January 31, 2014

Mercyhurst Unanmious Choice In ECAC Division II

from press release

CENTERVILLE, Mass. – Coming off an undefeated regular season and an appearance in the NCAA Division II Men's Lacrosse National Championship game, the Mercyhurst University Lakers have been voted as the favorite to win their second straight ECAC Division II Men's Lacrosse regular season title. The Lakers were a unanimous selection for first, collecting all eight first place votes in the 2014 Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Seton Hill University Griffins were chosen to finish second followed by the Lake Erie College Storm in third. The Lindenwood University Lions were selected to finish fourth and Wheeling Jesuit University rounded out the top-five. Walsh University, Ohio Valley University and Alderson Broaddus were picked sixth, seventh and eighth place, respectively.

Mercyhurst finished the 2013 season with an 18-1 record and posted a perfect 7-0 record within the ECAC, winning the inaugural regular season and tournament titles. On the season, the Lakers won six one-goal games last season, including back-to-back overtime victories over Lake Erie and Limestone in the NCAA tournament. Head Coach Chris Ryan enters his 13th year at Mercyhurst and returns the core of the 2013 team, including the 2013 ECAC Defensive Player of the Year and the two-time William C. Schmeisser Award winner senior Andrew Wagner (Elma, N.Y.). The Lakers also welcome back senior goaltender Michael Grace (Warwick, N.Y.) who posted an 8.28 goals against average last season and is 31-2 in his career at Mercyhurst. The offense is headlined by seniors Brady Heseltine (Elora, Ontario) and Jake McAndrew (Cranberry Township, Pa.), who combined for 82 goals last season.

Seton Hill University went 12-4 last season and made its first ever NCAA tournament appearance. The Griffins finished with a 6-1 conference record, good enough for second in the ECAC. Seton Hill had the top scoring offense in the country, averaging 15.56 goals per game. Returning for the Griffins is senior Matt Delmonico (Port Moody, British Columbia), who led Seton Hill with 43 goals and 72 points last season. Senior Dylan Lefebvre (Regina, Saskatchewan) is also back after notching 40 goals and 17 assists in 2013. Faceoff specialist Jimmy Cogley (Peters Township, Pa.) who won 52% of his face-offs last season also returns for his senior campaign.

Lake Erie enters the 2014 campaign after posting a 12-5 record last season. The Storm reached the ECAC Tournament Championship game and made their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Greg Stocks, the ECAC and National Coach of the Year, returns for his seventh season and he will look to two All-Americans— junior defensemen Justin Goodwin (New Westminster, British Columbia) and junior midfielder Reagan Harding (Saskatoon, Sakatchewan) to lead the Storm this year. Senior attackmen Trevor Tarte (Amherstburg, Ontario) also returns after leading all of Division II NCAA Men's Lacrosse in goals per game in 2013 with an average of 3.71 per game.

The Lindenwood Lions come into the season on the heels of an 8-5 record and a fifth-place finish in the conference standings. First-year coach Jim Lange will rely heavily on All-ECAC First Team selection junior longstick midfielder Graeme Hossack (Port Perry, Ontario) as well as junior attackmen Brandon Stuebing (Dugald, Manitoba), senior attackmen Carter McCracken (Lakefield, Ontario) and senior midfielder Matt Schenk (Chesterfield, Mo.). Stuebing, McCracken and Schenk combined for 46 goals and 38 assists a year ago and look to to improve upon their 3-4 conference record.

Under first-year head coach Kevin Dugan, the Wheeling-Jesuit Cardinals are looking to build off an 11-6 record in 2013. Dugan will look to All-ECAC Second Team attackmen Brian Frank (Huntingtown, Md.), last season's points leader (58) and All-ECAC Second Team junior attackmen/midfielder Tyler Buchan (Burnaby, British Columbia) who recorded 25 points in 2013 to facilitate the Cardinals' offense.

Walsh looks to improve its 3-7 record with its top-three three scorers returning in Mason Axline (Green, Ohio) (41 points), Ben Stephens (Murrysville, Pa.) (33 points) and Ian Maurer (Jackson Township, Ohio) (29 points) who combined for 70 goals and 33 assists. Also returning for the Cavaliers' is senior goaltender Jeff Balzano (Chesterland, Ohio).

Ohio Valley, a 6-11 team last year, returns their top scorer in sophomore Kyle Aylesworth (Kingston, Ontario), who recorded 46 goals to go along with eight assists for 54 points. Nathan Hodgins (Tecumseh, Ontario), also returns, he dished out 16 assists in 2013, netted 17 goals and totaled 33 points. The Fighting Scots will look to a trio of goaltenders to replace Donald Roda between the pipes with sophomore Alex Naftal (Bellmore, N.Y.), junior Harley Gadomski (Buffalo, N.Y.) and Nate Austin (Glens Falls, N.Y.).

Alderson Broaddus will look for their first conference win in 2014. Head Coach Bob Bennett enters his third year at the helm for the Battlers. They will be led by tri-captains senior John Grady (Hendron, Va.), sophomore Joe Ravenell (Copiague, N.Y.) and red-shirt freshman Jay Kuhn (Bel Air, Md.).

The 2014 season gets underway Feb. 8, with Seton Hill taking on Tusculum University at 1 p.m. Conference play begins the following week on February 15 when Ohio Valley travels to Seton Hill for a 1 p.m. match-up. To follow all the action for this season, log on to www.ecacd2lax.com.

2014 ECAC Lacrosse Preason Coaches' Poll

1. Mercyhurst
2. Seton Hill
3. Lake Erie
4. Lindenwood
5. Wheeling Jesuit
6. Walsh
7. Ohio Valley
8. Alderson Broaddus

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