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College Lacrosse Midseason Awards: 2022

The following is an opinion article by Aiden Chitkara. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent Lax All Stars as a publication. 

The 2022 season has quickly reached its midpoint, and the time feels right to publish my midseason teams. Before diving in I’d like to note these teams are representative of what’s happened so far this season. For example, Jack Hannah is obviously one of the best midfielders in the country. Nobody denies it, but his play has been very inconsistent, and he had a brutal shooting percentage to start the season (3-39 7.6%). He’s certainly improved throughout the year, but it would be foolish to put him on the 1st team like he was in the preseason. 

It may be hypocritical relating to my earlier comment regarding events that have happened this season, but after lots of consideration I decided to label Tucker Dordevic as a midfielder. I understand he’s played attack for the majority of the season, but he’s simply too good to be left off the 1st team. And hey, Sam Handley has bounced back and forth between attack and midfield this season, and I’m sure voters will denote him as a midfielder for the same reasons as Dordevic.

I might be a little too high on Saam Olexo, but the sophomore LSM has dazzled in 2022. Olexo traded his pole for a short stick and played SSDM for the Orange in 2021 due to injuries from Brendan Avilles and Dami Oladunmoye, but he’s transitioned back to LSM this season. Olexo reminds me of Scott Ratliff – an intimidating pole who isn’t afraid to spark transition. He doesn’t possess the size of a typical D1 LSM, but he makes up for it with quick feet and underrated strength. Olexo has scored 3 goals off just 5 shots this season. It won’t surprise me if Olexo wears the historic #11 sometime over the next two years.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of everyone on the 1st team and probably 2nd team too. If you’re reading this article you’re no novice to this sport. You’ll notice that there is an extensive list of honorable mentions after the third team. I’ve decided to create this lengthy list to recognize the players who won’t get loads of attention but are still deserving nonetheless. All eleven conferences are included, and I’m sure that won’t be the case in other media polls. Without further ado, below is my list of midseason awards.

MVP: Connor Shellenberger (Virginia)

Connor Schellenberger is my first half MVP. There are zero weaknesses to his game, and he is currently 3rd in the nation in points per game. The do-it-all attackman has impressed all season, and he’s been one of the most consistent players in the nation scoring 5 or more points in all eight games. One of his most impressive stats is his assist-to-turnover ratio (2.07). His 29 assists are even more impressive compared to just 14 turnovers on the season. Only Logan Wisnauskis has a higher assist-to-turnover ratio among players who have 20+ assists.

Offensive: Chris Gray (North Carolina)

The Heels aren’t the same dominating force like they were in 2021, but it hasn’t affected Chris Gray’s production. In fact, he’s actually been more productive than he was in 2021 despite losing stars like Tanner Cook, Will Perry, and Justin Anderson. All three midfielders turned pro last summer, and the Carolina midfield is mediocre at best in 2022. Gray is the alpha of this inexperienced North Carolina offense, and he’s averaging 6.33 PPG (2nd in D1) which is an increase from his 5.6 PPG last year. He’s shouldered the burden and he’s willed this Carolina team to key wins all season. Gray is playing a similar role to his breakout 2019 season at Boston University when he led D1 with 111 points which ranks 12th all-time. The consensus #1 overall pick in the upcoming PLL draft has lived up to the hype.

Defensive: Will Bowen (Georgetown)

Does this surprise anyone? Sure, players like Brett Makar, Cole Kastner, and breakout star Gavin Adler have been sensational this year, but none of them have made an impact quite like Will Bowen. The graduate transfer was recognized as a first team All-American last year, and he’s continued to play at that level in a Hoya uniform. Bowen has helped lead Georgetown to be the #1 most efficient defensive unit in the country (23.3%), and he leads the Hoyas with 16 caused turnovers.

Keep in mind that Will Bowen technically has two more years of eligibility remaining. Bowen missed his freshman season due to a torn ACL, his sophomore season didn’t affect his eligibility due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so 2021 was his first official year in the eyes of NCAA eligibility. Bowen graduated from North Carolina in three years, and he is currently pursuing a masters in Finance at Georgetown. A Georgetown masters degree can take anywhere between two and five years. The PLL will be waiting for Bowen once he decides to end his college career, but that timeline is gray. 

Specialist: Zach Cole (Saint Joseph’s)

This selection was pretty easy. If St. Joseph’s makes the NCAA tournament, I could argue that there’s no player more valuable to their team than Zach Cole is for the Hawks. He’s a total game changer, and earns St. Joe’s countless extra possessions. Cole has unargubally been the #1 face off man in the country this season with a mind-blowing .762 win percentage. St. Joseph’s has a graduate school, and it is currently unknown if he’ll stay for a 5th year. Whatever path Cole chooses, he’ll certainly get plenty of PLL as the draft approaches. 

