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Alphabetical 2014 NCAA D1 Preview: Holy Cross

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 Holy Cross Crusaders, located in Worcester, MA.

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan

Holy Cross battled to a 7-8 record last year, and kept the games relatively close whether they were winning or losing. 7-8 was a great year for Holy Cross (their best season since 1988) and they are hoping to step it up this season. One goal wins over Dartmouth, Rutgers, and Lafayette definitely help the Crusaders have a solid year, and tight losses (three goals or less) to St. John’s, Lehigh, and Providence give hope for 2014.

James Kennedy, Miles Gillespia, and John Hannan are gone, but Holy Cross returns a lot of their 2013 scoring with a lot of that talent residing in the midfield. Clay Haarmann, Terry McKenna, Conor Shanahan, and Matt Smith all return. They give the team good experience on offense, and through the midfield. Haarmann and Shanahan will lead the way for the attack, and McKenna and Smith should excel in the midfield. The Crusaders will need some younger guys to step in and play right away though. I’m interested to see if Kevin Lux or Sean Kirkpatrick can find time and make a difference.

Defensively, Holy Cross returns a lot of experience, and should see an improved performance on that end of the field in 2014. Reed Kennedy, Tripper Gandy, and Tanner Powers all return on D after playing a lot in 2013 and seeing some success. D-mids have limited experience, but could be solid. Holy Cross also has some good options at LSM, and could be ok in that department.

Michael Ortleib started 11 games in net last year and returns as a sophomore after a good 2013 campaign. Two more sophomores join Ortleib on the roster. Tim Pond took the largest share of face offs last year, but 4 guys got a chance. Of those 4, Tyler Purdue is back as a Junior. He will be joined by two freshmen FoGos. Holy Cross could use to see some improvements on face offs.

Overall, I like Holy Cross’s core. They have a couple good offensive guys, and some tested guys on D. My concern is with face offs, and more importantly, depth. Teams need more than 12-15 guys who can play to see sustainable success. If a couple of Holy Cross players get hurt, the team’s fortunes could change quickly. I like Holy Cross to compete once again, but without a number of freshmen contributing right away I think it will be another year of close games, but more losses than wins.

For more NCAA D1 Lacrosse coverage, check out Alphabetical 2013 NCAA D1 Preview: Air ForceAlbanyArmyBellarmineBinghamtonBostonBrownBryantBucknellCanisius,
Colgate,  CornellDartmouthDelawareDetroitDrexelDukeFairfieldFurman,
GeorgetownHartfordHarvardHigh PointHobart, and Hofstra.