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Alphabetical 2014 NCAA D1 Preview: Lafayette

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 Lafayette Leopards, located in Easton, PA.

Lafayette went 3-10 in 2012, hired a new Head Coach in Jim Rogalski, and then went 3-10 in 2013 during Rogalski’s first season. Now that it’s year two under the new Coach, Lafayette is looking to step things up in the Patriot League and beyond. Aside from the Leopards 14-5 loss to Lehigh to close out last year, and losses to Army (15-6) and Bucknell (13-6), Lafayette was competitive. Seven of their losses were by 4 goals or less, and their wins were also tight, with one goal victories over Georgetown and High Point (2 OT). Lafayette’s biggest win came over Wagner, 13-9.

If Lafayette wants to see success in 2014, they will need to tighten things up a bit more, win additional face offs, and score more goals on average. They need consistency and depth to do so. Does Rogalski have Lafayette headed in the right direction? The Patriot is a little tougher with Loyola added in, but Lafayette’s schedule is no harder than it was in 2012. Relatively speaking, Lafayette has a low strength of schedule.

The good news for Lafayette comes on offense, where they return all four of the guys who scored at least 20 points last year. Morgan Westby, Sonny Round, Brian Bock, and Kevin Wanke all return. John Floyd, Cory Scheuerle, and Jake Mann each notched at least 7 points last year, and Lafayette has some experience on the offensive end. They also has pretty solid younger classes with good size, from solid lacrosse programs. I’m interested to see who emerges as a real face off guy for the Leopards. This could be an area of concern for the program.

In goal, it will likely be Jake Hyatt, but there could be a battle for the starting spot in net coming from Ben Falcone. Lafayette started a ton of juniors (in net and on D) and making sense of their 2014 line up at this point seems nearly impossible as the team has brought in some good younger players. Brendan Gover is an undersized LSM, but he’s an experienced player and a team captain this year. Look for him to lead the way on D, and expect Mike Gallone to run the short stick corps. Matt Evans will also provide leadership on the defensive end, and provides good toughness for the long pole crew.

Overall I think Lafayette has more seasoned and experienced team, and they return a lot of good talent. If they can plug up a couple of holes (face offs), get better depth down low and in the midfield, and be a little more consistent on defense, the Leopards can certainly improve on their 3-10 record of a year ago. I don’t know if they’re ready to take down Loyola or Bucknell yet, but they’ll be more competitive, and that’s a good step.

For more NCAA D1 Lacrosse coverage, check out Alphabetical 2013 NCAA D1 Preview: Air ForceAlbanyArmyBellarmineBinghamtonBostonBrownBryantBucknellCanisius,
Colgate,  CornellDartmouthDelawareDetroitDrexelDukeFairfieldFurman,
GeorgetownHartfordHarvardHigh PointHobartHofstraHoly CrossJacksonville, and Johns Hopkins.