated last year, so the spot in cage is open. It is difficult to project a starter since the fall season was ended early for Cornell, and all kept on campus. However, it will likely either be Brennan Donville or Will Joyce.

Overall: There are many question marks surrounding Cornell’s team this year. They have had some off the field issues, and have suffered some significant losses at almost every position, including their Head Coach, Ben DeLuca, who was let go this Fall. There is a lot of work to be done at Cornell if the team hopes to repeat last year’s success and it’s going to be an uphill battle in the deep Ivy League.

For more NCAA D1 Lacrosse coverage, check out Alphabetical 2013 NCAA D1 Preview: Air ForceAlbanyArmyBellarmineBinghamtonBoston UniversityBrownBryant, Bucknell, Canisius, and Colgate.