GCC Lax game photo #2
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The JuCo Report: Howard Is For REAL

There is so much to talk about in this week’s JuCo Report, and while I’m going to focus on Howard’s landmark win, it was not the only result of interest stemming from the past week of NJCAA men’s lacrosse. There were a number of REALLY interesting finishes, some history was made, and we got another SUPERB week of JuCo ball as we slowly inch our way towards May, and perhaps a glimpse of real Spring weather! I’m not holding my breath. Neither should you.

Before we get to the big stories, let’s consult the all important JuCo almanac known as the official Top 10 Poll.

NJCAA Top Ten Poll

Top Ten Ranking, Current Record, Vote Points, Last Week’s Rank
1) Onondaga, 5-0, 60, 1st
2T) Harford, 7-1, 51, 2nd
2T) Howard, 5-1, 51, 4th
4) Nassau, 4-3, 42, 3rd
5) Genesee, 3-2, 35, 5th
6) Anne Arundel, 4-2, 30, 6th
7) CCBC Essex, 5-3, 19, not ranked
8) Ocean County, 3-2, 18, 10th
9) Monroe, 2-2, 10, 9th
10) Hudson Valley, 2-1, 5, UnrankedHud

Others Receiving Votes: Frederick, Union County, Suffolk

Howard Beats Nassau, 9-8

There is absolutely no info currently available online when it comes to stats, or game recaps. All we know is that Nassau was hosting, and Howard came in and won a really tough road game on Sunday, by a one goal margin. If you’re asking why is this score is so noteworthy, please allow me to fill you in…

There are a couple programs in the NJCAA ranks that are, quite simply, elite level programs. Onondaga is obviously at the top of the list with all their recent success, but there are a couple other programs that provide a similar litmus test. While these programs can change from time to time, Nassau has long been one of these “top level” programs. Don’t believe me? NCC has been to the final four 5 times in the last 5 years, and they have also played in two title games (2013 and 2014). While the roster is all new today, it’s still a program of national repute, with a deep talent base to recruit from, so beating them is a huge victory for any up and coming program.

Harford’s win over Nassau earlier this year was also huge, but since Nassau had played a game the day before, and it was an away game, I was willing to kind of look the other way, at least a little. Fair or not, I’m just being honest. But for Howard, there was no game before, and this was AT Nassau. No excuses here, this is a legit win. I also think Harford’s win was legit, but people will argue that one. Ok, back to Howard…

Last year, Nassau won this game 8-7 in OT. In 2015, Nassau won 22-4. In 2014, Nassau won 17-13. In 2013, Nassau won 13-9. In 2012, NCC won 15-8. In 2011, it was 12-4, also in Nassau’s favor. 2010? Nassau. 2009? Nassau. 2008? Nassau. 2007? Nassau. 2006? HOWARD won 10-9 in OT. That’s 10 straight years where Nassau had won this regular season game. So is this a big win for Howard? A decade of players for the Dragons would tell you yes.

Now this doesn’t mean Howard is now the team to beat behind OCC (I’ll get to that later) but it does mean that everyone needs to respect this program and take them for real. Like really real for real. The Dragons are here, and from the looks of it, they mean to stick around.

Genesee Wins 100th Game in Program History

Some people might initially shrug their shoulders at 100 program wins, but if you’re paying attention, you’ll realize just how impressive this feat is for GCC to pull off. You see, Genesee has only had a varsity NJCAA men’s lacrosse program for 10 years, meaning that this season, 2017, is their 10th.

So if you take away their 3 wins from 2017, it means the Cougars had amassed 97 wins in only 9 seasons, just under 11 wins per year, RIGHT FROM THE START. That is nothing short of amazing. Add in the fact that they won a national title only 9 years into their existence and the 100 wins in under 10 years achievement becomes even more impressive.

GCC Lax Game Photo #1
Photo Credit: Genesee CC Athletics

Coach David Hoover took over the program in 2006, and the school couldn’t field a team in 2007 due to a lack of player numbers, but Coach Hoover and GCC didn’t give up. In 2008 and 2009, the team combined to go 9-19, but in 2010 they went 10-7, and have only posted one losing record since then. In 2016, 2015, 2013, 2012, and 2011, the team posted 12 wins or more, with 15 wins coming in 2012 and 2013.

During this run, GCC has also helped over 40 student-athletes transition to 4 year schools where they played lacrosse and finished with a 4 year degree.

Great stuff from Genesee, both on the field, and in the classroom!

Onondaga – Statement Win Over GCC

The OCC – GCC game took place right after GCC has won their 100th game in program history, and OCC decided that this was the game where the 2017 Lazers would stand up, be counted, and score a metric ton of goals. The deluge was kind of scary as I watched it pile up.

At first, it seemed like it was going to be a tight game wire to wire. Back and forth action resulted in a 4-4 tie after one, and it looked like a reboot of the 2016 title game. Then the second quarter happened, and OCC went on a run of goals, scoring 5 while only giving up 1. It was 9-5 now, but it was still anyone’s game. Right? Wrong.onondaga peter kwas

OCC came out hot, limited GCC to 3 goals total in the second half, and tacked on 12 goals of their own to cruise to a 21-8 win over last year’s champs. Austin Staats scored a gaudy 8 goals (and 1 assist!) for a crazy 9 point day, and James Sexton, Russ Oakes, Brendan Duggan and Peter Kwas (Australian alert!) each added 4 points or more in the win for OCC.

