Courtesy: America East Communications

#10 Albany Unanimous Preseason #AEMLAX Favorite

Release: 02/05/2014
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Reigning America East champion University at Albany, the 10th ranked team in the nation,  is the preseason favorite to retain its league title as the Great Danes were the unanimous pick in the preseason poll by the league’s head coaches Wednesday afternoon. Albany received all five first-place votes and 25 points in a vote of the league’s head coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their own team.

Stony Brook University received the other first-place votes and 24 points to come in second place while UMBC, which appeared in the America East title game a year ago, was third with 16 points. Binghamton University (12 points), University of Hartford (11) and University of Vermont (5) rounded out the six-team poll.

The 2014 campaign begins the weekend of Feb. 14 with all six teams in action. The top four teams in the conference standings will qualify for the America East Men’s Lacrosse Championship, which will be held at Stony Brook’s LaValle Stadium for the second-straight year. The semifinals take place on May 1 and the final on May 3, 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 Great Danes (13-5, 5-0 AE)
• Tabbed preseason favorite for second-straight season after capturing the league title last season.
• Ranked 10th in the USILA preseason poll and 11th in the Warrior Inside Lacrosse Poll.
• Return three All-Americans (Lyle, Miles and Ty Thompson) from last year’s team that led the nation in scoring (15.9 goals per game).
• Lyle Thompson was tabbed Inside Lacrosse Preseason Player of Year. Tallied second-most points in NCAA history last year (113 points - 50 goals, 63 assists).
• Schedule features three opponents that reached the NCAA tournament last year, including #2 Syracuse in its season opener on Feb. 16.

Stony Brook Seawolves (7-9, 2-3 AE)
• Return 23 letterwinners and seven starters from last year’s squad that reached the America East Championship for the 12th-straight year in 2013.
• Five of the Seawolves’ nine losses last year were by two goals or less, including four one-goal defeats.
• Three of the team’s top four scorers (Mike Rooney, Brody Eastwood and Challen Rogers) return in 2014 after each tallied more than 40 points last year.
• Stony Brook has 10 home games on its 2014 slate, including defending national champion Duke, and opens on Feb. 14 vs. Marist.

UMBC Retrievers (7-8, 3-2 AE)
• Selected third after reaching the America East Championship game for the first time since 2009 last year.
• Return 21 letterwinners and seven starters from last year’s squad, including America East Rookie of the Year Pat Young (39 points - 32 goals, 7 assists).
• UMBC opens its 2014 season at Maryland on Feb. 14.

Binghamton Bearcats (5-9, 1-4 AE)
• Lost just four players from last year’s team and returns a league-high 36 letterwinners, including leading scorer Matt Springer (36 goals in 2013).
• Will try to reach first America East Championship since 2011.
• Bearcats open season at Sacred Heart (Feb. 16) and faces Syracuse on April 2.

Hartford Hawks (7-7, 3-2 AE)
• Returns four first-team all-league honorees in midfielders Tate Klidonas and Alex Matarazzo, attackman Kevin O’Shea and goalie Frank Piechota.
• Open season at Richmond on Feb. 15.

Vermont Catamounts (4-11, 1-4 AE)
• Bring  back 54 percent of their scoring from a season ago, including Graham Horvath (34 points).
• Start 2014 campaign at Colgate on Feb. 15.