Breaking Down Every Team in the Nike/USA Lacrosse D-II Men's Preseason Top 20

PHOTO BY RICH BARNES

Bryce Reece is a first-team preseason All-American in the midfield for Lenoir-Rhyne.


Le Moyne enters the 2022 season the same way it ended last year — on top of the Division II men’s lacrosse world. The Dolphins have a firm grasp on the top spot in the Nike/USA Lacrosse Division II Men’s Preseason Top 20 entering this season and look every part the favorites to take home the national title come May. 

Lenoir-Rhyne brings a wealth of talent back to Hickory, N.C. and is poised to lead the South Atlantic Conference again in 2022.  

1. Le Moyne

The Dolphins return much of the core that won the 2021 Division II national championship but lose an All-American in Matt Hutchings from the attack. Still, Le Moyne brings back Preseason Player of the Year Ben McCreary, Preseason Defenseman of the Year Nate Arnold and will have Lindenwood transfer Carter Collins to help fill the void left by Hutchings. Could the Dolphins be even better in 2022?

2. Lenoir-Rhyne

The national runner-up brings back much of the same roster from that historic season, including preseason first-team All-American Bryce Reece. Attackman Myles Moffat will look to lead a high-powered Bears offense, which also includes Toron Eccleston. The loss of Eric Dickinson, the program’s all-time leading scorer, certainly leaves a void on offense, but Greg Paradine’s team looks poised to reload.

3. Wingate

Fresh off a Division II final four appearance in 2021, Wingate stacks up to be Lenoir-Rhyne’s biggest competition in the South Atlantic Conference. The Bulldogs lost All-Americans in Adam Vodovnik, Bobby Padden and Reece Orman but get back leading scorer Willie Grieco and a stalwart at midfield in Danny Riley.

4. Tampa

The Rory Whipple era of Tampa men’s lacrosse is over, and in steps former Limestone legend J.B. Clarke to keep the winning tradition alive for the Spartans. Tampa lost much of its offensive core from 2021, including Ben French, Jake Mosher McGraw, Bryan Wright and faceoff star Ross Dickerson. Syracuse transfers Jack Wood (attack) and Blake Ulmer (goalie) look to be key pieces for the 2022 Spartans, as will LSM Matt Beddow.

5. Mercy

Mercy saw its season end on a disappointing note last season — with its NCAA tournament matchup against Mercyhurst canceled due to COVID-19 protocols. The Mavericks will be hungry for another shot in 2022. Back is talented attackman Brady Kearnan, in addition to All-Americans Sean Rigley and Justin Gerdvil.

6. Mercyhurst

The Lakers narrowly missed out on a chance to play for a Division II national title, falling by two goals to Le Moyne. The nation’s top offense loses names like Caleb Kueber, Devin Pipher and Nathan Grenon but will bring back preseason first-team All-American faceoff man Shawn Doran. With Doran winning faceoffs at the same clip (75.8 percent), the Lakers will have a chance to compete again.

7. Seton Hill

Seton Hill loses its top two scorers in Logan Maloni and Ryan Manbeck, who dropped a combined 118 points last season. Midfielder Thomas Hanulak could be poised to be the Griffins leading scorer after scoring 29 goals last season. Kevin Mo returns in the cage as a preseason first-team All-American, hoping to keep Seton Hill as a top 10 scoring defense.

8. Indianapolis

Indianapolis has grown into a perennial NCAA tournament contender, advancing to the past two tournaments out of the Great Lakes Valley Conference. With leading scorer Drew Billig back, plus nine of its top 10 scorers overall, the Greyhounds have the look of a team headed for another tournament.

9. Belmont Abbey

Belmont Abbey returns its top four scorers, all of whom were sophomores in 2021. That list includes Noah Haas, who poured in 37 goals to lead the Crusaders. However, this is a team built from its defense, and preseason All-American Neil Lingerman will anchor a unit that returns virtually all of its starts. Goalie Thomas Sullivan will hope to build on a strong 2021.

10. Mount Olive

Mount Olive loses its leading scorer in Connor Watson, but the Trojans weren’t a team that made its mark on the offensive end. All-American defenseman Jacob Williams has graduated, but goalie Andrew Avarello anchors a unit that remains mostly intact.







11. Saint Anselm

Goalie CJ Hart helped anchor a Saint Anselm defense that finished No. 1 in Division II, allowing just 6.47 goals per game in 2021. He returns as a preseason All-American, as does defenseman Ryan Slattery.

12. Adelphi

Adelphi loses stalwarts on offense like Nicholas Racalbuto, Gordon Purdie Jr. and John Arcidiacono, which will give way for a new crop of Panthers to shine. At the top of that list is Joseph Duchnowski, who scored 16 goals and added 13 assists last season.

13. Lindenwood

One of the best players in program history, Carter Collins, has transferred to Le Moyne. Also gone is senior leader Leonard Jones and second-leading scorer Rob Tucker. However, Lindenwood only loses one starter from a unit that finished fourth nationally in scoring defense.

14. Frostburg

Still a bit new to the Division II world, Frostburg proved competitive in 2021, finishing 6-2 in eight games. The Frostburg defense allowed just eight goals per game, which would have been good for eighth nationally, but the Bobcats lose much of the unit from last season.

15. Pace

A Pace offense that finished No. 39 in scoring loses leading goal scorer Alan Singleton. But the Setters are excited for another season with All-American Anthony Caputo, who scored 22 goals in his sophomore season.

16. Limestone

A new regime begins with Brendan Storrier, a former Limestone star and assistant, taking over the Saints program. Limestone has made one of the past three NCAA tournaments —  the lone appearance being an NCAA title game loss to Merrimack. The Saints lose a star in Jordan Stouros, as well as faceoff man Christopher Parrott, but return virtually its entire offense.

17. Queens (N.C.)

Leading scorer Quinn Tallant is gone, but Kealan Pilon, the facilitator of the offense, returns for a fifth year. The Royals return almost the entirety of their defensive unit, excluding goalie Kyle Hornik.

18. Rockhurst

Sam Lindahl returns as one of the most dangerous weapons in Division II lacrosse, as does the entire Rockhurst offense. Could this be the year Rockhurst breaks through into the NCAA tournament?

19. Newberry

After a successful 7-5 campaign in 2021, Newberry is looking to make a move in the South Atlantic Conference. A balanced offense returns most of the contributors that helped Newberry finish No. 11 in Division II last year.

20. Lynn

Dryden Brous’ departure as one of the top faceoff men in the country leaves a void, but Lynn welcomes back plenty of young talent. Jalen Stanton brings 20 goals from 2021 into the upcoming season.

Also considered (alphabetical order): Bentley, Colorado Mesa, Florida Southern, Florida Tech, Rollins

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