The FCIAC has a long and proud tradition of having plenty of the best boys high school lacrosse players in the country.
Some recent examples which confirm that were the many former conference players who were on the rosters of the best college programs in the country and especially with the six former FCIAC players chosen in the 2020 Major League Lacrosse Draft.
All six of those former conference players were among the first 33 players chosen in the MLL Draft which had 48 total players drafted by six teams in eight rounds on May 4.
The MLL season was originally scheduled to begin May 30 but the COVID-19 pandemic postponed that. The league still plans on having a 2020 season and an announcement is supposed to be forthcoming when there is more clarity to that.
Michael Kraus, who established a New Canaan High School record for points in a season when he racked up 108 (64 goals) in 2015, wrapped up a fantastic career as a senior captain for Virginia and subsequently was drafted by the Connecticut Hammerheads with the second overall pick behind Yale’s TD Ierlan in the MLL Draft.
Kraus was the first of four former FCIAC stars among the top 18 picks in the MLL Draft. Former Darien star Mark Evanchick was picked by the Philadelphia Barrage with the ninth overall pick, and soon after former Wilton star Michael Brown and former Ridgefield star Chase Levesque were picked 17th and 18th, respectively. Brown was drafted by Connecticut and then the Chesapeake Bayhawks chose Levesque.
Two more Darien High School graduates who got drafted were Rock Stewart, who was picked 30th overall by the New York Lizards, and three picks later Philadelphia drafted Colin Minicus with the 33rd overall selection.
Two more former FCIAC stars – Peter Dearth from Ridgefield and Greenwich’s William Perry – were senior captains on their respective programs which were ranked among the top five teams in the nation in both the Inside Lacrosse and United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association final national polls.
Dearth was twice elected captain by his teammates at Syracuse, which was 5-0 and ranked No. 1 in both polls when the season was halted.
Perry was a team captain for 7-0 North Carolina, which was ranked fourth in the Inside Lacrosse poll and fifth in the USILA coaches poll.
The accomplishments of Kraus, Evanchick, Brown, Levesque, Stewart, Minicus, Dearth, Perry and many more former FCIAC players who were on college teams ranked in the Top 20 of either of the two final polls are below under the subheads of the respective FCIAC high schools where each player attended.
Mark Evanchick, Jack Joyce and Blake Cellar were all on the University of Pennsylvania roster.
Evanchick was a 5-foot-11, 210-pound senior and one of the best defenders in the country. He started all five games during the 2020 season and concluded an outstanding career he started in 37 of the 39 games he played in. Evanchick, who who started in 34 of 36 games during his final three years, made the All-Ivy League First Team in 2018 and ’19 and last year this was also a Third-Team USILA All-American. Evanchick, who was picked ninth overall by the Philadelphia Barrage in the 2020 MLL Draft, also earned Academic All-Ivy this spring. Evanchick made the All-FCIAC First Team three consecutive years from 2014-16.
Joyce was a 6-foot-1, 190-pound sophomore midfielder who played in three games. Joyce was selected to the 2017 All-FCIAC Second Team and to the 2018 All-FCIAC First Team.
Cellar was a 5-foot-9, 160-pound defenseman who did not see any game action. Last year he was selected to the 2019 All-FCIAC First Team.
Rock Stewart was selected 30th overall by New York in the MLL Draft after he finished his successful career as a 6-foot, 198-pound defenseman for Williams College. Stewart snatched up 22 ground balls with a goal and an assist in four games this past season and he had 223 ground balls, 75 caused turnovers, 14 goals and five assists in 59 career games. He made the 2016 All-FCIAC First Team.
Colin Minicus was chosen 33rd overall by Philadelphia in the MLL Draft after he concluded his excellent career as a 5-foot-10, 170-pound senior attackman for Amherst. Minicus racked up 276 career points with 128 goals and 148 assists and he also had 113 ground balls while starting 51 of 58 games. He had 12 goals and nine assists in just the four games played by the 3-1 Mammoths this year. Minicus was selected to the All-FCIAC First Team in 2015 and ’16.
Kevin Lindley has been an outstanding goal-scorer for Loyola University Maryland throughout his career. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound junior attackman had racked up 19 goals and an assist for the 4-2 Greyhounds at the juncture when the season was halted. Loyola was ranked 13th in the final USILA coaches poll and 14th in the Inside Lacrosse poll.
