NCAC 2018

NCAC 2018

New postby nosy ned on Mon Aug 28, 2017 4:11 pm

Well with Fall Ball about to kick off it's probably a good time to start the chatter for 2018 season. I'll start off - I think the conference will be more competitive this year but with that said, I think we'll see another OWU v Denison Championship game. And I have Wooster and Wittenberg repeating as participants in the tournament. So by default that's my top 4. From there I see Kenyon, Oberlin, DePauw, Wabash and Hiram completing the field in that order.
In the end I see Denison as the team to beat again this year. I say this because, despite the loss of Rooney, Donohue and Sawyer to graduation, Denison does return 8 other first or second team All Conference players - 1A; 2M; 2D; 1SSDM; 1G and 1FO which include the 2017 Conference Def POY, Special Team POY and New Comer OY. So from front to back they do have quality players returning in all phases. OWU will be much improved I'm sure as they are a year older as well and return 4 1st or 2nd team players - 2A; 1M and 1SSDM (7 total all-conference players when you throw in HM's). Wooster returns 2 and Wittenberg 1 - no other team returns a 1st or 2nd team All Conference player. Very crude methodology I know but seeing how unknown every teams recruiting class is at this early stage, it's all I got but I think it is defensible.
In the Championship game I give the nod to Denison if not simply because the above but also because this year's reg season game is scheduled to be played in Granville - so expect that to be the difference making the Championship at home for the Big Red as well. Advantage Denison. Admittedly I have a bias towards Denison but I tried to be objective and support my bias with some facts. Now let's see who points out were I'm deficient in my thinking......
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Re: NCAC 2018

New postby Stonegate on Sat Sep 09, 2017 1:03 pm

Any word on fall ball matchups. Probably too early. Also any names to watch for among the new recruit class. also nice job on the analysis, pretty much right on.
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Re: NCAC 2018

New postby FannOLax on Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:42 am

There is so much less coverage, especially off-season, of D3 lacrosse than D1, that making NCAC predictions before fall ball is a bit like groping in the dark. Honorable Mention All American attackman Conor Caffrey's transfer to Saint Lawrence (discussed on the D3 Transfer Wire thread) is certainly not good news for OWU; without being able to offer any specifics, I hear that OWU has a good freshman class and some transfers in. OWU and Denison to play in the conference championship game is always a good bet. Caravana definitely seems to have done a terrific job at Denison these past few years.
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Re: NCAC 2018

New postby MrLax2U on Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:10 am

Caravana definitely seems to have done a terrific job at Denison these past few years.


Saw that in his last two visits to Gull land and joined his fan club. Except for one brief lapse end of game this past year an extremely disciplined team. The Gulls had their own lapse at the end of the Cabrini game; it just happens sometimes. Two very well coached teams by two great coaches. Caravana gave Berkman a hug at the end of the pass by line then gathered his team and spent maybe 20 minutes talking to them. Very moving. Gulls and their coaches were huddled at the other end of the pitch for an equal time. The only negative to this great game were the players who weren't allowed to suit up per NCAA rules.

I'm wondering whether this was the result of an exceptional recruiting class (Rooney et al) or whether it carries forward. Any insights from this board on how/why DU kicked it up a notch?
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Re: NCAC 2018

New postby seacoaster on Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:08 am

On Denison kicking it up a notch, my perspective -- which is a parent with a kid (a daughter) who attends, was going to play lacrosse and decided not to -- is this:

There is the kismet of a few good recruiting classes. Last year with Rooney, Donovan and several others was partly the result of players really coming into their own. Denison will continue to recruit well, because of: (in no particular order)

Caravana, who is a character/educator first kind of guy, from what I've seen. Parents and kids want to play for him. His staff, even with changes, appears to be pretty deep and good, and he is almost certainly a decent guy to work for. Caravana coached field hockey last year, stepping in for the regular coach because she had recently had a baby. He is just a really good guy, who appears to earnestly like teaching young people.

Denison's athletic facilities are absolutely first rate; if you are coming from virtually any public school environment, the facilities are just awe-inspiring. Denison has a beautiful natatorium (the school is a Division 3 powerhouse in swimming and diving), a nice field house, a very considerable and well-equipped training center and weight room, dedicated trainers for the athletes, and a very nice stadium and turf field.

Denison's alumni love the school. It has an endowment of around $800 million, on a par with places like Colby ($700MM) and Middlebury ($1 billion) and better than Bates ($251MM) and others. The result -- or one result -- is that there is decent academic aid for a lot of kids, and a meaningful effort at creating a nationally-scoped university experience. My daughter goes to school with kids from something like 47 states and 9 foreign nations -- in a little town 25 minutes east of Columbus.

