Editor’s Note: Welcome to our NAIA lacrosse season-in-review series. Each day for the next month or so, we will be recapping last NAIA lacrosse season in advance for the 2020 season. Today, we are looking at Saint Mary.
2019 Saint Mary Season Review
Saint Mary is a perfect example of what could have been. A senior-heavy offense led them to a 5-9 record. That record included losing their last four games to quality teams by a total of six goals. This is the same team that was able to beat Aquinas 9-3 in mid-March.
Nationally, Saint Mary had one of the best face-off units with a team percentage of 62.5%. This is where things gets bad for the Spires. They graduated their two primary faceoff men in Andy Meyers (69% faceoff win percentage) and Logan Lund (65% faceoff win percentage). Lund and Meyers also chipped in a combined 58 points and 177 ground balls. The offense graduates midfielder Matt Waeckerle (25 points), Seth Frazier (21 points) and Elliot Conklin (14 points). When all is said and done, Saint Mary lost more than half of their offensive output. Defensively they graduate starting poles Brandan Newman and Drew Coleman.
2020 Saint Mary’s Outlook
While Saint Mary was hit hard by graduation, they do return three key players. In net, Zander Smith returns, but needs to improve on his 45% save percentage from his junior campaign. Tyler French had 68 points in 2019 to lead the team. Having another year like that will be tough now that every opponent will have his number circled on the scouting report. AJ Nardi returns to anchor the defense, a unit that will have at least two first time starters will rely on him heavily.
Way Too Early Prediction
Who will step up at the midfield position? And, can they find someone to take face-offs? Despite a few stud returners, I don’t see the Spires being able to make up all of their losses on offense in one year. The rest of the conference was young last year, which leads me to say Saint Mary will take a step back this year and finish below .500 again.
Team Info: gospires.com
Team Twitter: @saintmarylax