As the NCAA D1 Men’s Lacrosse Tournament is now underway, many fans are still coming to grips with their teams not being part of the fun while others are learning about new matchups for their squad that they may not be as familiar with. So to help everyone out, here’s a listing of every team that will be playing this weekend with a key player or two that you should pay attention to this D1 Men’s Lacrosse Tournament.
Princeton: Chris Brown
For the Tigers, look no further than Chris Brown. How come? The first time Princeton took on Boston University this season, Brown (29G, 34A) had a dominant seven assist outing on a total of 12 goals. To say he’s a big part of the offense is an understatement, but with the stakes much higher this time around he will need a repeat performance if the Tigers hope to move on.
Boston University: Roy Meyer + Timmy Ley
On the flip side is BU’s Roy Meyer. The main reason to point to him is that here we are at the start of the tournament and Meyer has managed to lead the entire country in caused turnovers per game with 3.38. That also includes three against Princeton in their first meeting. While Meyer will be big, don’t overlook Timmy Ley on the other end of the field. In their first meeting against Princeton, he had just one goal and one assist, far from his 4.62 points per game average.
Penn: Patrick Burkinshaw
The easy answer for Penn would be Sam Handley. One of the best middies running in the tournament, but Penn’s success will absolutely hinge on goalie Patrick Burkinshaw. Statistically, he is the goalie in the tournament with the most saves per game, averaging 13.85, good for fourth best in the country overall. If he can keep up at that rate, Penn is going to have a good shot at Championship weekend.
Richmond: Ryan Lanchbury
For Richmond, it all comes down to attackman Ryan Lanchbury. He holds the program record for both goals, points, and assists. He also is in the running for nearly every postseason award out there. So yes, he is absolutely critical to everything Richmond will want to do in this tournament. He also happens to be eighth in the country in points per game with 5.2.
Yale: Matt Brandau
The Elis are much different than the last time they made a championship weekend run which featured a 9-13 loss to Virginia in 2019, but some of the key pieces remain. For example, the leading scorer for Yale in that championship game was none other than Matt Brandau with three goals. Brandau has kept up his scoring ways and sits at third in the country in goals per game with a 3.47 average over the season. If they want to bounce back after a canceled 2020 and idle 2021, he will be central to what they do.
Saint Joseph’s: Zach Cole
Saint Joseph’s has made their first ever NCAA tournament, and if they want to avoid an early exit, it will hinge on the success of Zach Cole taking faceoffs. Cole is nothing new in the NCAA. He’s been one of the best for years, but he currently leads the country in both faceoff win percentage and ground balls. So if Saint Joseph’s wants to add its name the list of upsets in NCAA lore, you can guarantee that controlling possessions will be a huge factor.
Brown: Ryan Aughavin
For Brown, they may not have had the same season-long attention as their other Ivy League buddies, but they still worked their way to the top of the league and hosted the Ivy League tournament. A big reason why is midfielder Ryan Aughavin, who was a first team All-Ivy selection and is second on the team in points with 41. No small feat for a middie in this league.
Virginia: Connor Shellenberger
This feels alike a copout, but I’m going with it anyway. If UVA wants to secure the threepeat, look no further than Connor Shellenberger as their key to that success. I may be somewhat influenced by his efforts last year to bring their title defense back to Charlottesville, but his 2.86 assists per game this season are not only good, but it’s just further proof that last year was no fluke. He has a lot of hype to live up to, but there is very little reason to think he won’t.
Vermont: Thomas McConvey
The America East was in a down year, and Vermont definitely failed to meet their preseason expectations early on, but they turned things around. A big reason why is midfielder Thomas McConvey. Vermont is another one of the rare teams where a middie actually leads the team in scoring with 73 points off of 60 goals and 13 assists. If they’re going score an upset, it will hinge on McConvey having a big game.
Maryland: Logan Wisnauskas
Let’s be totally honest. Trying to highlight just a single key player to Maryland’s success is about as pointless as a lacrosse ball. Maryland’s key to success is going to be on the shoulders of the guy wearing the No.1 jersey, Logan Wisnauskas. Coming off of his first overall pick in the PLL draft and currently, Wisnauskas is currently sitting at fourth in the NCAA in goals per game with 3.43. Wisnauskas is what makes the rest of Maryland work. If they want to cap off a rare undefeated season with a championship, No.1 will have to lead the Terrapins through the D1 Men’s Lacrosse Tournament.
Cornell: Gavin Adler
Right ahead of Wisnauskas in the list of NCAA goals per game is the Big Red’s John Piatelli with 3.53. A big question for Cornell going into this year was how Piatelli would handle the offense without guys like Teat or Donville hanging around. The answer is pretty darn well. For me, the big key will be on the other end of the field with Gavin Adler. Adler seemingly has more hype than almost any defender since Chris Fake in Yale’s 2018 title run. Piatelli scoring is important, but Adler being able to neutralize whoever he faces on the other team is massive.
Ohio State: Jack Myers
THE Ohio State is still on a search to return to Championship Weekend after several years since their last appearance. If they’re going to make it back, it will hinge on the country’s fourth best feeder (assists per game) Jack Myers. While Ohio State has won games where Myers didn’t light up the scoreboard, in every game that the Buckeyes lost, Myers was quite.
Rutgers: Ross Scott
My knee jerk reaction when looking at Rutgers was to immediately jump to saying it should be either Mitch Bartolo and Colin Kirst. But when digging through the few bad games Rutgers has had amongst their many successes, the real key seems to be their leading scorer Ross Scott. His performance seems to be more of a litmus test than an off-day from Kirst or Bartolo. So now we get to see if he can keep his game at a high level for the rest of May and get Rutgers to Championship Weekend.
Harvard: Sam King
Harvard has a few big scoring options with Sam King and Austin Madronic, but Sam King is the one who is linked to good games for the Crimson. When looking over Harvard’s schedule this season, King’s bad games are Harvard’s bad games. King’s good games are Harvard’s good games. They may be the No.5 Ivy League team, but this is a group that can cause some serious damage in the D1 Men’s Lacrosse Tournament.
Georgetown: Owen McElroy + Dylan Watson
The Hoyas, like Maryland, are loaded with weapons all over the field, but they are actually the only team left with two players that sit at the top statistically in their positions. First, is goalie Owen McElroy, who has the best save percentage out of any keeper in the tournament (second best in the country), but he also leads the country in goals against average. On the other side of the field you have Dylan Watson, top goal scorer in the country averaging 3.62 goals per game.
Delaware: Mike Robinson
Last but not least is Delaware, who won their play-in game and the right to play Georgetown. Their key? Look no further than needing a big ole’ game out of Mike Robinson. The lefty attackman is a major reason why the Hens were able to take home the CAA Championship this year, and any upset potential absolutely rests in his hands.