The academics are somewhere between good and excellent, and the caliber of kid there is high. Sports are, as these things go, pretty important socially at Denison, from what I can tell. And the men's lacrosse players are understood to be guys who will play the NCAA tournament (OWU permitting or notwithstanding).

The town in which it is located, Granville, is just a beautiful little village. It is safe, middle-America courteous and pretty. Denison sits up on a hill above the town. There's just nothing not to like.

Probably more than you were looking for, but that's what I think. In relative terms, I should add that I am not an alum, and I know nothing about Kenyon, OWU, Witt and other NCAC schools.
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Re: NCAC 2018

New postby MrLax2U on Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:27 am

Great post; exactly what I was looking for, thanks. Coach Caravana and his players represent this wonderful school well. Look forward to seeing more of them.
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Re: NCAC 2018

New postby nosy ned on Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:02 pm

Seacoaster states the Denison case far more eloquently then I ever could but I would give Caravana's assistants far more infatic props ... Zimmerman, Zalesky and Stewart are as good a collection of assistants, in my view, as you'll find in D3 men's lacrosse. Great players in their own right who are now proving also to be great communicators and in game tactician that the team responds to. That said, Caravans is the constant and IS every bit as good as you've observed post Salisbury games these past 2 years.... and more.

As to your question, I will respectfully disagree with your assessment that Denison "kicked it up a notch" in the semi final game. If you watched the teams progress (and position in every meaningful team staustical ranking - offense, defense and specials) from the opening day loss to the win over Lynchburg, you saw a team that was a top team, playing it's best at the end. I can tell you that their performance was exactly what the coaching staff expected from the team. Denison went there to win... didn't happen, but them returning to Salisbury and playing well again was expected. And funny enough was predicted in the previous years post Salisbury game press conference by the then graduating seniors ... and predicticted again in this year's post game press conference by Rooney. I think Denison will be very good again in 2018 as Caravana and his staff have talent returning (only 3 seniors started that semifinal game). And i expect the incoming class to have a few players to add to the mix. Playing in 2 Elite 8's and now 1 Final Four in 4 years can only enhance what was already a successful recruiting staff.

Now if we can just get you guys to agree that you'll take that 9 hour bus ride and experience beautiful Granville for yourselves, that might help our cause a bit! Haha
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Re: NCAC 2018

New postby FannOLax on Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:47 pm

seacoaster wrote:The academics are somewhere between good and excellent, and the caliber of kid there is high. Sports are, as these things go, pretty important socially at Denison, from what I can tell. And the men's lacrosse players are understood to be guys who will play the NCAA tournament (OWU permitting or notwithstanding).

The town in which it is located, Granville, is just a beautiful little village. It is safe, middle-America courteous and pretty. Denison sits up on a hill above the town. There's just nothing not to like.

Probably more than you were looking for, but that's what I think. In relative terms, I should add that I am not an alum, and I know nothing about Kenyon, OWU, Witt and other NCAC schools.


I grew up in Granville and can confirm Seacoaster's description. It is certainly not what many people might expect Ohio to be like. Denison indeed has a very scenic campus; Kenyon also does, but there's really no town there (sorta like Bard). OWU, Wooster and Witt also have nice campuses, but not in as splendid a setting as Denison's hilltop. Denison's lacrosse tradition as a strong team stretches back to the second half of the 1960s, whereas OWU came into its own in the lacrosse world in the early/mid 1970s. The NCAC was formed in 1984 when schools emphasizing academics over athletics (and also raising women's athletics relative to men's) split off from the Ohio Athletic Conference ("OAC"); the OAC didn't recognize lacrosse, so Denison, OWU, Kenyon, et al had been in the Midwest Lacrosse Association ("MLA"), which also included Ohio State and Notre Dame. I have never visited the Oberlin campus, but it is probably the most highly regarded NCAC school academically, followed by Kenyon.
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Re: NCAC 2018

New postby Stonegate on Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:19 pm

Have to agree that the loss of 2 significant recruits in 2 years has to be worrisome for OWU. Not sure how frequently it happens, but didn't occur much during my time... different era. But getting guys to buy into the outer reaches of lax isn't ever easy. As for Coach C, he is now the senior guy among NCAC lax coaches in terms of rep and time on the job. Has always been a great one. Just had to compete with some pretty stiff competition from some good ones at OWU.
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Re: NCAC 2018

New postby MrLax2U on Sun Sep 10, 2017 2:19 pm

Now if we can just get you guys to agree that you'll take that 9 hour bus ride and experience beautiful Grandville for yourselves, that might help our cause a bit! Haha


How was the trip this past season organized? Bus travel Saturday; light workout Saturday pm; play Sunday 1pm; Bus drive back Monday?