Rookie: Connor Davis (Bucknell)

My midseason rookie of the year goes to Connor Davis. The 6’4 attackman out of Bullis has burst onto the scene leading the freshman class with 4.3 points per game. Davis was underrecruited and didn’t even make Inside Lacrosse’s top 100 rankings. The freshman phenom has been sensational, and he’s currently tied with Chris Gray with 35 goals which ranks him second in the nation. 

I had a chance to watch him live against Boston University and he’s the real deal. Teams are quick to slide against Davis, and defenses have even shut him off on extra man opportunities. Davis has been one of the biggest surprises of the 2022 season, and he’s elevated Bucknell from 2-6 in 2021 to a seven win program through March. Connor Davis isn’t going anywhere. 

1st Team All-Americans

A: Connor Shellenberger (Virginia)

A: Chris Gray (UNC)

A:  Logan Wisnauskas (Maryland)

M: Sam Handley (Penn)

M: Jonathan Donville (Maryland)

M: Tucker Dordevic (Syracuse)

FO: Zach Cole (St. Joseph’s)

SSDM: Roman Puglise (Maryland)

LSM: Ryan McNulty (Loyola)

D: Will Bowen (Georgetown)

D: Brett Makar (Maryland)

D: Gavin Adler (Cornell)

G: Owen McElroy (Georgetown)

2nd Team All-Americans

A: Brendan Nichtern (Army)

A: Jack Myers (Ohio State)

A: Josh Zawada (Michigan)

M: Graham Bundy Jr. (Georgetown)

M: Matt Campbell (Villanova)

M: Patrick Skalniak (Navy)

FO: Luke Wierman (Maryland)

SSDM: Zach Geddes (Georgetown)

LSM: Saam Olexo (Syracuse)

D: Jackson Bonitz (Navy)

D: Cole Kastner (Virginia)

D: Arden Cohen (Notre Dame)

G: Colin Kirst (Rutgers)

3rd Team All-Americans

A: Brennan O’Neill (Duke)

A: Max Wauldbaum (Jacksonville)

A: Asher Nolting (High Point)

M: Alex Trippi (Georgetown)

M: Jacob Greiner (Jacksonville)

M: Jack Hannah (Denver)

FO: Mike Sisselberger (Lehigh)

SSDM: Payton Rezanka (Loyola)

LSM: Ethan Rall (Rutgers)

D: Gibson Smith (Georgetown)

D: Cade Saustad (Virginia)

D: Bobby Van Buren (Ohio State)

G: Mike Adler (Duke)

All-Rookie Team

A: Connor Davis (Bucknell)

A: CJ Kirst (Cornell)

A: Sam King (Harvard)

M: Andrew Macadorey (Duke)

M: Griffin Schultz (Virginia)

M: Max Semple (Drexel)

FO: Will Coletti (Army)

SSDM: Noah Chizmar (Virginia)

LSM: Jack Stuzin (Yale)

D: Bobby Van Buren (Ohio state)

D: A.J Pilate (Army)

D: Paul Barton (North Carolina)

G: Matthew Nunes (Virginia)

Honorable Mentions

A: Matt Moore (Virginia)

A: Pat Kavanaugh (Notre Dame)

A: Ross Scott (Rutgers)

A: Brayden Mayea (High Point)

A: Vince D’Alto (Boston U)

A: Connor Davis (Bucknell)

A: Keegan Khan (Maryland)

A: Dylan Gergar (Penn)

A: Matt Brandeau (Yale)

A: Mitch Bartolo (Rutgers)

A: Mike Robinson (Delaware)

A: Alex Slusher (Princeton)

A: Dylan Pallonetti (Stony Brook)

M: Jackson Reid (Ohio State)

M: Brendan Curry (Syracuse)

M: Jake Cates (Boston U)

M: Jake Rosa (St. Bonaventures)

M: Anthony DeMaio (Maryland)

M: Xander Dickson (Virginia)

M: Kevin Tobin (UMass)

FO: Justin Inacio (Ohio State)

FO: Jake Naso (Duke)

FO: Alek Stathekis (Denver)

FO: Petey Lasalla (Virginia)

SSDM: Connor Maher (North Carolina)

SSDM: Bubba Fairman (Maryland)

LSM: Malik Sparrow (Denver)

LSM: Andrew Song (Princeton)

LSM: Roy Meyer (Boston U)

LSM: Greg Campisi (Harvard) 

LSM: BJ Farrare (Penn)

LSM: Matt Wright (North Carolina)

D: Jaryd Jean-Felix (Rutgers)

D: Brett Kennedy (Syracuse)

D: Kenny Brower (Duke)

D George Baugh (Princeton)

D: Quentin Carlise (Air Force)

D: A.J Pilate (Army)

D: Ajax Zappitello (Maryland)

G: Matt Garber (Boston U)

G: Daniel Hinks (Dartmouth)

G: Brett Dobson (St. Bonaventures)

G: Matthew Nunes (Virginia)

G: Liam Entenmann (Notre Dame)

G: Conner Theriault (Brown)