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Alphabetical 2014 NCAA D1 Preview: Vermont

The NCAA D1 season is now underway! During the first couple of weeks of lacrosse season we’ll be finishing up the Alphabetical 2014 NCAA D1 Previews! Like last year, we are going through all of the D1 men’s teams for 2014 (there are 67 this year!) and we are now moving on to the Vermont Catamounts, located in Burlington, VT, where the mountains are green, and the cats are named Rally!

Over the last few years, UVM has decided to support their lacrosse team in a more serious way. There is no football team, and they dropped baseball last year. With their strong ice hockey program (and existing ability to draw Canadians over the border for school), Vermont should be a surprise national power, but the Catamounts never seem to measure up to expectations.

Back in 2006, the Cats went 9-6 while playing a weak schedule. From there, the wins have become more and more rare. A 6-9 season in 2011 gave hope that the program was turning around, but a 2-12 season the next year and a 4-10 record last year didn’t validate those hopes. Is 2014 the year that Vermont really starts competing, drawing in top talent, and making waves in D1 lacrosse?

Vermont plays Albany in the America East, but other than that there is just not a lot to say about their schedule. It’s pretty weak. Colgate is the season opener, and Richmond gave UVA a scare, so those could be good games. Providence is also a team on the rise, so that’s a good barometer game. Vermont also plays Dartmouth, BU, Wagner, VMI, and Sacred Heart. If UVM is looking to just get their win totals up, this is the year to do it. They should be able to compete in every game but one (Albany). Now, will they compete? That’s a different story.

Since UVM’s Head Coach, Ryan Curtis, is a defensive guy, let’s start there. Sophomore Justin Rosenberg returns in goal, and I thought he good moments last year. As he matures and continues to improve, UVM should be able to ride his consistency to more wins. Derek Braig will lead the D surrounding Rosenberg and Braig can really do it all. GBs, turnovers, you name it, Braig is solid. If guys like Ethan Kitchel have improved and solidified, UVM could be tough and dangerous down low.

On the other end of the field Grahamn Horvath will lead the way when it comes to scoring, but there are some guys around him who should be able to get the job done. 2014 seems to be a year where UVM doesn’t want start players, just lots of guys who can get it done in different ways. It’s an interesting approach, and if guys like Mark D’Anthony can diversify his game, it could work. I like Coach Curtis’ approach here as he is working with what he can get.

Check out this video preview from UVM which does a good job of showcasing the team’s predicament this season:

To get an even better idea of what UVM will look like this year, check out the video from their scrimmage with Brown:

Overall, UVM is trying some new stuff, and taking a fresh look at things. I’m glad to hear it, and with their relatively easy schedule we could see them conceivably double their 4-win total from last year. Of course that means this new approach needs to work!

For more NCAA D1 Lacrosse team coverage, check out Alphabetical 2013 NCAA D1 Preview: Air ForceAlbanyArmyBellarmineBinghamtonBostonBrownBryantBucknellCanisius,
GeorgetownHartfordHarvardHigh PointHobartHofstraHoly CrossJacksonvilleJohns_HopkinsLafayetteLehighLoyolaManhattanMaristMarquette,
Robert_MorrisRutgersSacred_HeartSaint_Joseph’s,SienaSt. John’sStony_BrookSyracuseTowson, and UMBC.