NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Preseason Poll: 11-15
By Todd McElwee
We continue with our journey, delving deeper and deeper into the rankings, all the way to the edge of the top 10.
No. 15 Yale
2011 Record: 10-4
Conference: Ivy League
Head Coach: Andy Shay
Before their penultimate game against Harvard, the Bulldogs looked like an NCAA Tournament team. But losses to the hated Crimson and then to
Cornell in the Ivy League Tournament ended Yale's season a bit prematurely. This year, with most of their central cast returning, the Bulldogs should be playing in May.
Yale led the nation in faceoff success rate, at nearly 66 percent. Junior midfielder Cole Yeager was fourth in the country at 64.8 percent.
The Bulldogs finished seventh in scoring defense, allowing just 7.49 goals per game, and were third in caused turnovers (10.29). SSDM Michael Pratt, a senior captain, was third on the team with 42 ground balls to go along with 10 forced turnovers. All-Ivy Honorable Mention defender Mike McCormack, a junior, started 14 games last year and paced the team with 33 caused turnovers.
First Team All-Ivy attackman Matt Gibson is Yale's top retuning scorer, ending with 20 goals and 16 assists in 2011. Gregory Mahony, a second Team All-Ivy selection, is a threat from the midfield, tallying 16 goals and eight assists last season.
No. 14 Bucknell
2011 Record: 14-3
Conference: Patriot League
Head Coach: Frank Fedorjaka
Patriot League champion Bucknell finished 14-3 and nearly upset eventual NCAA champion Virginia, dropping a 13-12 overtime first-round tournament game to the Cavaliers. The Bison lost their top three scorers, but still have enough firepower to make a run this postseason.
Four 20-plus-point producers are back, headlined by senior Billy Eisenreich, who was fourth on the team with 19 goals and 15 assists. Eisenreich played mostly middie in 2011, but has relocated to the attack.
Sophomore Todd Heritage (26 goals, seven assists) returns on attack, as does junior Chase Bailey (16 goals, nine assists). At middie, Bucknell will rely on senior Nick Gantsoudes (18 goals, two assists).
Goaltender Kyle Feeney, a junior, was sixth in goals-against average, at 7.24 per game, and 20th in save percentage, stopping 54 percent shots. Junior Mike Huffner is one of the Patriot League's premier defenders.
No. 13 Harvard
2011 Record: 10-6
Head Coach: Chris Wojcik
The Crimson return plenty of scoring options and are a sexy pick to make their first NCAA Tournament since 2006.
Eight of Harvard's 10 leading point producers are back. The cluster, led by senior attackman Jeff Cohen and his 33 points (31 goals, two assists), was responsible for 101 of the Crimson's 174 goals. Sophomore Daniel Epp had 16 goals and eight assists during his freshman campaign.
Senior co-captains Kevin Vaughn (19 goals, eight assists) and Terry White (15 goals, seven assists) anchor the midfield. After splitting time with Andrew Parchman last season, sophomore Gabriel Mendoza (57.8 winning percentage) will handle most of the draws this year.
Co-captain Paul Pete, a senior, is Harvard's top defenseman. Junior Harry Krieger is solid in net, stopping 54 percent of shots while claiming a 9.38 goals-against average.
No. 12 Hofstra
2011 Record: 13-3
Conference: Colonial Athletic Association
Head Coach: Seth Tierney
The best goaltender in the nation might reside in Hampstead, N.Y. Senior Andrew Gvozden, a Severna Park alumnus, topped the country in goals-against average (6.00) last year, while placing third in save percentage (60.2). Junior defender Cody Solaja teams with Gvozden to guide a defense which led the nation in goals-against average at 6.56.
Hofstra's midfield will feature a pair of highly touted transfers. The Pride's top returning scorer, middie Ian Braddish, transferred in after a year at North Carolina and paid instant dividends, netting 16 goals and 17 assists. Steve Serling was the 2010 Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year at Lafayette, producing 37 goals and 12 assists. He came to Hofstra as a graduate student and had one year of eligibility left, but was sidelined for most of 2011 with an injury and will finish out his career in 2012. John Antoniades ranked fifth in Division I last season, winning 64.2 percent of his faceoffs.
Hofstra's attack is relatively green and will rely on a variety of players this year.
The Pride have made four consecutive tournament appearances but have not advanced past the first round.
No. 11 Massachusetts
2011 Record: 10-5
Head Coach: Greg Cannella
UMass will be best at attack, with its top two leading scorers, junior Will Manny and senior Art Kell, back. Manny had 45 points (22 goals, 23 assists) to edge out his linemate's 44 points (28 goals, 16 assists). Junior Colin Fleming (13 goals, five assists) and sophomore Connor Mooney (14 goals, two assists) should also harass opposing cages.
Senior Anthony Biscardi had 20 goals and 10 assists last year. Classmate Anthony Toresco claimed nearly 54 percent of his faceoffs.
Greg Anderson, an Ijamsville resident and Urbana High graduate, is a four-time letter winner and will guide the defense along with junior Jake Smith. Fifth-year senior Tim McCormack had an 8.33 goals-against average and stopped 55 percent of shots.
The Minutemen reached the NCAA Tournament finals in 2006, but have made only one appearance (2009) since.
Posted Feb. 9, 2012