CENTER VALLEY, Pa. -- Loyola University Maryland men's lacrosse was the unanimous pick to repeat as Patriot League champions according to a poll of the conference's coaches and sports information personnel.
The Greyhounds garnered all 16 available votes -- voters do not rank their own school -- to lead the poll of nine teams. Lehigh University, which picked up first-place votes from Loyola's voters, was second in the preseason rankings, while the U.S. Naval Academy, Boston University and the U.S. Military Academy rounded out the top-five. Colgate University, College of the Holy Cross and Lafayette College were sixth through ninth.
Three-time Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year Pat Spencer was picked to win the award again this year, and he was joined on the Preseason All-Patriot League Team by a pair of senior classmates, midfielder John Duffy and goalkeeper Jacob Stover.
In his three years on the Evergreen campus, Spencer has put his mark on the Loyola and Patriot League record books. Last season, he set the school and conference records for career assists (166) while also recording a new single-season standard for assists (59). He is the Patriot League's all-time leader in points (266), a category in which he stands second at Loyola behind Gary Hanley's 311 from 1978-81. Spencer's assist total ranks 10th in NCAA Division I history, and his points are tied for 28th.
The Preseason National Player of the Year by Lacrosse Magazine and Inside Lacrosse is a three-time United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) All-American, earning first team recognition each of the last two seasons in which he was also a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award. Spencer is also a three-time Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year, and he was the recipient of the USILA's Lt. Col. J.I. (Jack) Turnbull Award as the nation's top attacker in 2018.
Duffy was an All-Patriot League Second Team honoree last year and will be a team captain for the second-straight year. The midfielder finished the year ranked fourth on the team in goals (26) and fifth in total points (31) after starting every game.
Stover earned Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year and All-Patriot League First Team honors in 2018 and was an Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-American this year. During three seasons between the pipes, Stover has a 8.08 goals-against average while making saves on 54.7 percent of the shots on goal he has faced.
The Greyhounds won their third-straight Patriot League Championship last year and advanced to the NCAA Championships for the sixth time in seven years. Loyola won an NCAA First Round meeting with the University of Virginia, 14-12, to advance to the Quarterfinals it fell to eventual champion Yale University.
Since joining the Patriot League prior to the 2014 season, Loyola has a 33-7 record in Patriot League regular-season play and it has won four conference titles.
Loyola opens the 2019 season at home Saturday, Feb. 9, when it hosts the Cavaliers in a rematch of the NCAA First Round Game.
-- Loyola Athletics press release
Photo Credit: Mitch Stringer/PressBox