Welcome to the first installment of the JuCo Report for the spring season. I’m starting it off right with a Top 10 NJCAA Poll, in all of its preseason glory! Welcome to the college lacrosse division almost no one is talking about. It’s JuCo time!
Top 10 NJCAA Poll
There is no offical NJCAA Poll out there right now, so this is the first and only example of a Top 10 poll in existence. I’d link to other polls, or include them, but because of the former fact, I can’t. A lot of the below choices are based off of what teams did last year, and how well the program has done historically. JuCo is by far and away the hardest college lacrosse division to project based on players.
1) Onondaga CC – Putting any other team in the #1 spot would be pure craziness, so I thought about it. OCC finished 2014 at 17-0, won their 6th straight national title (and 8th overall, in 9 years), and still looked heads and shoulders above the competition in many ways. While the gap may be closing between some of the top JuCo teams and OCC, there is still a gap. OCC doesn’t have a roster up yet, and they lost a lot from last year, but this has never stopped the Lazers before. Until they lose a game, the #1 spot is theirs. OCC returns a good chunk of their D, but will need to find a great replacement for Warren Hill in net.
2) Nassau CC – NCC does a great job of finding solid, athletic players, but they do particularly well in two spots: face offs and goaltending. Last year’s NCC team had a couple guys who were dangerous on the draw, and Long Island is still the king of the FoGo world, so the talent should keep coming. Jake Siciliano is gone in goal, but expect the Lions to find another talented keeper from the Island if Ryan Gaspari doesn’t pan out.
3) CCBC Essex – Baltimore County’s Community College makes an appearance as the #3 team in my poll, which is the same place they finished up last season. It’s no surprise either, as Essex has been the top Southern team for a while now. They gave OCC their second best game of the year in 2014 (behind Nassau) and took OCC to the brink in 2013, suffering a 15-14 loss at home. While the rosters are 100% different than they were in 2013, the program levels don’t seem to have changed all that much. Essex is a solid #3.
4) Anne Arundel CC – After the top 3, the rest of the top 10 starts to get a little more murky. AACC is not a lock to be a top 5 team this year, but I like what coach Dave Earl started to build there. His departure and Jason Grace’s later hire could put AACC in a hole this year. I’m hearing Essex got many of the best local middies. 3 all county players if my source is spot on. There’s an insider tidbit for you.
5) Genesee CC – Genny has players from Germany, the US, Canada, and native nations on its roster. There looks to be continued depth but not a ton of size. Expect some highly skilled and tough players from Genesee at #5.
6) Harford CC – Harford has some solid returners, but only 13 of them, if all 13 come back. Depth could be a question for the Fighting Owls, but at the top of the roster they should be good. Tight games early that fall out of reach against good opponents could be the theme of this season for Harford if they don’t find some needed depth. If they do? They could be a riser.
7) Howard CC – Howard was right there last year, playing pretty much everyone tight. They won the games they should have, but didn’t beat the teams they needed to step up in the polls. A win over AACC was a great start. Two of those this year and they’re looking up.
8) SUNY Delhi – The Broncos have a solid group of returners, and a good mix of athletes and lacrosse hotbed guys to keep their recent years’ success level. Coach Bob Leary has done a great job with this program and they seem to get more and more competitive each year.
9) Monroe CC – Monroe was solid in 2014, but they didn’t beat a good Top 10 team all year, and they’ll need to if they want to stay in the top 10 or move up this year.
10) ASA College – ASA has a new coach and, seemingly, a new type of recruit. And that recruit is… big. ASA teams in the past haven’t been huge, but this team is looking relatively big and athletic. They don’t have a roster up, but I’ve seen these guys on the subway and there is also a definite Long Island feel as well. Look for ASA to climb the polls this year, they’re my dark horse!