February 6, 2014 by Charlie Enders in Preview with 6 comments
The main storyline of the Great Lakes region is one as old as sport itself: the perennial power vs the young upstart. Last year, the North Park Lost Boys barely squeaked by relative unknown Knox College in the game-to-go of a one bid region, 15-13. 2014 looks like it could be even more competitive; will this be the year that someone other than North Park goes to Nationals? Will North Park assert their dominance? Or will there be more than one bid in the region, making everything less dramatic?
#10 North Park Lost Boys
North Park had a 2013 that some have come to expect from them: they had a fairly successful regular season, qualified for Nationals, yet finished rather disappointingly. The Lost Boys hope that 2014 is the year they finally end the season playing their best ultimate, instead of peaking earlier in the spring.
North Park brings back a team that is loaded with Nationals experience, having only lost 2 players from last year’s team. The experienced squad had a great fall (only losing four games) and under the guiding presence of coach Cameron Hodgkinson, they have high expectations for this season. According to Hodgkinson, the guys to watch out for are Tanner Mayo (10 goals, 9 assists, and 7 D’s at Nationals last year), Andrew Fredrickson, Danny Miller, Reese Samin, and Thomas Williams (21 assists, 3rd overall).
“This year we picked up Danny Miller,” Hodgkinson added, “a grad student who went to Denison and played for Chicago Club this summer, who will play both sides of the disc this year and is capable of taking over games cutting.”
The Lost Boys handling core is slightly depleted, due to the departure of their (arguably) best player Jeffrey Erickson and Nate “HP” Peterson. Yet they are not deterred by the losses, and they’ll be attending a glut of high-level tournaments. Their season consists of the Midwestern D-III Invite, D-III Easterns, Chicago Invite, and the possibility of one more in February.
#21 Knox College
According to Freshman-turned-Sophomore phenom Harper Garvey (2013 GL Freshman of the Year), “Knox is going to be a serious baller squadron” this year.
Although they lost a solid senior class, Garvey believes that Knox is much deeper this year, citing a successful fall season as evidence. Although Knox lost in the game-to-go last year, they defeated North Park (on double game point) to win their conference.
Clearly they have the talent, but do they have the drive? Garvey thinks so. “It’s going to be a good year for us,” Garvey said. “No doubt.”
Although Garvey is clearly the man who runs the show (having two years of high-level club experience on Minneapolis Sub Zero helps with that), he has plenty of teammates who will need to fill in the gaps left by departing players Jason McGeeney (2nd Team All-Region), Dwight Johnson, and Nate Williams.
Joey Knutson (2nd Team All-Region), James Sheppard, and Ben Yoder are just a few names from a team that is on it’s way up, although they aren’t sure at the moment exactly which tournaments they plan on going to. “We’re not totally sure yet, but we plan on attending more sanctioned events to get our street cred up,” Garvey told us. Yet it’s tough to see a 2014 D-III Championship that doesn’t have Knox in it
Rose-Hulman had perhaps the best fall out of any DIII team in the Great Lakes region, losing only a handful of games, with most coming against good division one teams like Cincinnati, Northern Iowa, and Michigan. The final score of their game against Michigan (11-13) shows that this team thinks they can prove something this year after finishing a disappointing 5th in the region last year.
It’s also noteworthy to point out that they crushed in-region rival Calvin College at Glory Days, 13-3. Although 2013 1st Team All-Region playmaker Andrew May is gone, Hulman’s other All-Region standout Joshua Cook is more than capable of taking the reins of this relatively unknown team.
Valparaiso: Brings back three All-Region players: Jesus Osorio, Matthew West (both 1st), and Tyler Light (2nd).
Olivet Nazarene: Had a successful Glory Days, beating Central Michigan twice and playing close with Knox (10-13).
Calvin, Kalamazoo, and Kettering College(s): All lost important playmakers: Karl Larsen (Calvin), Ken Kaminski (Kettering), Aidan Brawn and 2013 D-III GL Player of the Year Christopher Cain (Kalamazoo). It’ll be interesting to see who steps up for each.