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 University of the Cumberlands.
2019 University Of The Cumberlands Review
University of the Cumberlands put on a show in 2019 as it beat six top 10 opponents, gave Reinhardt its only loss of the season, and made the NAIA Invitational in Grand Rapids. The squad looked good early in the season, but inconsistent play and its inability to beat Reinhardt in the playoffs led to a disappointing end to the season.
Cumberlands will be in rebuild mode in 2020 after losing 10 seniors. It loses the bulk of its defense as they graduate two All-American long poles and an All-American defensive midfielder. The loss of Bryan Morgan and Nick DiFranco will hurt the Patriots in 2020 as those two combined for 86 caused turnovers. The Patriots also lose defensive midfielder Jake Mitchell, who’s strong defensive play will surely be missed.
2020 University Of The Cumberlands Outlook
Look for University of the Cumberlands to switch from a primarily defensive driven team to one focused on offense. It returns the bulk of its young offense with attackmen Justin Darley (Junior), Sam Collinson (Senior) and Caleb Elerick (Junior). The Pats also return midfielders Whitten McCune (Junior) and Dalton Smith (Senior) who tallied 22 goals a piece. Cumberlands will have a nice mix of young attackmen and midfielders that will look to takeover in 2020. On the defensive side of the ball, rising goalie Will Settle (Junior) returns. Settle made 173 saves in 2019, second-most in the NAIA, and will look to lead the new-look Patriot defense.
Way Too Early Prediction
Out with the old and in with new! That will describe the Patriots’ program this year as they will need Settle, Darley, McCune and Smith to take a big step forward. I am predicting that UC remains a close second to Reinhardt in 2020, but still manages an at-large bid to the NAIA Invitational.
Team Site: www.cumberlandspatriots.com
Team Twitter: @ucmenslax