YORK, Pa. – Defending national champion Salisbury was picked as the preseason favorite to capture the Capital Athletic Conference title in a vote among the conference head coaches. The Sea Gulls received seven first-place votes and 63 points to sit atop the 2017 CAC men's lacrosse preseason poll.
The other two first-place votes went to defending CAC champion York, which handed Salisbury its lone loss of the 2016 campaign with a 10-9 triumph in the CAC title game. The conference crown was the first for the Spartans in program history, and marked just the fifth time in the 24-year history of CAC men's lacrosse that a team other than Salisbury secured the title.
Frostburg State earned 48 points to edge out Christopher Newport (45 points) for third place in the preseason poll. Mary Washington (36 points) and St. Mary's (28 points) rounded out the top six.
Southern Virginia, which qualified for the CAC postseason for the first time in 2016, landed seventh in the poll with 22 points, followed by Marymount (15 points) and Wesley (10 points) in eighth and ninth, respectively.
Salisbury, York, Frostburg State, and Christopher Newport enter the year receiving preseason recognition. Salisbury enters the year not only as the preeminent favorite in the CAC, but nationally as well. The Sea Gulls are ranked No. 1 by both the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) and Inside Lacrosse's Face-Off Yearbook rankings. The Sea Gulls captured their 11th overall national title, 10th since joining the CAC, and first since 2012 with a dramatic victory over Tufts in last year's national title game.
York, which reached the national quarterfinals last season, is ranked No. 4 by Inside Lacrosse and No. 7 by the USILA, while Frostburg State and Christopher Newport are both among 12 teams receiving votes in the USILA poll, just outside the preseason top-20.
2017 CAC Men's Lacrosse Preseason Coaches' Poll
|1. Salisbury (7 first-place votes)||63 points|
|2. York (2 first-place votes)||57 points|
|3. Frostburg State||48 points|
|4. Christopher Newport||45 points|
|5. Mary Washington||36 points|
|6. St. Mary's||28 points|
|7. Southern Virginia||22 points|
|8. Marymount||15 points|
|9. Wesley||10 points|
Below is a team-by-team breakdown of the nine CAC squads entering the 2017 campaign:
CHRISTOPHER NEWPORT is coming off of a 2016 campaign that saw the team register a program-best 13-5 record. Under the guidance of second-year head coach Mikey Thompson, the Captains welcome back a solid veteran contingent, including the squad's top-four leading scorers from last year. Along with junior attackman Matthew Crist, who set a new single-season record with 58 points in 2016, reigning All-American Randy Foster, senior goalie Matt Hayden, and All-Conference faceoff specialist Tony Cruz will help anchor the 2017 roster.
Tommy Pearce continues to drive FROSTBURG STATE to new heights and there is no reason that 2017 should be any different. A year ago, the Bobcats collected 15 wins, made a trip to the CAC Tournament semifinals and reached as high as 15th in the nation according to the USILA/Nike Top 20 poll. Fast forward to this spring, and the Bobcats are aiming for a spot in this year's NCAA Tournament behind the return of several key players including Adam Gross (midfield), John Gamber (midfield), Josh Nicodemus (defense), Joey Lucas (defense) and Bradley Jones (defense). Both Gross and Lucas garnered All-CAC honors a year ago.
MARY WASHINGTON will open a new chapter this season, with new head coach Drew Delaney stepping in after the retirement of Kurt Glaeser after 28 seasons. The Eagles welcome back talented returnees Jack Carver, Miles Davis, Mike Marson, Noah Dewey and Owen Dingman on the offensive end, as well as defensive standouts Will Gatens, Mike Colgan, and goalkeeper Sam Wasson.
MARYMOUNT, as a young team last season, returns much of the roster this year with more experience and intensity. Headed by Jon Reynolds, in his 12th season at the helm, the Saints boast talent at both ends of the field including long-stick midfielders Daniel Bothwell and John Kailunas III, who led the team in caused turnovers and groundballs last season. The blue and white will also look to their two top-returning goal scorers in Nathan Beard and Matthew Ebert, who finished last season withs 25 and 24 points, respectively.
ST. MARY'S second-year head coach Jason Childs is excited about this year's possibilities. The 2017 roster features a strong nucleus of 20 veterans plus an influx of 18 newcomers who will look to meld a depth of talent and experience into a cohesive unit. Senior-laden defensive unit will provide the necessary leadership needed to make it a successful season.
Defending national champion SALISBURY returns a wealth of experience all over the field that includes six of their nine USILA All-Americans from last season and the entire starting attack, defense, face off corps, long-stick midfielder, and goalkeeper. The returning All-Americans for the Gulls are second teamers Nathan Blondino, Kyle Tucker, and Will Nowesnick, third teamer Andrew Ternahan, and honorable mentions Brendan Bromwell and Carson Kalama. The Sea Gulls start their season on Feb. 4 and have five teams ranked in the top 20 by the USILA featured on their regular season schedule.
SOUTHERN VIRGINIA has high hopes to make another CAC tournament appearance this season and improve on last year's performance. Fourth-year head coach Jason Lamb and the Knights will turn offensively to All-CAC first team returner Casey Rich, who led the team with 49 goals last season (third in the CAC). Other key returners are Brady Cook, Greg Gowdy, Logan Lund, and Spencer Tunick.
After battling injuries for a majority of the 2016 season, WESLEY looks to improve all-around in 2017. Will Fingles, Joe Fingles and Nate Gemmato look to lead the Wolverine offense while Zach Darnell and Alex Collins will pace the defense. Gemmato ranked sixth in the CAC in ground balls (94) and seventh in faceoff wins (118-286).
YORK enters the 2017 season as the defending CAC champion, a crown the Spartans are comfortable wearing. Spartan head coach Brandon Childs had to say goodbye to the most successful senior class in school history. However, he welcomes back a large core of key contributors in addition to a dynamic freshman class that should have an impact on the Spartan squad. On offense, Childs returns Hunter Davis and Brendan McGrath, a pair of sophomore who made significant contributions as freshmen. In the midfield, Jo Jo Joseph, Austin Glab, Dillon Hannah, and Cam Leech give Childs an impressive core of midfielders. On defense, Joey Fiorino, and Garrett Barker return at close defense positions while Tyler Tolbert and Conrad Ordakowski will be short stick defenders. Junior Landry Marshall is in line to be the starting goalie for the Spartans when they open the season on Feb. 11.