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Alphabetical 2014 NCAA D1 Preview: Detroit

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 Detroit Titans, located in Detroit, MI.

2012 saw Detroit break onto the scene with a 6-9 record, but the Titans struggled to score goals at times. In 2013 Detroit brought back some talent and as predicted, Mike Birney had a breakout season. Although the Titans’ record wasn’t superb at 5-10, they did click when it counted as they won the last three games before the NCAAs to take the MAAC Championship. They lost in the first round to Notre Dame 9-7 after giving the Irish a serious scare.

Detroit has changed their schedule a bit, and in my opinion, 2014 presents a very different slate of games, and probably a notably lower SOS. Detroit’s toughest game might be Bellarmine, so the Titans most likely need to win the MAAC if they want to go back to the NCAAs.

Of course winning the MAAC isn’t out of the question! As defending champs, you have to give the Titans some respect. But since everyone will be gunning for them, they will need some talent as well. And they have it. Did you score more than 6 points for Detroit last year? Well, you’re back for 2014. Mike Birney, Alex Maini, Scott Drummond, and Tom Masterson lead the way in returning points but Detroit has plenty of other capable players like Shayne Jackson and Brandon Beauregard to provide depth and added scoring punch. With a sold freshman class, Detroit should be even more dangerous on offense.

AJ Level is gone in goal, but Chris Kelly returns with some experience and potential. There are three more goalies on Detroit’s roster, so look for some possible starting job competition in that key spot. Another key opening is at LSM. Jordan Houtby was a GB machine and a great athlete, and with his departure, Detroit has a definite hole to fill, and they have four rangy players on the roster to choose from. This is another spot for a potential battle.

Damien Hicks took the majority of the team’s draws last year and won just over 52%. He’s back this year which Detroit a solid base at midfield. There is also some experience on defense with Paul Bitetti and Chris Shevins. Joe Gifford and Jordan Yano could see more time, or some younger faces could join the conversation.

Detroit has a strong returning core of offensive players, but they will need to figure out their goalie and LSM situations quickly. There is a lack of defensive depth at Detroit that concerns me, and if injuries hit I wouldn’t be surprised to see some midfielders convert. They have 11 or 12 poles, but they also have about 20 middies. Face offs should be solid, and if the Titans can build themselves up over the course of the season they can make a run at the MAAC, and another appearance in the NCAAs.

For more NCAA D1 Lacrosse coverage, check out Alphabetical 2013 NCAA D1 Preview: Air ForceAlbanyArmyBellarmineBinghamtonBostonBrownBryantBucknellCanisiusColgate,  CornellDartmouth, and Delaware.