Lindley set the school single-season goals scored record last year when he scored 60 goals to break the old record of 54 set in 2012 by Eric Lusby. Lindley led the Patriot League in shooting percentage (.444) in 2019. He has scored 116 goals and added nine assists in 40 career games from 2018-20. Lindley made the 2015 All-FCIAC Second Team and then made the All-FCIAC First Team twice – in 2016 and ’17.
Jack Kniffin and Riley Stewart both played for Brown University, which was in the “Other Receiving Votes” category by having received the 22nd most polling points in both the Inside Lacrosse and USILA Coaches final polls.
Kniffin concluded a very good career as a 5-foot-9, 170-pound senior attackman who finished with 102 points (67 goals and 35 assists) while starting in 30 of 51 career games. Kniffin had 12 goals and three assists while starting every game for the 3-2 Bears this year. Kniffin made the 2016 All-FCIAC First Team as a senior after he had been selected to the All-FCIAC Second Team the previous two years.
Riley Stewart was a 6-foot-1, 195-pound junior midfielder had a goal and six ground balls in all five games this year. He has 47 ground balls and 16 points (12 goals) in 36 career games. Riley Steward was selected to the 2017 All-FCIAC First Team the year after he made the 2016 All-FCIAC Second Team.
Ryan Cornell played in three games as a 5-foot-11, 155-pound junior backup goalie for the University of Vermont (2-1). Cornell made 10 saves in the first half of the season-opening 10-9 loss at Holy Cross, he recorded six saves in the second half of a 16-7 home victory against Quinnipiac and Cornell got his first collegiate win with five saves in the season finale against Dartmouth, a 9-8 victory on March 7.
Cornell had a 7.21 goals-against average and he had a .656 save percentage with his 21 saves. He backed up usual starter Nick Washuta, a senior who was the first goalie selected in the 2020 MLL Draft by Denver with the 11th overall pick. Cornell was selected to the 2015 All-FCIAC Second Team as a Darien sophomore and then he became a two-time All-FCIAC First Team pick his last two years.
Tyler Strub was a 6-foot, 185-pound freshman defenseman who played in one game for the University of Massachusetts, which was ranked 12th by Inside Lacrosse and 17th by the USILA Coaches Poll. He was selected to the 2018 All-FCIAC Second Team and the 2019 All-FCIAC First Team.
Matt Gould was a sophomore defenseman who played in four games for Providence College, which was in the “Other Receiving Votes” category by having received the 23rd most polling points in the last Inside Lacrosse Poll.
Tommy Hellman was a 6-foot-1 freshman midfielder who played in five games for Air Force and scored his first career goal. He made the 2019 All-FCIAC First Team last year.
Joe Casucci was listed on the University of Massachusetts roster as a 6-foot-3, 210-pound junior defenseman but he did not play because he redshirted the limited 2020 season due to injury. UMass was ranked 12th by Inside Lacrosse and 17th by the USILA Coaches Poll.
William Perry was a 6-foot, 185-pound senior midfielder for North Carolina. He netted a pair of goals in the last game of his career on March 20, an 18-16 victory over Bryant which improved the Tar Heels to 7-0 at which point the season ended.
Perry had eight goals and four assists while starting all seven games and he finished his career with 70 goals and 23 assists in 52 games, including 32 points (26 goals, six assists) last year as a junior.
Perry had 14 goals and four assists in 2017 and won the team’s Jay Gallagher Memorial Award as the team’s outstanding freshman player. The 2016 GHS graduate scored the most points in school history and he was All-FCIAC First Team twice – in 2015 and ’16.
Bailey Savio was a 6-foot, 185-pound junior for Loyola University Maryland who established himself as one of the top faceoff specialists in the nation last year when he won 246 of 471 faceoffs (.522 percentage) and set Loyola school records for faceoffs won and taken, and also for ground balls with 141.
Savio had won 90 of 131 faceoffs and scooped up 62 ground balls in this seasons’s six games for the 4-2 Greyhounds, who were ranked 13th in the final USILA Coaches Poll and 14th in the Inside Lacrosse Poll. He had an excellent game and was vital to Loyola’s 11-10 home victory Feb. 22 over Rutgers when he won 23 of 24 faceoffs and had a season-high 18 ground balls. Savio made the 2017 All-FCIAC First Team a year after he was on the 2016 All-FCIAC Second Team.
