Unsung Heroes: The All-Forman Team
The task: Compile the nation's most underrated, under-appreciated and under-hyped team of silent stars. These are the best players in the country who did not make All-American teams, and being listed on the watered-down, all-inclusive "Honorable Mention" list does not count. To make matters more challenging, only one player from each college could be selected — or else I would have been tempted to pick every player not named Mike Sawyer and Scott Ratliff on Loyola, or not named Jesse Bernhardt on Maryland.
This is The All-Forman Team. And, oh by the way... No disrespect, but I'll take my squadron against the First-Team All-Americans.
A – Kieran McArdle, St. John's
On my short list for 2013 Tewaaraton favorites. Totaled 28 goals, 32 assists this year, including 3 and 4 against Notre Dame in Big East tournament semifinals. Dynamic dodger, finisher and feeder. Puts Johnnies in preseason Top 20.
A – Ryan Walsh, Colgate
Broke Peter Baum's freshman scoring record, registering 38 goals and 22 assists. Big, 6-foot-4, 217-pound bruiser with a lethal outside shot makes him a tough cover for any defender. Great 1-2 punch with Baum for next year.
A – Matt Gibson, Yale
Put the Bulldogs on his back late in the season, including outrageous eight-assist performance against Cornell in Ivy League Tournament semifinals. Finished with 28 goals, 33 assists. Already making impact in MLL.
M – Cameron Flint, Denver
Flew under radar with Denver's multi-dimensional offense of stars, but was a linchpin to success. All-around athlete. Scored 16 goals, dished seven assists, added 30 ground balls.
M – Drew Snider, Maryland
Star of the NCAA tournament, compiling 10 goals in first three playoff games, doing the Seattle shimmy. Not flashy but always in the right place at the right time. Strong over-hand step-down shot. Finished with 24 and 7.
M – Jim Marlatt, Notre Dame
Missed 2011 with injury but bounced back as Notre Dame's leading scorer, with 19 goals and 12 assists, on well-balanced offense. Dynamic dodger. Scored 3 and 2 against Yale in NCAA tournament first round.
FO – Mike Poppleton, Johns Hopkins
Sixth nationally with .616 win percentage (167-of-271), while scooping up 78 ground balls. Stepped up to help replace the departed Matt Dolente. Grinder.
LSM – John Cunningham, Princeton
Intense, vocal leader on the field, where he also picked up 53 ground balls and caused five turnovers for the nation's sixth-ranked unit. Two-time captain at Princeton. Routinely shut down top opposing midfielder.
SSDM – Will Haus, Duke
His progress allowed Duke's defense to evolve throughout the season; listed as an attackman on Blue Devils' roster but found home on defensive midfield. Tremendous athleticism. Sparked transition. Scooped up 27 ground balls, caused nine turnovers.
SSDM – Bobby Hill, Virginia
Not the biggest physically, listed at 5-foot-9 and 185 pounds, but arguably the biggest competitor. Had a gnat-like persistence, bothering midfielders wherever they went on the field. Picked up 24 ground balls. Remember his goal at the end of first half against Princeton in NCAA tournament first round?
D – Jake Smith, UMass
Physical, tough-as-nails defenseman and leader of UMass' third-ranked defense. Held Colgate's Peter Baum to two late scores in NCAA tournament first round game. Picked up 28 ground balls and caused 11 turnovers.
D – Lukas Mikelinich, Lehigh
Key piece on Lehigh's second-ranked defense. Primary defender covering Colgate's Peter Baum in regular-season meeting, holding him to season-low one goal. Blue-collar. Picked up 17 ground balls, caused 10 turnovers.
D – Dylan Grimm, Loyola
Captain on Loyola's undervalued defense. Didn't draw opponent's top dodging attackman like Joe Fletcher, or top crease finisher like Reid Acton, but could cover anyone. Forced 21 turnovers, scooped up 42 ground balls.
G – Charlie Cipriano, Fairfield
Fifth nationally with 11.56 saves per game. Posted .566 save percentage and 8.77 goals against average. Routinely mentioned by coaches as one of the nation's elite goalies. Back-to-back winner of ECAC Goalkeeper of the Year.
Let us know: Who would make your All-Underrated Team?