IMPORTANT NOTE: While I do think this is a serious statement win, and it shows what OCC can do when they’re firing on all cylinders (or most of their cylinders), it doesn’t mean the 2017 title is theirs. Last year, OCC beat GCC 23-15 on May 1st, and then lost 13-12 in OT on May 15th. Nothing is written in stone.

Teams To Beat

Right now you can earn a “quality win” with a W over Onondaga, Genesee, Howard, Harford, Nassau, and then maybe Essex, Anne Arundel, and Ocean County. I don’t think the JuCo ranks have ever been this deep, or this spread out geographically. Long Island, Maryland, New Jersey, and Upstate… if we get into New England, PA, and a couple other states, that is REAL progress. Keep it up, JuCo lacrosse fam!!!!! This is what progress looks like.

Pat yourself on the back once or twice, then get back to work. There is plenty yet to be done.

Submitting Photos/Video

If you want PHOTOS or VIDEO of YOUR team included in the JuCo Report, send them to me at Connor@Lacrosseallstars.comSame goes for tips, info, etc!

onondaga austin staats howardThe JuCo Stat Freaks

Ryan Conwell does an unreal job of running down the biggest statistical producers for NCAA D1 lacrosse, so I’m going to borrow from him and take a look at some of the stat standouts in the NJCAA men’s lacrosse ranks.

Harford’s Nick Esser leads all scorers with 46 points in 8 games so far. While he’s played more games than some of the other stat freaks, Esser is a balanced player with 19 goals and 27 assists, and his 27 helpers currently lead the country.

When you get to goals, assists, and points per game, things change a little bit.

Shane Thompson of Potomac State leads the way with 29 goals in only 6 games, which puts him just shy of 5 goals per game. Add in 7 assists on the year, and Thompson is actually averaging 6 points per game exactly, which is impressive.

Ian Decker of Howard doesn’t have the gaudy goals numbers of Thompson, but his balance and overall points per game are off the charts. With 18 goals and 16 assists in only 5 games, Decker is averaging just under 7 points per game and his ability to split between ginos and apples is crazy.

Frederick’s Patrick Cleveland is also putting up really balanced numbers, and they’re big. He has 15 goals and 20 assists in only 6 games, so he’s averaging 3.3 helpers per game, and just under a hat trick of goals. Not bad at all!

When it comes to goalies, we have three guys who are saving 70% of their shots or higher. Jahn Skinner-Ligon (Hudson Valley), Jacob Laubner (Harford), and Adam Smith (also Harford) are all at or above 70%, but look at Smith’s goals against average for just one minute – it’s 2.67 goals against in 180 minutes of play. Now, to be fair, Laubner has also played 180 minutes, and played all 60 minutes against both Ocean County and Nassau, Harford’s best two opponents so far. Laubner may be the better of the two, but I couldn’t help point out Smith’s preposterous numbers, just for fun.

Recent 2017 Game Results

Monday, March 20th
Anne Arundel 17 – Finger Lakes 3

Tuesday, March 21st
Genesee 15 – Monroe 3
Ocean County 10 – Hudson Valley 9

Wednesday, March 22nd
Frederick 16 – Delaware Tech 11
Howard – Potomac State – postponed
Suffolk 7 – Army Prep 12
Union County 13 – Brookdale14

Friday, March 24th
Harford 11 – Union County 4

Saturday, March 25th
Ancilla 10 – Bowling Green 20
Anne Arundel 14 – Essex 12
Genesee 8 – Onondaga 21
Jefferson 3 – Hudson Valley 12
Monroe 25 – Broome 10
Morris 10 – Southern Maryland 15
Nassau 17 – Suffolk 2
Northern Virginia 11 – Delaware Tech 18
Tompkins Cortland 20 – Mercyhurst North East 7
Union County 12 – Frederick 10

Sunday, March 26th
Broome 18 – Mercyhurst North East 6
Delaware Tech 14 – Williamson 18
Harford 19 – Potomac State 4
Monroe 17 – Tompkins Cortland 8
Nassau 8 – Howard 9
Union County 19 – Southern Maryland 7

Big Upcoming 2017 NJCAA Lacrosse Games

Wednesday, March 29th – Howard Vs Anne Arundel – I’m picking Howard, but this is a case of having a big target on your back, and one of the teams you displaced looking to take back its crown. AACC will bring its A game for this one, so watch out. If Howard wins big, look for them to make a deep run this year.

Friday, March 31st – Genesee Vs Hudson Valley – Like the game above, I think we have a clear cut favorite here in Genesee, but again, target, newcomer, etc. Hudson Valley is trying to climb, GCC wants to get back to winning big, and something has to give. It’s a great match up, and should only get better in future years.

Saturday, April 2nd – Harford Vs Anne Arundel – If AACC can give Howard a game, what can they do against Harford? This is a HUGE week for Anne Arundel CC lacrosse. It’s statement time.

Saturday, April 2nd – Nassau Vs Essex – Losing to Howard and Harford, ok, but to lose three games to Maryland areas teams might be too much for the Lions’ faithful to bear! I expect Essex to play hard, but Nassau is going to come out on a mission here. They kind of need to, as weird as that sounds.

Can’t wait for another great week of NJCAA lacrosse. We’ll back next week with another JuCo Report!