11 Players To Watch in the 2010 NCAA Lacrosse Championships
May Madness kicks off this weekend with 16 of the nation's best lacrosse teams embarking on their ultimate quest of playing in Baltimore on Memorial Day Weekend.
2010 was a wildly entertaining year that left usual front-runners like Johns Hopkins with a tough road to the Final 4, while up and coming programs like Denver are looking to fight for a Baltimore berth and a piece of the national spotlight.
A host of familiar faces and newcomers dot the radar for this weekend's first round games, here are 10 players to keep an eye on from opening round play all the way to Baltimore.
T.C. DiBartolo, Gk., Mt. St. Mary's
The Mount avenged a 1 goal regular season loss to Siena in the MAAC Conference Championship. Knocking off the No.1 seeded Saints by 1 goal.
Unfortunately, Mt. St. Mary's drew #1 seeded Virginia in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
The Mount have some good scorers in their own right, but there's no way they are winning a shoot-out against the Cavs. Enter junior goalie T.C. DiBartolo.
The three-time first team All MAAC has been the foundation of The Mount's rock solid defense and stands tall against the fiercest of competition (he posted 20 stops against Georgetown).
The Mount are in a basketball style 1-16 matchup and their odds of winning are very slim, but if T.C. can rise to the occasion and stifle Virginia's offense, The Mount may have a shot at the upset.
Ryan Flanagan, Def., UNC
"Flanny" as he is affectionately called, is the undisputed leader of the UNC Tarheel's stellar defense.
Physically imposing at 6'6'' 237lbs, Flanagan's body seems more fit for the UNC basketball team, rather than their lacrosse team.
Despite Flanagan's gargantuan dimensions, the junior defenseman is rather well-equipped with speed and quickness. Couple that with his fantastic range and you've got one of the best defenders in the NCAA.
Flanagan will undoubtedly be assigned to the other teams' best attackmen game in and game out, with regular season and conference tournament losses to fellow ACC foes Maryland and Virginia, we'll see if Flanagan can redeem himself against the likes of Grant Catalino and Steele Stanwick in the NCAA tournament.
Alex Demopoulos, Att., Denver
The sophomore attackmen from Connecticut has been thoroughly enjoying Rocky Mountain living under the direction of first year coach Bill Tierney.
Demopoulos has torched netminders and spread the wealth to his fellow Pioneers this year. His 54 total points have come on 34 personal tallies and 20 dimes.
Having already gotten smacked by Syracuse in the first game of the year, Denver regrouped and has ripped off 9 straight wins leading up to a very winnable game against Stony Brook in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
This is just Denver's third trip to the tournament, much of their success this year falls on the shoulders of the young, yet talented Demopoulos.
John Galloway, Gk., Syracuse
Despite garnering NCAA Titles in his freshman and sophomore years, the Central New York native has always been subject to scrutiny.
Concerns about Galloway's often inconsistent performaces were dispatched this year. As a junior, Galloway has stood tall all regular season and became the face of Syracuse's elite defense.
Often known for its high-flying offense, Syracuse now looks to Galloway to stand on his head in the clutch and help the Orange grind out games.
The recently named Lax-Power.com All-America goalie will look to continue his newfound consistent level of high play en route to Syracuse three-peating.
Sean DeLaney, Mid., UNC
The senior quarterback of the Tarheel's dangerous offense will play a bigger role than ever in this year's tournament.
With much of the attention being on UNC's Billy Bitter, it's up to Delaney to notice other matchups around the field and take advantage of the weak spots in defenses as a result of overcompensation for Bitter.
The experienced midfielder is also a gifted scorer in his own right, as an accurate sniper, his ability to cut to the goal when Bitter is dodging from X will open up things offensively for the boys in Carolina Blue.
Mike Chanenchuk, Mid., Princeton
This freshman phenom has helped lead Princeton back to the promised land, and the first-year from St. Anthony's in NY is as hard to cover as his name is to spell.
Chanenchuk ripped the nets 28 times this year and has been the perfect compliment to elite scorers (and cousins) Jack and Chris McBride.
Chanenchuk will be called upon again to play older than his age as Princeton squares off against a formidable Notre Dame side in the first round.
Notre Dame boasts Scott "the beast" Rodgers between the pipes and the Tigers will need to have multiple shooting options in order to dismantle the Fighting Irish.
Curtis Dickson, Att., Delaware
After the days of Alex Smith at Delaware, many wondered if the Fightin' Blue Hens would ever return to the national spotlight.
Well, thanks to senior Curtis Dickson, Delaware has earned another trip to the NCAA tournament.
The crafty Canadian leads the NCAA in goals scored (62) and overall points (75)
The recently named All-American has ripped through the CAA this year, we'll see if he can continue his prolific scoring run deep into May.
Dickson currently has notched a hattrick in six straight games. Warrants mentioning that this deadly finisher will be Ryan Flanagan's first assignment in the opening round of the NCAA's
Kevin Crowley, Mid., Stony Brook
The surprise Tewaaraton finalist from Stony Brook leads the Seawolves into a clash of rising stars against Denver in the 8-9 seed matchup.
Crowley can dodge and finish with the best of them, he's been a fixture among the NCAA scoring leaders all season long.
Our second Canadian on the watch list, Crowley played a season for the MCLA (club) team of Simon Fraser University before transferring to Stony Brook.
Crowley is the do it all man for the Seawolves, not only does he rip the rope, but his ground ball totals have been astonishing as well, showing that Crowley gets it done all over the field.
Rob Pannell, Att., Cornell
Pannell shined in 2009 as Tewaaraton winner Max Seibald's pressure release valve on attack, helping the Big Red reach the National Championship game.
With Seibald gone however, Pannell has lived up to expectations in shedding the "sidekick" label.
The sensational sophomore has comfortably stepped into the role as team leader both on the field and on the stat sheet.
Cornell's slow start this season will be cause for speculation, it will be up to Pannell to rally the troops and show the fans that Cornell is back and ready to compete on the sport's biggest stage again this year.
Ken Clausen, Def., Virginia
You can be sure of two things when Ken Clausen steps onto the field.
He'll be covering the other team's best attackmen, and he'll strip him at least once.
Not much has changed on the field for Clausen. He's still the nation's best defender, on the nation's best team, with the nation's craziest hair.
Clausen always seems to do something during the course of a game that makes your jaw drop, or your face cringe. He's hard hitting and plays with the utmost intensity.
Clausen will need to be in tip top form if the Cavs want to avoid a third straight Final 4 defeat as the #1 seed.
Billy Bitter, Att., UNC
Hands down the best player in the nation will have all eyes on him during the NCAA tournament.
Bitter has been hampered by injuries this year and was suprisingly robbed of a finalist nomination for the Tewaaraton trophy (Lacrosse's Heisman).
Despite the bumps and bruises, Bitts is ready to go in this tournament and has a chip on his shoulder, never a good thing for opposing teams.
Bitter is an electric dodger who can finish from a variety of distances. He also has a keen eye for the open man coming off the dodge, making him the nation's most complete attackmen.
If you're a defenseman and you're not pissing your shorts when Bitter calls his own number against you, you're either hopelessly stupid, or possibly Ken Clausen.
Either way, watch out for Bitter as UNC opens up against Delware in the first round, and looks to capture the NCAA title.