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Saint of Old:
Only 4 Qualify for League Tourney

2013 Standings
SLU
RPI
Skidmore
Vassar

2014  Top 6 (Predictions in no particular order)

HOBART
A couple dissapointing seasons, but a good freshman class and continued growth should  put them in the hunt for a post season birth or even Dance expectations.

UNION
2013 was close, but no cigar in terms of post season after starting the year on a 11 game unbebaten streak. Must beat 2 of last seasons league opponents to have a chance at qualification. Union is a good squad, but must play better non-conference schedule in order to better prepare for a tough league.

VASSAR
A consistently strong team over the last decade. Made NCAA and advanced in both '11 and '12.
Vassar also have an AMAZING record against every other team in the Leauge. Four ties in league play last year however, almost saw them fail to qualify. They are well coached and are looking to make another forward step. Back to back years of not dancing will not help their cause.

RPI
Another team that Danced and danced well in '11 and '12, but failed to make the NCAA in '13.
Beaten in the League semi-final by Skidmore last season, RPI still had a relative succesful year, including beating final 4 participant, Williams. It will be a tough season for the well coached RPI however, as many teams in the league have improved dramatically and ready to take the spot that now belongs to RPI. 

SKIDMORE
The most improved team in the league.
These boys have recreated the SLU formula of stifling defense and Jamaican/African flair up top.
They are the only team in the league to beat St. Lawrence in '12 and '13.
Made it to last seasons league tourney final, and were perhaps unlucky not to get an at-large invitation to the NCAA's. Teams will underestimate Skidmore to their peril this year.
They are the real deal. Potent offense and extremely hungry after last season's dissapointment.

St. Lawrence

The boys in red have had a good run since 2010.
Won league in 10,11 and 13, adding the Tourney in 10 and 13 as well.
This year however, will be the toughest yet, after losing a 4 year starter/All American at the center of midfield. This team has struggled with injuries the last few years, and will hope for a healthy year.

Close but no Cigar:

RIT
Good team, but will not win more than 3 league games, and more is needed.

Clarkson
Not good enough for the league. With new coach and everything going the right way, maybe an average team by 2017.

Bard:
Three years into the building process, and Bard are still a work in progress. Should hope for competitiveness in a good leaggue and attempt to attract the pieces needed to improve.
It is difficult to enter a good league and find success. Just ask Hamilton, no one has heard from them in NESCAC in 4 years.

Thoughts?


deutschfan:
Saint:  This is going to be one of the most competitive years in Liberty League history.  But for last year's MVP all the top offensive players are back and based on published recruiting classes everyone has been loading up on defense.  I agree with your take on the top 6 teams and here are my thoughts on those teams in no specific order:

SLU:  Still the team to beat and will be stronger this year than last as younger skill players have another year and they only lose one impact player, albeit an All American.  Goalie was in the zone all year and deserved All American status.  It will be interesting to see whether he can repeat his phenomenal performance for a second year in a row.  SLU's bench could beat some of the lower echelon LL teams.   

Skidmore:  Last year may have been their best chance to make the NCAA tournament.  Two all region offensive players return but they have had consistency issues for a long time.  They can play a great game and follow it with a mediocre or poor one.  This is one of the main reasons the committee overlooked them last year.

RPI:  Like most teams in this group RPI returns almost everyone.  They also have an early season edge having taken a summer trip to Costa Rica.  They will be 4 or 5 games ahead of the other teams at the end of August.  Another team that has been bitten by the inconsistency bug.  They beat Williams last year and then laid an egg against Skidmore at home in the League semi-finals. 

Union:  Totally agree that Union's non-league schedule is a ball and chain on their tournament hopes.  Only strong team they play pre-league is Oneonta, and that is a pre-season scrimmage.  Union must have Vassar on the brain as Vassar has effectively ended their season three years running.  Union returns a bunch of players but not being challenged before league is a real impediment.  They should be motivated by school's hockey team who won the D1 national championship. 

Vassar:  Vassar has had a remarkable LL run.  They haven't lost to a LL team other than SLU the past two seasons.  As Union has to beat Vassar, Vassar has to beat SLU.  Vassar replaces 5 starters, more than any other elite team.  They have one of the top LL goal scorers who is the only returning unanimous First Teamer.  Filling holes and quality non-league opponents like Stevens and Oneonta could make for a difficult year.

Hobart:  Started mostly freshman and sophomores last year, and freshman center-mid was one of the best players in the LL.  Recruiting class is excellent and the biggest concern is going to be the maturation process of all this young talent.  Hobart still may be a year away, but if they don't make the dance this year, look out in 2015 and 2016.  The men's team may also be motivated to get out of the shadow of the women who won the National Championship last year.           











Ommadawn:
I agree with (and appreciate) the assessments of both Saint of Old and deutschfan. It would be nice if LL could get a couple of teams into the NCAA tournament this year.  Aside from the two links below, I haven't been able to dig up much on the incoming classes of LL teams.  I did hear that Skidmore has a few strong New Englanders coming in, but that they lost one of their starting wide backs from last year to a D1 school (transfer).

http://www.hwsathletics.com/news/2014/6/17/HSC_0617143137.aspx

http://www.saintsathletics.com/news/2014/6/30/MSOC_0630140236.aspx




deutschfan:
Student Sports lists a recruit each for RIT and RPI, and the former Vassar Asst., now the head coach at Clarkson, in his bio says he recruited 3 USSDA players for Vassar.  In less than two weeks we should know the freshman classes for all the LL teams. 

Ommadawn:
I was interested to see that Bard and Middlebury held a joint clinic this spring at Bard.  It seems like a win-win for the two programs.  Middlebury gets to look at players in the tri-state area without the players having to hike all the way up to Vermont and Bard attracts players to their campus who might not otherwise visit.

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