CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Coming off its best season in program history, Stony Brook University is the unanimous preseason pick of the America East men’s lacrosse coaches to win its second straight conference crown in 2011. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team in the poll, which was released Tuesday.
The Seawolves, who rank in the top-10 nationally in a pair of preseason polls, received all five possible first-place votes and 25 points. University at Albany, last season’s runner-up, was tabbed second and collected 20 points. University of Hartford followed in third with 16 points and received the remaining first-place tally. UMBC was chosen fourth with 13 points, while University of Vermont followed in fifth with 11 points and Binghamton University rounded out the six-team poll with five points.
The top four teams in the conference standings will qualify for the 2011 America East Championship. The tournament semifinals will take place Wednesday, May 4 at the higher seeds and a champion will be crowned on Saturday, May 7 at the highest remaining seed. The conference champion will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship, where an America East team has advanced to the quarterfinals three times since 2007.
Stony Brook (13-4 overall in 2010, 5-0 America East), which captured its first America East title since 2002 and won an NCAA first-round contest for the first time last season, returns 94 percent of its scoring from a team that ranked fourth nationally with 13.2 goals per game. That group consists of three All-Americans in seniors Kevin Crowley (New Westminster, B.C./New Westminster/Simon Fraser), Tom Compitello (Hauppauge, N.Y./Hauppauge) and Jordan McBride (New Westminster, B.C./New Westminster), who combined for 136 goals and 69 assists in 2010. Crowley, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the Major League Lacrosse draft earlier this month, Crowley ranked third nationally last year averaging 4.43 points per game after tallying 77 points on 51 goals and 26 assists. He received the USILA’s Lt. Raymond J. Enners Award, given to the nation’s top player, and was a Tewaaraton Award finalist. Rick Sowell’s squad, which is ranked No. 6 in the USILA preseason poll and No. 8 in the Inside Lacrosse media poll, opens its season against No. 1/2 Virginia on Feb. 26 in a rematch of last year’s epic NCAA quarterfinal contest in which the Cavaliers edged the Seawolves, 10-9.
Albany (5-11, 3-2) reached the league title game for the eighth time during its nine years in America East despite finishing with just a 5-11 mark in 2010. Injuries depleted the 2010 Great Danes, who return six of their top eight goal scorers, including preseason All-American Brian Caufield (Bay Shore, N.Y./West Islip). The senior attack totaled 32 points on 10 goals and 22 assists last season despite missing the final five games of the season due to injury. Albany also welcomes back junior attack Joe Resetarits (Hamburg, N.Y./Hamburg), who earned first-team all-conference honors as a freshman, but appeared in just five games last season. He has 47 career scores and 13 assists in just 19 career games. Junior goalkeeper John Carroll (Nesconset, N.Y./Smithtown East) gives the Great Danes a presence in the cage. He ranked second among league leaders in save percentage last season (.514) while recording a 11.33 goals-against average. Albany faces a tough schedule that will include six teams in the national rankings, including No. 2/1 Syracuse and No. 11/11 Johns Hopkins, in addition to No. 18/16 Drexel in its season opener on Feb. 26.
Hartford (4-10, 1-4) is looking to build off its successful 2010 season when it recorded its most wins since the 2003 season. The Hawks, who lost six games by two goals or less, including five by a single tally last year, return all but one starter and a league-high seven all-conference performers from that squad. Four of Hartford’s top five scorers return from a team that ranked second in America East scoring 10.00 goals per game, including junior Aidan Genik (Toronto, Ontario/U. of Western Ontario), a second-team choice last year, who ranked fourth among league leaders with 36 goals a year ago. Hartford also has all-conference performers in the key positions of goalkeeper in junior Scott Bement (Canandaigua, N.Y./Canandaigua) and at face off-specialist in senior Tim Fallon (Lowell, Mass./Lowell Academy). Bement earned second-team all-league honors in 2010 after recording an 11.52 GAA, while Fallon, a preseason All-America choice, led the nation in face-off percentage (.622). The Hawks’ schedule includes meetings with No. 16/17 UMass and No. 20/19 Brown.
UMBC (4-9, 3-2), which has won two of the last three America East championships, returns 22 letterwinners from last season’s squad that ranked second in America East in goals allowed (10.28 gapg). Sophomore goalkeeper Adam Cohen (Arnold, Md./The Severn School) returns after a solid rookie season in which he allowed just 75 goals in nine games (8.28 GAA). Junior Robb Grimm (Black River, N.Y./Carthage), who totaled 16 goals and 11 assists last season, is the team’s top returning scorer, while junior captain Jamie Kimbles (Centreville Md./Queen Anne’s), who had 12 goals and nine assists a year ago, will be relied on to put the ball in the net. UMBC faces four ranked opponents this season, including No. 3/3 North Carolina and No. 4/4 Maryland.
Vermont (3-13, 2-3) reached its first conference tournament since 2003 last season and returns 25 letterwinners from that team, including its top four scorers. The group is highlighted by sophomore Drew Philie (Sandwich, Mass./Deerfield Academy), who earned America East Rookie of the Year honors and was a second-team all-league choice last season after tallying 56 points (30 G, 26 A), which tied him for third among league leaders. The Catamounts, who open their season Feb. 20 against Colgate, will also face three ranked opponents during non-league play (No. 1/2 Virginia, No. 13/12 Denver, and No. 20/19 Brown).
Binghamton (4-10, 1-4) hopes to return to the America East Championship in 2011 after failing to make the field for the first time since 2003 last season. The Bearcats will be led by junior defender Derrick Danieu (Camillus, N.Y./West Genesee), a first-team all-conference selection each of the last two seasons, and sophomore Matt Springer (Hamburg, N.Y./Hamburg), who earned America East all-rookie honors a year ago after scoring a program-record 29 goals. The Bearcats’ schedule is highlighted by a visit from No. 8/7 Cornell on March 1.
The 2011 season gets started on Saturday, Feb. 19 with UMBC visiting Presbyterian, Binghamton taking on Penn State and Hartford going to UMass. For detailed men’s lacrosse all season long, including videos, full team-by-team schedules and more, come back to www.AmericaEast.com.
2011 Men's Lacrosse Preseason Poll
Rank Team (1st-place votes) Total Points
1. Stony Brook (5) 25
2. Albany 20
3. Hartford (1) 16
4. UMBC 13
5. Vermont 11
6. Binghamton 5