Matt Baugher was a 5-foot-8, 170-pound sophomore attackman for the University of Massachusetts, which was ranked 12th by Inside Lacrosse and 17th by the USILA Coaches Poll. Baugher appeared in seven games as a reserve on attack, mostly during man-up situations.
Jack Feda was a 5-foot-11, 190-pound freshman midfielder for Bucknell who played in three games and scored his first career goal against Binghamton. Bucknell was ranked 20th in the final USILA Coaches Poll.
Feda made the All-FCIAC First Team three straight years from 2017-19 and when he graduated from Greenwich he had 247 career points and the school record of 199 career goals.
Michael Kraus and Jackson Appelt were teammates for defending NCAA Division I national champion Virginia, which had a 4-2 record when the season ended and was tied for ninth in the last Inside Lacrosse poll and was 11th in the USILA coaches poll.
Kraus, a 5-foot-11, 195-pound senior attackman who was a team captain for the second consecutive year, had 14 goals and 12 assists in six games from Feb. 8-March 8 in his final season. Kraus finished his career with 240 points (131 goals and 109 assists) in 55 games, including 39 goals and 36 assists in 2019 when he and his Cavaliers won the NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Tournament with a 13-9 victory over Yale on May 28, 2019. Kraus had eight hat tricks in 2019, including his last one in the NCAA final.
Kraus got off to a great start of his UVA career in 2017 when he had 34 goals and 22 assists, was the ACC Freshman of the Year and the only freshman on the All-ACC team. The following year he led UVA with 83 points (44 goals, 39 assists). Kraus, who was selected to the 2014 All-FCIAC Boys Lacrosse Second Team before he made the 2015 All-FCIAC First Team, was drafted with the second overall pick by the Connecticut Hammerheads in the 2020 MLL Draft.
Appelt was a 5-foot-8, 170-pound junior midfielder who has played in six games in his career. He returned for this season after missing 2019 due to injury and saw action in one game. Appelt made the 2017 All-FCIAC Second Team.
Kyle Smith was a 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior who started in all six games for Denver at short stick defensive midfield. He picked up 11 ground balls and forced four turnovers. Last year he started in all 15 games as a short stick defensive middie and he picked up 27 ground balls and forced eight turnovers. Kyle was selected to the 2014 All-FCIAC Boys Lacrosse Second Team as a sophomore and then he twice made the All-FCIAC First Team. Denver was ranked 10th in the final USILA Coaches Poll and 11th by Inside Lacrosse.
Ryan O’Connell was a 6-foot, 195-pound junior midfielder and his younger brother, Quintin O’Connell, was a 6-foot, 190-pound freshman midfielder for North Carolina.
Ryan O’Connell has 36 ground balls, three goals and an assist in 23 games in his career. Last year as a sophomore he was 25-of-49 on face-off draws and picked up 21 ground balls. When Ryan played for New Canaan he made All-FCIAC First Team three consecutive years from 2015-17.
Quintin O’Connell played in three games and scored a goal. He made the All-FCIAC First Team in 2018 and ’19.
Peter Swindell was a 6-foot-1, 200-pound midfielder and senior co-captain who was third on the team with 16 points (nine goals and seven assists) in the six games played by Loyola University Maryland, which finished 4-2 and was ranked 13th in the final USILA Coaches Poll and 14th in the Inside Lacrosse Poll. Swindell finished his collegiate career with 26 goals, 17 assists and 62 ground balls in 53 games. In high school he made the 2015 All-FCIAC First Team and 2016 All-FCIAC Second Team.
Drew Morris played in one game as a 6-foot, 180-pound backup junior goalie for Maryland (5-1), which was ranked fourth in the USILA poll and sixth in the Inside Lacrosse poll. He was selected to the 2017 All-FCIAC Second Team.
Peter Dearth was considered as one of the best defensive midfielders in the country as a 6-foot-3, 220-pound senior short-stick defensive midfielder who concluded a fantastic career for Syracuse, which was ranked No. 1 in both the Inside Lacrosse United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association final national polls.