DU had a very respectable fan turnout for the game. Given the distance my guess a lot of alums/parents in the mid Atlantic region.
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Re: NCAC 2018

New postby nosy ned on Sun Sep 10, 2017 4:03 pm

Started the trip on Friday to Annapolis, light workout there. On to Salisbury, I believe the next morning with a practice in the afternoon (maybe even at Seagull Stadium). And back to Ohio after the game.

Yes, a review of the roster will confirm majority of the players are East coast kids. So the trip to Salisbury is shorter for parents and alums then the "home games" in Ohio. Worth mentioning the parent support at Big Red home games is remarkable when you consider most have to travel 500+ miles to attend.... and many do make the trip!

For the record, Denison University is located in Granville Ohio.... dang auto correct changed it on me and I didn't notice until I read what you lifted from my post.
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Re: NCAC 2018

New postby MrLax2U on Sun Sep 10, 2017 5:04 pm

Do many of Caravana's players stay involved with lacrosse after graduation? Not really comparable because Salisbury (and Cortland) were historically teachers colleges but Berkman has around 200 at different levels. Most of SU's 7/9 assistant coaches each year are SU alums.
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Re: NCAC 2018

New postby nosy ned on Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:52 pm

No, not so much. None of the current full time assistants are alum.
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Re: NCAC 2018

New postby oldtimelax on Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:28 pm

Caravana's success -- since he returned to Denison in 2009 -- is very strong. However, you could make a case that the recent success was really started by head coach Matt McGinness who took over for Caravana when he bolted for a prep school job (Woodberry Forest) following the 2005 season. McGinness went 35-13 in his three seasons and really upped Denison's recruiting profile (compared to Caravana's lackluster 25-14 record in the three seasons before leaving).
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Re: NCAC 2018

New postby nosy ned on Mon Sep 11, 2017 2:43 pm

"McGinness went 35-13 in his three seasons and really upped Denison's recruiting profile (compared to Caravana's lackluster 25-14 record in the three seasons before leaving)."

I'd be interested to know what empirical data you have to support your statement that Denison's recruiting profile was "upped" by Coach McGinnis. If it is simply by comparing 6 season records (3 by each coach) I think that's a reach at best. One could make the case that, for his first 2 seasons, Coach McGinnis was coaching Coach Caravana's recruits! And even if we give you that McGinnis did up the recruiting profile, that was more than 10 recruiting seasons ago and any effect would have long ago dissipated.

And I think it's a little misleading to cherry pick 3 seasons out of 24 and use them in an attempt to diminish Caravana's success at Denison - using 3 down years to suggest his previous stint was "lackluster"! He's has a .755% winning percentage overall and a .843% since returning for the 2009 season. And it's Caravana who has taken the team to it's 3 Final Four's - 2 during that previous "lackluster" stint! I assure you, the recent success that Denison has enjoyed is entirely due to the current coaching staff. And with all due respect to Coach McGinnis, the players are there because of Caravana and not a coach that was there for only 3 years - 10 years ago!
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Re: NCAC 2018

New postby oldtimelax on Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:29 pm

It's obvious you love Caravana -- but the fact is he left a job that was a career type gig for whatever reason -- he was bored, wanted more money, wanted new challenges etc.

He was able to reclaim that career type job (very rare) when McGinness left for Salisbury and he left Otterbein. Since then he has enjoyed the greatest sustained success in his career.
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Re: NCAC 2018

New postby FannOLax on Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:45 pm

So maybe your real point, Oldtimelax, is that Caravana got away with making an unconventional career move (not that he somehow owes his recruiting success to McGinnis)?
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Re: NCAC 2018

New postby nosy ned on Mon Sep 11, 2017 4:31 pm

oldtimelax wrote:It's obvious you love Caravana -- but the fact is he left a job that was a career type gig for whatever reason -- he was bored, wanted more money, wanted new challenges etc.

He was able to reclaim that career type job (very rare) when McGinness left for Salisbury and he left Otterbein. Since then he has enjoyed the greatest sustained success in his career.


What does any of this have to do with Caravana's recruiting/ teams current succes?!

Whether I love Caravana has nothing to do with anything. I simply asked you to offer support for a statement you made if you had it. Obviously you don't. And i offered a counter arguement. If this is all you got, end of discussion and we move on.
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Re: NCAC 2018

New postby oldtimelax on Mon Sep 11, 2017 5:28 pm

My point is Caravana was in the coaching doldrums when he left the first time....look at their NCAA tournament record from 2002-2005. McGinnis upped the ante, went to the playoffs every year and left Caravana stocked when he returned. He's obviously built upon that and has had great success. That's my opinion!
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Re: NCAC 2018

New postby MrLax2U on Mon Sep 11, 2017 5:34 pm

when McGinness left for Salisbury and he left Otterbein.


Shout out to oldtimelax, Could you please fill us in with some history here? Was McGinness an assistant at Salisbury?
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