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Division 1 Lacrosse Overreactions: February 17, 2022

Division 1 Lacrosse Overreactions is back! 

After such a successful round of overreactions last week, I decided to write about four more division 1 lacrosse overreactions from Week 1. There were too many good takes to pass up on this opportunity for a second week in a row.

Feel free to vote if you agree or disagree with these overreactions on the @LaxAllStars Instagram story.  

Loyola won’t make the NCAA tournament

Loyola didn’t just lose to Maryland, but they were absolutely man-handled. The Greyhounds were in over their head, and it was a disappointing opening to their 2022 season. Loyola was ranked #8 in the IL preseason poll and they fell six spots to #14. 

There’s reports that they underperformed in scrimmages against Richmond and Syracuse during the preseason. On one hand, they were just scrimmages and it’s unknown how long the starters played. But if those two scrimmages really went as poorly as reported plus the embarrassing loss against in-state rival Maryland, then maybe this Loyola team just doesn’t have it. 

The verdict: Not an overreaction 

Yes, it’s still February and there’s a lot of lacrosse left to be played. Loyola didn’t graduate many key contributors from last year, and they have the same core group that was only one goal shy from a trip to Championship Weekend. The problem is, the Patriot League is filled with dark horse teams. 

Lehigh has the best FOGO in the country in Mike Sisselberger, Army is led by Brendan Nichtern who is one of the best attackmen in the conference, and Navy is anchored by Jackson Bonitz and a strong defensive unit. There’s little room for error, and it’ll be much harder to earn an AQ this season with the return of the Ivy league.

I’m not pressing the panic button quite yet, but there is reason for concern in Baltimore.

Jacksonville will be ranked at the end of the season

The rise of Jacksonville has been one of the best storylines to follow through the early season. The Dolphins won their biggest game in program history on Sunday over #3 Duke, and the upset is the biggest we’ve seen in the young 2022 season.

The Dolphins are led by Max Wauldbaum, a graduate transfer from Tufts, who has made a seamless transition from division 3 to division 1 lacrosse. Wauldbaum has scored four or more goals in each of his first three games, and he leads the team in points. 

The verdict: Overreaction

There’s no doubt that Jacksonville has played like a Top 20 team, and they’ve been one of the biggest surprises in college lacrosse so far. The problem is they play in the SoCon and have to play against strong High Point and Richmond teams. There’s probably only going to be one SoCon team that finishes in the Top 20, and that will be the SoCon Champion. 

The Duke win was eye opening and noteworthy, but Duke is no stranger to losing against inferior opponents in February. The Blue Devils have lost a game in February in nine out of their last ten seasons, but those teams haven’t been overly successful later on in the season.

High Point defeated Duke in 2019 but the Panthers failed to win the SoCon after a disappointing loss to Richmond in the conference championship. The year before, Penn beat Duke in February but got demolished by Yale 21-6 in the Ivy semifinals. Historically speaking, Sunday’s game isn’t a great indicator for the rest of Jacksonville’s season. 

Risers in the Big Ten, Ivy, or Patriot league could jump into the Top 20 barring any minor slip up from Jacksonville. It’s not impossible, but far from likely that this Jacksonville team finishes the season in the Top 20. 

Rutgers has become Transfer U

Nobody has utilized the transfer portal like Rutgers as of late. Rutgers added eleven transfers in 2021, and another seven transfers this year. Not only are the Scarlet Knights bringing in all of this talent, but these players are getting lots of playing time and are big contributors. The most notable transfers from the 2021 team were the Kirst brothers, Connor and Colin, who chose to use their extra year of eligibility at Rutgers to honor their late father. Connor finished 2nd on the team in goals and points, while Colin won the starting goaltender job and finished as one of the best goalies in the country with a 57% save percentage. 

The verdict: NOT an overreaction

Rutgers had one of their most successful seasons in program history last year; they advanced to the Division 1 Lacrosse NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004, and won their first tournament game since 1990. Rutgers lost in the quarterfinals in an overtime thriller to #1 North Carolina. This success shouldn’t be solely credited to the transfer class, but they played a major role in these accomplishments.

Rutgers has played three games thus far, and the 2022 transfer class is loaded with instant impact players. Three of the top six scorers are 2022 transfers. Mitch Bartolo (Penn) is a huge attackman standing 6’6″ 238 lbs and he is tied with Ross Scott for the most goals (10) on the team. Brian Cameron (North Carolina) missed the season opener due to injury, but is averaging 3.5 points per game. Ronan Jacoby (Wesleyan) is another dynamic attackman who has a cannon for an outside shot. Bryant Boswell (Bucknell) has 5 GB’s and is in the LSM rotation, and Brian Ward (Yale) transferred last year but redshirted due to an injury sustained in practice. Ward is expected to return to the field soon. 

Rutgers might find it harder to recruit top tier high school players due to the influx of transfers, but that hasn’t stopped them yet. Shane Knobloch was named the Big-Ten Freshman of the Year in 2021, and Canadian Dante Kulas is off to a strong freshman campaign. It’s not impossible for underclassmen to see the field, but welcoming eighteen transfers over the last two seasons doesn’t make it any easier.

Virginia has the worst uniforms in college lacrosse

I’m no fashionista, but these Virginia uniforms are just flat out awful. I’m not usually bothered by a bad set of uniforms, but the fact that the Cavs had some of the cleanest uniforms in lacrosse and abandoned them for these is a real head scratcher. I don’t know who designed and approved these jerseys, but the people in charge did a horrible job. I just feel bad for the players. They won back-to-back NCAA championships, and they’ve been rewarded with this flaming garbage. C’mon now. 

The verdict: NOT an overreaction

Virginia’s social media team can flaunt their new gear all they want, but they’re not fooling anyone. UVA has taken some heavy criticism over their new jerseys from lax twitter. 

These uniforms just don’t work at all. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Maybe the Cavs are getting a headstart on excuses if they don’t three-peat. I don’t think Virginia can win another championship until they fix these uniforms. Trash!