Dearth’s teammates selected him team captain twice and he was a two-time All-American and 2019 All-ACC honoree, and this past season he was Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-American and Preseason All-ACC. Dearth played in four games this year and helped lead the Orange to a 5-0 record when the season was stopped.
For his career he compiled 73 ground balls, 14 goals and five assists in 48 games. Dearth made a switch for the good of the team midway through his sophomore season when he switched from being primarily an offensive midfielder to a short-stick defensive middie.
Dearth racked up 80 goals and 45 assists and was a team captain at Ridgefield High School when he played for coach Roy Colsey, Syracuse’s legendary player. Dearth made the All-FCIAC First Team in 2015 and 2016.
Chase Levesque completed an excellent career as a 6-foot-3, 195-pound senior long-stick midfielder for Boston University and he so impressed the Chesapeake Bayhawks personnel that he was selected 18th overall by Chesapeake in the 2020 Major League Lacrosse Draft.
Levesque, a team captain at BU, was named to the preseason All-New England Team and he had 29 ground balls and caused nine turnovers in six games for the 3-3 Terriers. Last year he set career highs in both ground balls (65) and turnovers caused (31). When Levesque was a senior at Ridgefield he was selected to the 2016 All-FCIAC First Team.
Luke Gaydos was a 5-foot-11, 185-pound junior defenseman for Brown, which received the 22nd most polling points in both the Inside Lacrosse and USILA Coaches final polls. Gaydos caused 10 turnovers and picked up 11 ground balls while starting in all five games. Last year he picked up 17 ground balls and caused eight turnovers in 15 games, having earned a starting role at close defense in Brown’s last six games. He was a 2017 All-FCIAC Second Team selection.
Wes Carpenter was a 6-foot, 175-pound freshman attackman who saw action in one game for Princeton, which was ranked third in both the Inside Lacrosse and USILA Coaches national polls. Carpenter was selected to the All-FCIAC Boys Lacrosse First Team as a junior and a senior after he made the 2017 All-FCIAC Second Team as a sophomore and the All-FCIAC First Team twice – as a junior and senior.
Greg Gatto was a 6-foot-2, 195-pound sophomore midfielder for Yale, which was ranked fifth and sixth, respectively, in the final Inside Lacrosse and USILA Coaches polls. Gatto made the All-FCIAC First Team twice at Ridgefield, in 2017 and ’18.
Michael Reale played in two games and concluded his career as a 5-foot-10, 170-pound attack/midfielder for Richmond, which was ranked 20th in the final Inside Lacrosse Poll.
Reale scored a goal in his final game and he scored six goals in 21 career games. When Reale was at Staples he was a four-year starter who set school records in points (227) and goals scored (125) and was selected to the 2015 All-FCIAC Second Team and the 2016 All-FCIAC First Team.
Dobson Cooper saw action in a pair of games as a 5-foot-9, 180-pound sophomore short-stick defensive midfielder for the University of Vermont.
Michael Brown started in all five games as a 6-foot-1, 200-pound senior midfielder for Brown, which received the 22nd most polling points in both the Inside Lacrosse and USILA Coaches final polls.
Last year made the transition from close defense to defensive midfield, he started in 10 of 16 games and eventually was second on the team with 14 caused turnovers. This year Brown caused four turnovers, scooped up nine ground balls, and he finished his career with 70 ground balls and 26 caused turnovers while starting in 20 of the 48 games he played. He was then chosen 17th overall in the 2020 MLL Draft on May 4 by his home state Connecticut Hammerheads. Brown was selected to the 2016 All-FCIAC Second Team as a Wilton senior.
RJ Romeo concluded a fine career as a senior faceoff specialist for Providence College, which received the 23rd most polling points in the last Inside Lacrosse Poll. He had a team-high 30 ground balls in six games this year and he went 54-of-131 in faceoffs for a .412 winning percentage.
Playing what turned out to be the last game of his career in his home county on March 7, Romeo was 16-of-26 in faceoffs and he snatched up a season-high 11 ground balls to help lead the Friars to a 14-8 victory at Sacred Heart University. Romeo had 94 ground balls, a .457 faceoff percentage (175-of-383) and one goal and one assist in 36 career games. He made the 2016 All-FCIAC First Team.