Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Emerson leads the way in the Northeast due to physical keepers David Foxx and Victor Viega. Foxx and Viega usually sub in and out for each other, but having both players on the field at the same time could expand Emerson's playbook and help to negate their lack of size. Around the Emerson keepers, talented, smaller chasers like Benny Nadeau and Maddie Smeaton and the speedy Pablo Calderon-Santiago give Emerson a solid half-court offense. Emerson dominates time of possession because they utilize the reset more than any team I've seen. Emerson's patience gives them more and better shot opportunities.
The return of keeper Brendan Stack will boost BU's already flourishing fastbreak attack. BU is a deceptively great defensive team (their defense isn't a big, physical "steel curtain) and their ability to force turnovers creates fastbreak opportunities. Long, fast, agile chaser Michael Powell can pressure the point terrifically and beater Katrina Bossoti can take out offensive options with great consistency. BU's fastbreak often catches teams on their heels, with no set defense. Racing down the pitch is a chaotic way to play, but it works for the Terriers. With the experienced Stack back in the middle of that fastbreak, BU should be able to cut down on sloppy, careless turnovers and rushed shots on fastbreaks that plagued them at World Cup VI.
Emerson and BU have two completely different styles of play, but matchup almost perfectly. The games between these two Boston teams seem to always come down to snatches, and with each team's go-to seeker graduating (Emerson's Ryan Barnada and BU's John Blacker), we'll be in for some unpredictable and exciting games next fall.
Star chaser Jayke Archibald and captain/seeker Fred Varone are graduating, so Hofstra will look to redefine their identity around beaters Alex Leitch (3rd Team All-American) and Theresa Buchta. The Flying Dutchmen are losing a total of 7 players, including 5 chasers or keepers, giving them a difficult rebuilding job. Leitch and Buchta are a bright spot for the Long Islanders. An experienced beating pair can guide an inexperienced chasing core to success, so it will be interesting to see what Hofstra does in terms of recruiting.
Tufts has lots of promise behind second year players like seeker/beater Nick Ryder and keeper Steve Mullahoo. As seniors like chaser Howie Levine graduate, the torch is being passed to the younger Tufflepuffs. But having chaser Raj Reid back (injured knee) will undoubtedly affect Tufts' overall gameplay the most. Reid is lightning quick and can completely turn a game around. Reid was instrumental in leading Tufts to the World Cup IV final as a freshman, now in his senior year, Reid will look to lead his team as close back to the top as possible.
Below the four NERC semifinalists, there should be a similar hierarchy of teams. Rochester might be able to jump up the ranks in chaser Devin Sandon's senior year. The tandem of beater Harry Clarke and Sandon creates goal after goal with Clarke clearing out driving lanes and Sandon zipping through the defense. No player in the Northeast is more valuable to his/her team than Sandon. Otherwise, NYU and Macaulay are losing their fantastic captains Amanda Dallas and Alex Linde, respectively, the latter being of great importance to his team's offensive production too. In Upstate New York, RIT could build on a Round of 32 performance at World Cup VI on the back of experienced chaser Brian Herzog.
Emerson chaser Pablo Calderon-Santiago stands out because of his quickness and ability to get open. Calderon-Santiago has a similar skill set as Rochester's Devin Sandon except he is not Emerson's primary ball handler. Off the ball, Calderon-Santiago is virtually impossible to guard and will shred through all but the strongest zone defenses. If Emerson does not convert either Victor Viega or David Foxx to chaser, Calderon-Santiago's importance increases. In that case, he becomes Emerson's top chaser and second best scoring threat on the field at any time.
Team to Watch
QC Boston-The Massacre has a chance to become the most elite community team on the East Coast. Launching this summer, a chasing core anchored by Team USA chasers Kedzie Teller and Zach D'Amico is very exciting and promising for the Massacre. Not much else is finalized about QCB's roster which makes me even more intrigued to see them play.
Will the Northeast be the weakest US region? Arguably, it was in 2012-13. With Maryland and Villanova taking heavy losses, does the Northeast get out of the cellar?
How will the return of Tufts chaser Raj Reid and Boston keeper Brendan Stack affect their respective teams?
What does the future hold for Vassar and Middlebury? Vassar could be a top team in the Northeast but is unhappy with the IQA. And the five time world champs barely try anymore, sending a pathetic team to 2012's Northeast Regionals. I hope an IQA event that please our forefathers is created in 2013-14.