LAS has already given you guys the break down of the Preseason NCAA DI Rankings. It’s my turn to take a crack at the DII world. These are my rankings based on records, stats, players and coaches. Not to be confused with USILA or the coaches poll.
The past few season Adelphi has been knocking at the door to be the big dog in the DII world – coming within seconds of winning a national championship in 2011. However they are seated low in my rankings due to graduation. Adelphi grated its top two scorers in Danny Blau and Joe Vitale. Vitale served as not only as the quarterback of the offense but the guiding light of the team.
I’m sure the Panthers are happy that Vitale has found a home in the MLL but are sad to see their leading scorer leave. Adelphi has a strong coaching staff lead by head coach Gordon Purdie and will rack up wins this season, but without scoring talent like Vitale the Panthers will find themselves at the bottom of the top ten.
#9 C.W. Post
CW Post usually reins as a perennial powerhouse, but has an uncharacteristic 6-6 record last season. The Pioneers lost 4 straight games in the middle of the season which ended any playoff hopes. However, 3 of the 4 losses did come to top 10 teams. There is a light at the end of the tunnel for Post – Coach John Jez is no stranger to success and he will get his team back on top. With some talent coming down the pipeline, look for Post to go above .500 this season and possibly make a run for the playoffs.
#8 Chestnut Hill
A very young program that has exceeded expectations since its inception in 2010. Head Coach Brian Dougherty molded a brand new program into a legitimate threat. The past three season Chestnut Hill has been quietly knocking off top ten teams here and there. Last season Chestnut Hill finished a respectable 8-6. It isn’t easy to start a new program that competes in the ECC, but Chestnut Hill has done fairly well. Now they are trying to get to the top.
Mike Melnychenko is a dynamic player and a scoring machine. The team has matured and finally has a solid group of returning upperclassmen that will lead them to success. With Mercyhurst leaving the ECC Chestnut Hill should look to solidify itself as a top team in the conference.
I might get a lot of flack for this one, but Limestone graduated 2 of its 3 top scorers including Shayne Jackson. They return Riley Lowen, but a majority of Lowen’s goals came from Jackson’s assists. Taking the most dangerous weapon in DII out of the equation will yield less results. Limestone usually receives a good amount of JUCO transfers – players that have game experience and can make an impact right away.
The Saints have ruled the southern landscape ever since the Roman empire – not really but you get the idea. Just because they lose a lot of their scoring doesn’t mean they are going to lose the South. They are the only team from the southern region in the top 10. Chances are they will stay in the middle of the pack this season but find themselves in a playoff spot as they do every year.
Ever since their 2008 National Championship, NYIT as been itching to get back to Championship weekend. They are one of the top teams in the ECC and are always in the playoff discussion. Brandon Gamblin had a standout freshman year and is a do-it-all middie. He is the type of player that you can build a team around. If Gamblin can get enough support NYIT should have another winning season and looked to take home the ECC crown. They will have a tough road, but the team is battle ready and knows how to win.
#5 Seton Hill
This is the team that I am most excited about for the 2013 season. Climbing up the ranks in the ECC, Seton Hill is no longer an underdog but rather a powerful threat. Seton Hill’s offense is no laughing matter – the top three returning scorers for the Griffins all averaged over 3 PPG last season.
Matt Delmonico is one of the best players in the country. He finished only 3 points behind Shayne Jackson and Delmonico played in a much tougher conference. Delmonico averaged an astounding 4.25 PPG, good for second best in all of DII. Seton Hill’s strength is their offense, if they can build up their defense they have a shot to make the playoffs.
The defending national champions start the season not ranked #1. They graduated their leading offensive threat in Vito DeMola, but it wasn’t just DeMola they brought them a ring. Head Coach Tim Boyle has compiled a 114-51 record in 12 years at Dowling. Boyle is the reason why Dowling wins year in and year out. Dowling as seen great players come through their system, but Boyle is one of the best coaches in DII.
Last season, Boyle was finally able to take home a National Championship trophy and no doubt he wants another. Last season Dowling only had two losses that came from Mercyhurst and Limestone, but Dowling avenged both those losses by beating Mercyhurst in the semifinals and Limestone in the championship game. A powerhouse team every year, Dowling will look to take the ECC title and make another run for Championship Weekend.
It was tough putting Merrimack above Dowling, but Merrimack another one of those dominate teams every year and I think this year they may get their shot. Merrimack return their two leading scorers in Greg Melaugh and Corey Lunney. Not only are they the team’s top scorers but they are two of the top scorers in the nation – Melaugh averaging 4.38 PPG and Lunney 3.69.
If there was any year that Merrimack can win it all it is this year. They have a tough conference with Adelphi and LeMoyne, but they have beaten those teams in the past. I predict Merrimack wins the NE-10 tournament and gets a spot in the playoffs this year.
One of the most dominate teams in the last decade – LeMoyne has only lost 12 games in the past 10 years. Countless NCAA appearances and 3 NCAA championships. LeMyone posted a 17-1 record last year and will without a doubt post a similar record this year. The defense has been anchoring the team for the past few season, but has been lacking on the offensive end.
The Dolphins’ offense will be lead by Tyler Prevost, who racked up 54 points last season. LeMoyne will control the NE-10 this year except for Merrimack who seems to have the Dolphins’ number. Strong goal tending and defense will lead the charge in 2013, remember defense wins championships.
After posting the schools first undefeated reaular season, the Lakers made an early first round exit in the playoffs. The Lakers were downed by ECC rival Dowling in a hung upset overtime loss. The Lakers return all members of their starting defensive unit – a group that had the 2nd best defense in the nation. They also return attackman Brian Scheetz, who became the school’s all-time leading scorer last season.
The Lakers offense spreads the ball around which creates for wide variety of scoring options. The back end is as strong and ever and will be the backbone of the team this year. Expect head coach Chris Ryan, and the rest of the Laker squad to have a big chip on their shoulder after losing in the NCAA semi’s last season.
Feel differently on these NCAA D2 Rankings? Have at it in the comments!