East Coast Region 2019-20 Preview

2019-20 Projections:

*All regional rankings based off the content team’s preseason power rankings

Order of Finish:

  1. Towson
  2. James Madison
  3. Virginia Commonwealth
  4. Maryland
  5. Penn State
  6. Virginia
  7. West Virginia

East Coast Region Player of the Year: Evan Eschenburg (JMU)

East Coast Region OT 6:

  1. Evan Eschenburg (JMU)
  2. Colin Moerman (Towson)
  3. Zane Durbin (UVA)
  4. Ike Fleckenstein (VCU)
  5. Shawn Sullivan (UMD)
  6. Cory Nasiadka (WVU)

Team Previews:

Towson University

2019-20 Projections: National: 5 /// East Coast Region: 1

Location: Towson, MD

2018-19 Record: 30-4

2018-19 Finish: #1 in Power Rankings, National Champions

Brandon Kirby will be one of the leaders for Towson in 2019-20, as they look to repeat as National Champions.

Season Preview: Coming fresh off their first ever national championship, the Tigers are looking to repeat and build upon the success of last season.  While a rebuild is inevitable, they still have the pieces to be a competitive squad.

Good News: They return arguably the most talented core of top three players on the East Coast in the form of Colin Moerman, Christian Cariello, and Jeff Hayden.

Bad News: They lost a lot of Senior talent including former East Coast MVP Jordan Watt, and fellow All-Americans in David Guare and Colin Sporer.

Our Call: The Tigers are the favorites to win the East Coast region again.


James Madison

2019-20 Projections: National: 6 /// East Coast Region: 2

Location: Harrisonburg, VA

2018-19 Record: 11-6

2018-19 Finish: #4 in Power Rankings, did not attend Nationals

Season Preview: Despite not being able to make it to Nationals a year ago, the Dukes continued to show why they’re one of the best programs in the NCDA.  This year should be no different.

Good News: They have the likely East Coast MVP favorite in Evan Eschenburg returning for another season.

Bad News: They lost one of their best arms in Garrett McGurl this offseason, who played a big factor in the team’s success the past two seasons.

Our Call: James Madison has proven they have the ability to reload talent year-in and year-out so losing some talented Seniors is less of a concern than it would be for most teams.  While Towson is favored in their region, the Dukes are still a force to be reckoned with and have a legitimate chance of winning the East Coast themselves.


Virginia Commonwealth

2019-20 Projections: National: 9 /// East Coast Region: 3

Location: Richmond, VA

2018-19 Record: 10-6

2018-19 Finish: #10 in Power Rankings, T-9 at Nationals

“Tre” Sampson Edmonds and VCU will look to build upon a strong finish in 2018-19. Photo Credit: Grand Valley Photo

Season Preview: On paper, this should be the Rams’ best team in program history.  With the return of all of their major producers from a season ago, there’s plenty of reasons to believe this team will be in the top 10 once again.

Good News: The team only graduated one Senior this Summer and return everyone else, including the return of former Assistant Captain Lakota Smith after a year in the National Guard.

Bad News: The Rams will lose two talented players in Wayne Shortt and RJ Morgan after the first semester due to graduation.

Our Call: Returning virtually all of their starters, including their whole OT 6, VCU is in a prime position to have a successful season.  They still need to prove they can get over the hump and go from ‘Good’ to ‘Elite’ by beating fellow East Coast foes JMU and Towson.


Maryland

2019-20 Projections: National: 11 /// East Coast Region: 4

Location: College Park, MD

2018-19 Record: 9-12

2018-19 Finish: #12 in Power Rankings, T-5 at Nationals

Season Preview: Maryland will likely face some early struggles after the departure of many Seniors, but they still return some good players and are expected to have a strong recruiting class for the upcoming season.

Good News: The ‘Terps return talented players in Zach Fernald and Shawn Sullivan.

Bad News: Maryland lost a fairly large Senior class, including 6/13 players from their Nationals 2019 roster.

Our Call: Maryland had a great run at Nationals 2019 and can certainly use that momentum to build upon their upcoming season.  The loss of talent from last year’s team will be hard to overcome, but they still have the pieces in place to be in the mid-tier of a tough East Coast region.


Penn State

2019-20 Projections: National: 12 /// East Coast Region: 5

Location: State College, PA

2018-19 Record: 9-10

2018-19 Finish: #14 in Power Rankings, T-9 at Nationals

Season Preview: Penn State had back-to-back seasons losing fairly large Senior classes, but they’ve been a program that’s always shown an ability to recruit new members.

Good News: The Nittany Lions have good returners in Jarod Baker, Adam Cook, and Trevor Scofield who made up a large portion of the team’s production last season.

Bad News: Penn State lost arguably their best player last season in Ben Pazuchanics along with Captain Jake Nasiadka.  Transitioning captains is always a tough task for any team.

Our Call: Penn State is always a team that has an air of mystery around them year-in and year-out because it’s tough to know which team shows up on a given day.  Because of this, we see an up and down year for their team, with generally more ups than downs.


Virginia

2019-20 Projections: National: 20 /// East Coast Region: 6

Location: Charlottesville, VA

2018-19 Record: 4-10

2018-19 Finish: Unranked in Power Rankings, did not attend Nationals

Season Preview: Virginia is coming into a turning point season for their program. After being in the league for four years they will start to see their first rookie class go, and need to get some signature wins to carry the program for future generations.

Good News: They return their two All-East Coast selections from last season, Zane Durbin and Jeremy Shaw.  Rising Sophomore Jake Korman will also be returning, and should be the focal point of their attack.

Bad News: Virginia has had a tough time getting consistent turnout to tournaments which has only hurt them in the past.  Until we see a consistent change, we should expect more of the same.

Our Call: The Hoos are a team that always seems close to making a breakthrough in their region, but has had a tough time getting into the upper-half of the East Coast in year’s past.  They are certainly capable of beating opponents above them on this list, but we need to see it happen on a consistent basis.


West Virginia

2019-20 Projections: National: 26 /// East Coast Region: 7

Location: Morgantown, WV

2018-19 Record: 4-12

2018-19 Finish: Unranked in Power Rankings, did not attend Nationals

Season Preview: The Mountaineers are entering their third season in the NCDA and are looking to continue their upward trajectory since entering the league.

Good News: They are still a fairly young team, so they return virtually all of their playmakers from the past two seasons.

Bad News: They are still a fairly young team, so they will need to work on continuing to develop their strategy in order to beat more experienced competition.

Our Call: While WVU is realistically the biggest underdog team in the East Coast, there are some bright spots such as Cory Nasiadka and Isaac Avery.  It’ll be tough to climb the ladder in their region, but some early wins could build them some momentum to move towards the middle of the table.

Author: Kevin Bailey

Current NCDA Chief of Content. Former Captain for Grand Valley State University (#4).

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