Denison, Dickinson Nudge Higher in Nike/USL Division III Men's Top 20

PHOTO BY PETE EMERSON

All-American attackman Peter Pittroff had one goal and four assists in Denison's 14-13 win over Washington and Lee.


With most NESCAC programs still in preseason mode until early March, the higher reaches of the Division III lacrosse world are yet to get underway. Nonetheless, many programs elsewhere have already logged some games, resulting in shuffling throughout our Nike/US Lacrosse Top 20 rankings.

Namely, Denison and Dickinson have rattled off some strong wins, while the likes of Washington and Lee and Christopher Newport have struggled for consistency in 2019’s early goings.

The likes of Salisbury, RIT, York and Gettysburg have maintained some status quo in the top 10, as undefeated squads chart opening tests. After a concerning non-conference loss, we even see a perennial contender drop out. In its stead, an up-and-coming NEWMAC program has slotted in.

Nike/US Lacrosse
Division III Men’s Top 20

 
Feb. 18, 2019

W/L

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1 Wesleyan 0-0 1 3/2 vs. No. 19 Williams
2 Salisbury 3-0 2 2/23 vs. No. 6 Gettysburg
3 Amherst 0-0 3 3/2 at Colby
4 Tufts 0-0 4 3/2 at Hamilton
5 RIT 1-0 5 2/23 vs. Bates
6 Gettysburg 1-0 6 2/20 vs. Goucher
7 York 2-0 7 2/23 at McDaniel
8 Cabrini 1-0 9 2/23 at No. 16 Lynchburg
9 Denison 1-0 12 2/23 vs. Stevenson
10 Dickinson 1-0 13 2/23 at Montclair State
11 Ohio Wesleyan 0-1 11 2/23 vs. Otterbein
12 Christopher Newport 1-1 10 2/23 at Hampden-Sydney
13 Washington and Lee 1-2 8 2/23 at Washington College
14 Stevens 1-0 15 2/23 vs. Endicott
15 Roanoke 0-0 14 2/22 vs. Sewanee
16 Lynchburg 1-1 17 2/23 vs. No. 8 Cabrini
17 Cortland 0-0 18 2/27 vs. Ursinus
18 Ithaca 0-0 19 2/27 at Lycoming
19 Williams 0-0 20 3/2 vs. No. 1 Wesleyan
20 Coast Guard 1-0 NR 2/27 vs. RPI
Also considered (alphabetical order): Colorado College, Franklin & Marshall, RPI, Springfield, Stevenson





z

Hot

Denison (+3)

Denison, sparked by a five-goal halftime lead, held on to beat Washington and Lee 14-13 in its 2019 season opener. All-American attackman Peter Pittroff stepped up with one goal and four assists, while first-team All-NCAC players Jake Waxter and Spencer Butler combined for seven goals and an assist.

The Big Red struggled at the faceoff X, though their depth and grittiness held on as a fellow top-20 team surged late. Overall, it sets a promising tone for upcoming games vs. Stevenson and Roanoke.

Denison is historically among the nation’s best Division III programs, as it hasn’t finished below .500 since the 1979 season. The Big Red have also made three straight NCAA tournaments and captured six NCAC titles this decade.

Dickinson (+3)

Dickinson is expected to challenge for the Centennial Conference title, a trophy it lifted last spring for the first time since 2013. That charge is off to a solid start, as the Red Devils downed St. Mary’s, 13-10, on Saturday at the US Lacrosse Headquarters and National Training Center.

The win was sparked for four-goal outings from Brodie Phillips, Joel Mayo and Jack O'Connell, the latter of whom tacked on four assists for good measure. Cole Pellicano, a first-team all-conference goalie last year, provided 14 saves. 

Dickinson’s first true test comes March 2 at Cabrini, so upcoming tilts with Montclair St. and Elizabethtown are “must wins” to keep the momentum rolling.

Lynchburg (+1)

While the Hornets stand at 1-1, their 11-8 win on Saturday over Franklin & Marshall was promising. Their 11-9 loss two weekends ago to Salisbury, also showed some incredible fight, as they scored seven unanswered goals to nearly draw even with last year’s national finalists.

Altogether, these results show why Lynchburg has made seven straight NCAA tournaments and maybe – just maybe – could approach the days of 2015’s runner-up season.

On offense, leaders so far are Logan Adams, Kevin Rogers and Evan Lombardo with a combined 27 points.

Not

Washington and Lee (-5)

There’s plenty of time to recover, though it’s been an up-and-down start to the Generals’ 2019 campaign.

One-goal defeats have arrived via York (7-6) and Denison (14-13), sandwiching a 14-7 win over Christopher Newport. If either of those losses tip in Washington and Lee’s direction, then there’s surely a different feeling around head coach Gene McCabe’s camp.

A.J. Witherell, a two-time All-American attackman, is second on the team with seven points (five goals, two assists).

Christopher Newport (-2)

There’s great anticipation behind Christopher Newport this spring, especially after 2018 brought about the club’s first NCAA tournament appearance since 2013.

Results have been mixed, with a 14-7 loss to Washington and Lee last Wednesday, then a 16-9 win over Colorado College on Friday. Find some consistency ahead of CAC play getting underway in late March, and there’s every reason to believe the Captains can climb the rankings.

New

Coast Guard

Coast Guard shocked the Division III lacrosse world last year when upsetting eventual national champion Wesleyan at home. This spring, in the Bears’ fifth year as a program, they’re out to show that wasn’t a fluke.

So far, so good, as Coast Guard downed Elizabethtown 10-1 last Saturday to open the season. All-American goalie Trey Johnson made 13 saves, though All-American midfielder Riley McNulty didn’t feature. Instead, attackmen Logan Morin, Benner Geurtsen and Will Iorio combined for seven goals and an assist.

The NEWMAC has traditionally been dominated by Springfield, though Coast Guard could challenge that in 2019.

Out

Stevenson

Stevenson, host of the annual Mustang Classic, has a grueling schedule ahead against the likes of Denison, Gettysburg, Salisbury, Lynchburg, York and Tufts. Since no easy wins jump off the page there, it was paramount that the Mustangs start the year strong against Ursinus.

They fell short of that charge, losing 13-9 on Saturday to a Centennial Conference program that hasn’t recorded a winning record since 2016. Even worse, Stevenson entered the fourth quarter with a 9-7 lead, only to allow six unanswered goals and collapse late.

The team has talent – attackman Jacob Tatum and midfielder Ethan Christensen are both stellar  – but the outlook is certainly concerning.

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