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2019 Season Outlook: The Path to the Championship
After months of anxiously waiting, the moment we’ve looked forward to is finally here — the 2019 college lacrosse season is kicking up and the competition is as hot as ever!
This season, ACC blue bloods UNC, Duke and Syracuse are aiming to bring the ACC and NCAA titles back to campus, the Big Red of Cornell are looking to make another deep run in the postseason (all with the added pressure of being under the spotlight for The Season 2019), and the Ohio State Buckeyes are looking to make a grand return to the NCAA Tournament.
As we head into the season, we caught up with their head coaches to get their expectations for the 2019 season:
After reaching their sixth appearance in the NCAA Tournament Championship last season, the Blue Devils are hungry to make this year lucky number 7. The pressure to keep playing at a top level in 2019 will be high, especially without all-time NCAA scoring leader and team captain Justin Guterding.
So how is the team planning to replicate the scoring and swagger Guterding brought to the program during his four years on campus? It starts with senior midfielder Brad Smith. The 2018 USILA first team All-American was second on the team in scoring, with 29 goals and 36 assists last season, and is looking to continue a high-level output.
The Blue Devils also have a couple of young-gun sophomores in attackman Joe Robertson, the third leading scorer on the team last season, and midfielder Nakeie Montgomery, who came out strong during the team’s NCAA Tournament run — both ready to make big impacts in 2019.
Keep an eye out on this season’s Blue Devils as Head Coach John Danowski and his team aim to bring the ACC and NCAA titles back to campus!
The ACC always delivers high-level talent and competition — and the 2019 season is no exception. After just missing the NCAA Tournament last season, the Tar Heels know they want to return to the tournament this May.
The team has a stacked roster, with the depth needed for a deep run this season. With rivals like Duke, Notre Dame and Syracuse on the schedule, Head Coach Joe Breschi knows it's going to be a challenging, but rewarding ride for his Tar Heels.
So, how’s the coach preparing for a successful season? It all starts with his assistant coaching staff and team captains. With a roster full of talent, Breschi knows it’s the leadership of his captains and coaches that will help guide the team to post season glory.
“Coach Metz and Coach Unterstein are two of the best in the business and I’m confident that they’ll ensure we’re prepared each week for the challenging schedule ahead of us,” said Breschi. “We also have terrific captains in Timmy Kelly and Justin Anderson this season. They are two selfless young men who will do whatever it takes to win and make sure to prepare their teammates to do the same.”
Coming off an impressive 2018 season which saw the Big Red win the Ivy League Lacrosse Tournament and reach the NCAA quarterfinals, Head Coach Peter Milliman knows his team has a big task ahead of them to take down division rival and defending national champion Yale.
Milliman and his team are committed to being their best selves each and every day as they hit the field. While Milliman knows the value of positive, consistent output on the field, he and his staff are also emphasizing the importance of consistent input and the impact that translates into come gametime.
By always competing as hard as possible — whether during practice, in the film room or during games — Milliman is making sure his squad can walk away knowing, no matter the final outcome, that they gave the team and each other 100 percent.
“We can’t control the outcomes every time we hit the field and if that’s the only thing we’re going to hold value in, then we’re going to lose track of what we’re really doing here,” Milliman explained. “If we hold value in what we put in every day, we can feel pride and accomplishment knowing that, as long as we put all of our effort in, we’re doing things the right way and not simply just looking at whether we win or lose.”
Make sure to tune in to The Season 2019 to follow Cornell’s journey this season as the Ivy League program pushes toward the NCAA Tournament.
11-time NCAA National Champions, the Syracuse Orange, are never a team to sleep on. After going down to the Big Red of Cornell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last season, Head Coach John Desko and his team know it will take a lot of hard work and dedication to each other if they are going to make an NCAA Championship run this season.
With 2018 leading scorer and team captain Brendan Bomberry graduated, the Orange are looking to replicate the impact he had on the team. Luckily, the team has plenty of talent on its roster and the guys are ready to prove themselves.
The Orange were counting on standout sophomore midefielder Tucker Dordevic (who started in all 15 games as a freshman last season) to help lead the team to success on the heels of Brendan's exit, but just last week, Dordevic was declared out for the season due to a serious foot injury. Despite this setback, the Orange are still determined to come back strong this year and make a championship run.
The team's top two leaders in points last season, junior creator Stephen Rehfuss, who led the team with 28 assists, and senior attackman Nate Solomon, will both play a major role in replicating the energy and results Brendan brought to the team.
And let’s not forget the defensive unit for the Orange, led by team captain Tyson Bomberry and pre-season second-team All-American Nick Mellen. With a veteran defense in place to support a strong attacking front, Coach Desko and his team are looking to make their mark on the 2019 season.
After finishing the 2018 regular season on a hot streak that saw the Buckeyes upset the then-top ranked Maryland Terrapins in College Park, Head Coach Nick Myers knows the importance of consistently operating at a maximum capacity and staying committed to the brotherhood.
With leading scorer Tre Leclaire returning, and an incoming freshman class that has taken quickly to the program, Myers is betting on the brotherhood's winning strategy that led them the 2017 NCAA final. It’s this unique sense of responsibility to one another and the game that Myers believes will lead to success both on and off the field, helping to meet their goal of developing the total student athlete during their time in Columbus.
“Being a Buckeye is very special and comes with a great deal of responsibility,” said Myers. “Lacrosse has been a staple at our university since 1949. We want people to look at Buckeye lacrosse as a place where young men go to chase the best version of themselves on and off the field.”
The competition is always fierce to lift the championship trophy. Who do you think is going to come out on top this year? Tweet us at @STXmlax with #2019Champion and let us know who you think is going to win it all this year and why. Stay up to date on the latest team news and rankings here.
Looking to make the most of your college lacrosse experience? Our pros provide some tips to make sure you get the fullest experience possible!