Early 2023 Rankings: Nos. 15-11 (Division I Men)

All of Division I’s head coaching positions are filled. The rush to the transfer portal has come and (mostly) gone. And while there’s the pesky variable of who exactly is going to take advantage of the pandemic blanket waiver from 2020 and extend their career another year, most teams are pretty well set.

Which means now is as good a time as any to roll out the annual Early Top 25. Each day this week, we’ll roll out a five-team segment to set the table on the 2023 season long before the first whistle blows in the dead of winter.

Also considered (alphabetical): Robert Morris, Saint Joseph's, Stony Brook, UMass

Early 2023 Rankings

Division I Men
No. 25 - No. 21
No. 20 - No. 16
No. 15 - No. 11
No. 10 - No. 6
No. 5 - No. 1
Division I Women
No. 25 - No. 21
No. 20 - No. 16
No. 15 - No. 11
No. 10 - No. 6
No. 5 - No. 1

"Last season’s success, including defeats of Brown and Princeton, suggests things are on the upswing in Cambridge."


2022 record: 8-6 (1-5 Atlantic Coast)

Last seen: Dropping four of five to end the year and fade from NCAA tournament contention, including three losses in that stretch in which the Tar Heels combined for 15 goals.

Initial forecast: If nothing else, things will be different in Chapel Hill. Whether that translates to a return to the postseason remains to be seen. Chris Gray, he of the Division I-record 401 career points, has graduated. Jacob Kelly and Nicky Solomon will spend their bonus year of eligibility at Georgetown. And that posse of freshmen who held such promise heading into last season? Well, they’re a year older. Lance Tillman (21 goals, nine assists) is the most known quantity on offense, but the Tar Heels will need some underclassmen to emerge if it is to make a push back into the top 10 after a largely forgettable finish in 2022. But that’s not all. North Carolina requires a considerable jump forward at the defensive end after giving up 14.2 goals a game to ACC opponents. Goalie Collin Krieg (.511 save percentage) had more good days than bad for the Tar Heels, and he’s a fine piece for the Tar Heels to build around.


2022 record: 8-5 (3-3 Ivy)

Last seen: Making its first postseason appearance since 2014, where the Crimson couldn’t keep up in the second half of a 19-9 loss to a much older and deeper Rutgers bunch.

Initial forecast: The youthful Crimson, who had only six seniors last season, arrived a year early with a surprise NCAA tournament appearance. Three of Harvard’s top four points leaders — Sam King (25 goals, 21 assists), Miles Botkiss (23 goals, four assists) and Owen Gaffney (17 goals, nine assists) — were freshmen. Long pole Greg Campisi, arguably the team’s most effective player in stretches last season, was a sophomore. There are some holes to fill, notably attackman Austin Madronic (30 goals, 14 assists) and goalie Kyle Mullin (.508 save percentage), and the Crimson would be well-served to improve on a .397 faceoff percentage that ranked ahead of only five Division I teams. Continuity and extra experience do not guarantee improvement. Still, last season’s success, including defeats of Brown and Princeton, suggests things are on the upswing in Cambridge.


2022 record: 10-6 (4-2 Ivy)

Last seen: Falling to Virginia 17-10 before a raucous crowd in Providence in the Bears’ first NCAA tournament game since 2016.

Initial forecast: The Bears were a bit like a yo-yo last season, stitching together a 5-1 start before losing three in a row, ripping off five victories in a row to claim the top seed in the Ivy tournament and then handily losing at home to Penn and Virginia in tournament action to close out the year. Still, there was a lot to like after Brown was limited to one game in 2021, and coach Mike Daly’s explosive offense is bound to continue to create problems. Even with the graduation of Ryan Aughavin (29 goals, 15 assists), the Bears still have an impressive offense led by Devon McLane (47 goals, 24 assists). Meanwhile, all-Ivy goalie Connor Theriault made double-digit saves in 12 of Brown’s first 13 games, including a 24-stop masterpiece against Cornell. Consistency is a fair question mark at this stage, but count on the Bears being in the NCAA tournament picture again this spring.



2022 record: 13-6 (3-2 Colonial)

Last seen: Using a seven-game winning streak to advance past the first round of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2007, only to run into a similarly stingy and poised Cornell bunch in a 10-8 quarterfinal loss.

Initial forecast: The Blue Hens’ roster isn’t completely intact after last year’s postseason push, but most of the key pieces are back. Just the fifth-year seniors alone are an impressive lot, a group that includes attackman Tye Kurtz (52 goals, 15 assists), midfielder Clay Miller (28 goals, 12 assists), goalie Matt Kilkeary (.530 save percentage) and defensemen Owen Grant and Kevin Lynch. That’s half of a starting lineup, and doesn’t even factor in holdovers like JP Ward (40 goals, 32 assists) and Mike Robinson (53 goals, 15 assists). The upset of Georgetown in the first round of the NCAA tournament drew more attention than anything else to Delaware, but the Blue Hens had plowed through their three previous games in May by a 50-22 margin and looked very much like they were following coach Ben DeLuca’s blueprint. Between a slick offense with oodles of options and a defense highlighted by the exceptional 6-foot-3, 215-pound Grant, the Blue Hens won’t surprise anyone in 2023. But they should be quite good and the class of the reshuffled Colonial Athletic Association.


2022 record: 10-6 (3-2 Big Ten)

Last seen: Probably wishing foul weather had held off for a couple hours after Cornell, ahem, stormed past the Buckeyes 15-8 after a lightning delay in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Initial forecast: The Buckeyes will have one of the top attackmen in the country in Jack Myers (38 goals, 45 assists), and bringing back the best piece of an offense that applied more pressure than it had in past seasons is a good place for Nick Myers’ program to start. Ohio State leaned heavily on its best players last season, and by the time May arrived, there was only so much gas left in the tank. That was the obvious takeaway from the Big Ten semifinal loss to Rutgers, and it probably played a role a week later against Cornell in the NCAA tournament. Still, there’s help on the way, with the Buckeyes picking up Army defenseman Marcus Hudgins, attackmen Richie LaCalandra (32 goals, 38 assists at LIU) and Kyle Lewis (31 goals, 63 assists at Division III Lynchburg) and midfielder Kyle Borda (16 goals, 21 assists at Fairfield) through the portal. Year in and year out, Ohio State is a reliably hard-nosed bunch, and Myers’ attentiveness to scheduling paid dividends on Selection Sunday. With a little extra depth and improvement throughout the roster, the Buckeyes could be a team capable of pushing beyond the first weekend of the NCAA tournament. One question: Who replaces faceoff man Justin Inacio (.592), a five-year stalwart?