CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Four-time America East champion University at Albany is the conference’s men’s lacrosse preseason favorite as decided in a vote by the conference’s head coaches who were not allowed to vote for their own team. The poll, which was announced Thursday afternoon, features three schools that received first-place votes in Albany, UMBC and reigning league champion Stony Brook.
The Great Danes, who reached the conference’s championship game for the ninth time in 11 years last season, received three first-place votes and 22 points to earn favorite status. Stony Brook (two first-place votes) and UMBC (one first-place vote) are tied for second with 20 points apiece. University of Hartford is fourth (13 points), followed by Binghamton University (10) and University of Vermont (5).
The 2013 campaign begins Feb. 9 with Stony Brook hosting Fairfield. The five other teams start play the following weekend. The top four teams in the conference standings will qualify for the America East Men’s Lacrosse Championship, which will be held at a predetermined site for the first time in history. The 2013 championship will take place at Stony Brook’s LaValle Stadium with the semifinals on May 2 and the final on May 4, a game that will be nationally televised on ESPNU. The league champion will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship, where three different league members have reached the quarterfinal round since 2007.
Albany (5-11 overall in 2012, 2-3 America East) seeks its first America East title since 2007 and will rely on the Thompson trio to reach its goal. Brothers Miles, a second-team all-league selection, and Lyle Thompson and their cousin Ty, combined for over 50 percent of the Great Dane’s scoring output in 2012, scoring 90 goals and dishing out 52 assists. The Great Danes, who received votes in both preseason polls, will play five ranked teams this season, including No. 13/12 Syracuse in their season opener Feb. 17.
Stony Brook (7-10, 4-1), the first America East program to lay claim to four-straight regular-season titles, has won three of the last four conference titles. The Seawolves have 15 letterwinners back from last year’s squad, including first-team all-leaguer Jeff Tundo and reigning Rookie of the Year Mike Rooney, who was fourth in the league with 34 goals last year. Stony Brook will face three NCAA squads from 2012 this season have seven home games.
UMBC (5-8, 3-2) returns eight starters and 27 letterwinners from last year’s squad, which reached the America East Championship for the ninth-consecutive season. Senior Scott Jones, a first-team honoree last year, is back after leading UMBC and ranking second among league leaders with 36 goals. The Retrievers, who will face four ranked foes this season, including defending champion Loyola and runner up Maryland, open play against Robert Morris Feb. 17.
Hartford (6-9, 3-2), the 2011 champion, reached the conference championship for the second-straight year in 2012 and brings back 27 lettermen from that team. Three second-team all-leaguers will lead the way: Jared Franze, Tate Klidonas, Rory Nunamacher. Hartford opens its season by hosting No. 2 Maryland on Feb. 16.
Binghamton (4-9, 1-4) looks to get back to the America East tournament after missing out last year. The Bearcats return a league-high 30 letterwinners, including their top five scorers from last season. Binghamton begins play against Siena on Feb. 23.
Vermont (2-12, 1-4) will try to qualify for the league tournament for the first time since 2010. The Catamounts will rely on a mix of veterans as 53 percent of their scoring output returns, and 19 newcomers. Vermont starts play Feb. 16 vs. Colgate.
For more information on America East men’s lacrosse including schedules, stats and record book log on to www.AmericaEast.com.
2013 Preseason Poll
Rank Team (1st-place votes) Points
1. Albany (3) 22
T-2. Stony Brook (2) 20
4. Hartford 13
5. Binghamton 10
6. Vermont 5
ABOUT THE AMERICA EAST CONFERENCE: Into its fourth decade of operation, America East has evolved into one of the most comprehensive NCAA Division I conferences with a commitment to broad-based, competitive athletics programs, complementing the academic integrity and missions of the member institutions. Progressive in its approach to its more than 3,400 student-athletes, America East recognizes champions in each of its 20 sports and also conducts the nation’s most comprehensive academic recognition program for student-athletes. With a geographic footprint covering the Mid-Atlantic to Northeast regions of the United States, America East strives to develop champions in academics, athletics and leadership at its nine member institutions: University at Albany, Binghamton University, Boston University, University of Hartford, University of Maine, UMBC, University of New Hampshire, Stony Brook University and University of Vermont.