USA Lacrosse Magazine released their preseason All-Americans. Tommy Burch takes a look at the first team and gives all the necessary information heading into the season.
Lacrosse Preseason First-Team All-Americans: What You Need To Know
The USA Lacrosse Magazine created its list of preseason All-Americans, with 10 players sporting first-team nods. Each of the players has shown tremendous success in D1 lacrosse and should prove elite in the future.
The offensive end of the field has three stellar players, each from lacrosse powerhouses throughout D1 lacrosse. Those players are:
– Matt Brandau, Yale
– Brennan O’Neil, Duke
– Connor Shellenberger, Virginia
Brandau has been an elite scorer since his first year in the program, but after Covid, he stepped it up tenfold. When he first played for Yale, he was an off-the-bench scorer with 50 goals and 24 assists. The 50 goals is an impressive number, one he would repeat in 2022. However, he paired that with 20 more assists and was just shy of hitting 100 points on the season.
O’Neill is one of the best young players in lacrosse, with an incredible stint at Duke. He was the ACC Freshman of the Year, where he started almost every game and scored an impressive 55 points. His sophomore year saw similar success, with 74 points to add to his resume. He is on track to be one of the best players in Lacrosse this season, and he still has two years left.
Shellenberger is an assist machine, raking in more than 40 in both of the last two years. Last year he played two fewer games yet still managed to hit 76 points. Although his previous season saw him score 79, those two extra games would have put him over the hump. He should be an incredible piece for Virginia this upcoming season.
In this section, we will cover not only the pure midfielders but the SSDM, LSM, and FO. For pure midfielders, the players are:
– Graham Bundy Jr., Georgetown
– Matt Campbell, Villanova
– Sam Handley, Penn
If you know college lacrosse, you know Graham Bundy Jr. He is one of the most prolific players in the sport, with a 2022 season earning him first-team All-American honors. He was also the USA U21 captain when they won gold, and he’s back for more success. He scored an astonishing 70 points with 45 goals and 25 assists. The 70 points are the most by a Georgetown midfielder in the team’s history.
Campbell had the same number of goals as Bundy, with just 3 fewer assists. Another scoring machine at the midfield position, he has been in contention for a first-team All-American nod since 2021.
Handley is a perfect balance of scoring and passing, with 36 goals and 37 assists in 2022. He was a finalist for the Tewaaraton award and won the Midfielder of the Year. He helped lead Penn to the No. 3 seed in college lacrosse, making him one of the most valuable pieces in the sport.
The other three players are:
– SSDM – Payton Rezanka, Loyola
– FO – Luke Wierman, Maryland
– LSM – Ethan Rall, Rutgers
Rezanka can keep it close with any offensive player on the field, making a similar impact to a player with a long pole. His defensive prowess in 2022 earned him 3rd-team All-American honors, where he caused 27 turnovers and picked up 31 ground balls.
Wierman is an elite faceoff specialist, with an incredible 66% win percentage during the 2022 season. He was in consideration for All-American honors and made it on the Inside Lacrosse first team. He had 160 ground balls and 15 points to pad the stats.
Rall was the only option for the first team at LSM, after an incredible season last year. He led the Big Ten in caused turnovers at 31. What made him so elite was his playoff play, where he locked down offensive players for elite teams in multiple rounds.
The Other End
On the defensive end of the field, four players hold it down.
– D – Gavin Adler, Cornell
– D – Will Bowen, Georgetown
– D – Brett Makar, Maryland
– G – Laim Entenmann, Notre Dame
Gavin Adler was a force for the 7th-ranked Cornell, proving himself as one of the best defenders in lacrosse. His ground balls and caused turnovers rank second on the team, with 58 and 28 respectively. He showed his true colors in the NCAA Tournament, where he caused 3 turnovers and picked up two ground balls in a dominant win over Ohio State.
Bowen was formerly a stud at UNC and is the second Georgetown player to make the list. He was a Tewaaraton nominee and won the William C. Schmeisser award for the best defender in college lacrosse. Georgetown was the best-scoring defense in the country, and Bowen was the leader of the charge. More greatness is expected to come, and possibly a future PLL star.
The champion Makar was an incredible force for the Maryland defensive unit, remaining consistently good over his years. He was first team all Big Ten in both of the last two years and the 2022 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. What puts him up here is not statistics that blow you away but a brick wall of consistency and strength at the position.
Goalie Entenmann is one of the few elite goalies left in the game. He has been unstoppable for the Fighting Irish, formerly a third and second-team All-American for USA Lacrosse Magazine. Although his save percentage was 57.2% in 2022 compared to his 58.5% in 2021, he saved 14 more shots in that time. He is tall, lanky, and has incredible reflexes that land him with these honors.
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