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Preseason Predictions Revisited: How Did I Do?

I’m all about accountability here at Sticks In. You make a prediction, you declare something to be so, then you follow through and check back to make sure it happened. And so, with college ball in the rear view, it’s time to take a look back at some of my preseason predictions. I made some outlandish statistical claims and I made some award picks. Here’s how I did:

Prediction: Liam Entenmann wins the Ensign C. Markland Kelly Jr. Award

Outcome: He won it.

This was hardly a bold prediction. Entenmann was widely considered the top goalie in college from wire to wire this year, and finished with a Tewaaraton finalist nod. There were plenty who thought he deserved to win it. The thing about this claim is who I left out. Emmet Carroll was not among the five goalies I named in my prediction, and should have been. He finished as a 2nd team All American and had an incredible year for the Quakers.

Prediction: Cole Kastner wins the William C. Schmeisser Award

Outcome: Jake Piseno won it

I didn’t even have Piseno in my five guys considered for it. I had Kastner, Ajax Zappitello, AJ Pilate, Kenny Brower, and Mason Woodward. Kastner had a great year, but Piseno just wrecked games in too many ways. A little more about him in a second. It was a little odd to see Zappitello win Player of the Year but not this award, but that’s just the quirks of the process. Kastner had a great season. He’ll be an instant impact pro for the Redwoods when he’s done hooping at Stanford.

Prediction: Graham Bundy Jr wins the Lt. Donald MacLaughlin Jr. Award

Outcome: Shane Knobloch won it

Do I get a mulligan here because Bundy played attack most of the year? Sort of torpedoed his chance to win Midfielder of the Year. Bundy played a bit of both but because of that, he sort of ended up in between when it came to recognition. He wasn’t an All American because he wasn’t outplaying the big stars at attack, but he didn’t play enough midfield to end up getting on the ballot there, so he was in this space that was hard to evaluate. I had Knobloch as one of my finalists for the award so I wasn’t too far off. The place I got cute here was having Jake Piseno as a finalist for this. Joel White actually won this award, and I thought Piseno had a chance to do the same thing.

Prediction: TJ Malone wins the Lt. Col. J. I. Turnbull Award

Outcome: Connor Shellenberger won it

Preseason I was big on the “Penn State is going scorched earth after last year” train, and expected the Nittany Lions to play angry all year, led by Malone. The Penn State QB had a great individual season, but Shellenberger ultimately carried the UVA offense to the Final Four. He played through pain to get them there, and delivered unbelievable moments like the OT game winner against Hopkins in the quarters.

Prediction: Brennan O’Neill wins the Lt. Raymond Enners Award

Outcome: Ajax Zappitello won it

This was a surprise. At first glance. Zappitello is the first defenseman to win the award since David Morrow in 1993, unless you count Tillman Johnson winning it in 2003 as a defenseman. Apparently, this was a bit of a quirky season. The loaded group of attackmen up the for the award effectively split the votes between themselves, and because of how points are calculated, Ajax pulled ahead of all them. This is not at all a knock on Ajax, he very much deserves the award. Just an interesting process note. Zappitello was almost single handedly a reason why Maryland made it to Memorial Day. He erased Connor Shellenberger in the semifinals, and as a result, UVA was stuck in the mud all day. A defender capable of stop an entire offense by himself because he can erase a Tewaaraton finalist - that’s a player of the year.

Prediction: CJ Kirst wins the Tewaaraton

Outcome: Pat Kavanagh won it

Kirst ultimately wasn’t even a finalist, which was a surprise to me in and of itself. In my group of finalists from preseason, I had three of the actual field of finalists. The two I had as finalists who missed the cut were Kirst and TJ Malone. Liam Entenmann and Matt Brandau took their spots. Kavanagh is a very worthy Tewaaraton winner, finally taking home the hardware after his third time as a finalist. He led Notre Dame to back to back NCAA titles.

Prediction: Chris Lyons breaks Jon Reese and Miles Thompson’s Goal Record

Outcome: Chris Lyons had zero goals.

Woof. Tough start. The single season goal record is unbreakable territory. 82 goals is a lot of goals. I made this prediction and then Chris Lyons got sidelined by injury for the year. The nation’s leading goal scorer ended up being Payton Cormier, with 64 goals. Those put him past Mac O’Keefe for the most in NCAA history.

Prediction: Hopkins will have their most efficient Extra Man Offense in school history

Outcome: They went .452 on EMO, the record is .608

.452 is pretty good. It put Hopkins 14th in the country. Notre Dame had the best mark in the country at .675, which is outrageously good. I looked at the combination of depth, skill, and shooting prowess on the Hopkins offense during the preseason and expected a positively lethal extra man. They were very good, but not all timers at Hopkins.

Prediction: TJ Malone will lead the nation in scoring

Outcome: Matt Brandau led the nation, Malone was 9th

Brandau was the only DI player to crack the 100 point mark, finishing with 101 and leading the nation in assists. Malone was Penn State’s leading scorer with 78 points, and had a great split with 42 goals and 36 assists. On a per game basis, Malone was 4th in the country, one of just five players to score five or more points per game.

Prediction: Jake Piseno will break the caused turnover record

Outcome: Piseno finished with 44 CTs, the record remains 70.

Brian Karalunas really was on one in 2011. This stat has only been kept for NCAA record books since 2010. So if Petro was out there with 200 CTs or something back in the day, it’s not on the books. Karalunas had 70 in 16 games in 2011, and that remains the only season on record with a player recording over four CTs per game. Villanova’s Stephen Zupicich led the nation in caused turnovers with 51, he was the only DI player in the country this year to average more than three per game.

Prediction: Syracuse will score more points than any other team in school history

Outcome: Syracuse had the 4th most points in a season in school history

This year’s Syracuse Orange scored 432 points. A season of prolific production. But not quite the most ever for the Cuse. In 1986, the team had 458 points. The 1984 team had 453. The 2024 Orange finished one point behind the 1990 team’s mark of 433, which is not recognized by the NCAA but sure as hell recognized by me. The highest scoring team in DI history remains the 2015 Albany Great Danes, who had a preposterous 528 points. They, 2019 Penn State, and 2016 Brown are the only three teams ever to break the 500 point mark in DI.

Prediction: Duke’s leading scorer will be someone who wasn’t on the team last year

Outcome: Brennan O’Neill led the team, Josh Zawada was second

Brennan had 81 points, Zawada had 78. For a chunk of the year, Zawada did actually lead Duke in scoring, and I thought for a second I might get one of this correct. Serves me right. Zawada did lead the team in assists with 45. No other newcomers to the team really came close. Freshman Benn Johnston was the next highest scoring newbie with 29 points.

Prediction: Connor Shellenberger will break the single season assists record

Outcome: Shellenberger had 52 assists, second in the country, the record is intact.

The mark for assists in a season is, like the goals record, basically unbreakable. This was a lofty prediction. In 2019, Grant Ament had 96 assists. No other DI player has ever had more than 80. Matt Brandau ultimately the nation in assists this year with 57. It was not a big year for the helper. 57 assists in a season isn’t even top 25 all time.


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