February 11, 2011

Roanoke, Lynchburg Atop ODAC Poll

from press release

FOREST, Va. --- The parity of ODAC men's lacrosse has extended all the way to the polls as two teams sit locked in first place in the 2011 ODAC Men's Lacrosse Preseason Poll. Roanoke College and Lynchburg College each collected 59 poll points, but the Maroons did receive five first place votes to the Hornets' three top nods. Hampden-Sydney College (48 pts.) and Washington and Lee University (42 pts.) stand tight for third and fourth in the annual survey of the league's coaches.

ODAC teams and athletes have received plenty of attention across the country in various preseason materials. Both RC and LC are ranked in the Lacrosse Magazine and Inside Lacrosse/Face-off Yearbook rankings. The Maroons are rated eighth and fifth by the two outlets, respectively, while the Hornets are 13th and 11th. Hampden-Sydney sits 20th in the latter publication.

Roanoke midfielder Justin Tuma headlines a list of seven ODAC athletes honored as preseason All-Americans by the Face-off Yearbook. Tuma was the conference's only member on the first team, and the same holds true for fellow Maroon, defenseman Alex Burkhead, on the second team. Five players were named to the honorable mention team including attack Jeff Keating and midfielder Trey Keeley from Roanoke, attack Dylan Hoff and midfielder Max Voumard from Lynchburg, and defenseman Joe LaSala from Washington and Lee.

The Maroons and reigning ODAC Coach of the Year, Bill Pilat, made their way to the national quarterfinals in 2010, powered by a school-record 18-3 record. RC earned 11 all-conference selections with five set to return in 2011. Tuma (30 goals, 19 assists, 128 groundballs, 156-of-243 face-offs) and Burkhead (57gb, 13 caused turnovers) were both All-ODAC First Team honorees. Tuma led the ODAC in groundballs per game at 6.10 and face-off percentage (.642). Joining them from the second team are Keating (34g, 27a), Keeley (22g, 30a) and short-stick specialist Drew Manley (4g, 11a, 67gb). Keating placed ninth in points per game (2.90). Also back is top scoring threat Richard Lachlan (37g, 9a).

Lynchburg welcomes back four of its seven All-ODAC players and all but one of its top six scorers from 2010. Hoff, a second team choice, was fifth in the league in goals per game (2.22), while leading the Hornets with 63 points (40g, 23a). Midfielder Eddie Bilinkas (19g, 12a) joined Hoff on the second team, while Ben Sauer (22g, 16a) was an honorable mention member. Pat Ohrem (16g, 15a) and Voumard (22g, 7a), the reigning ODAC Rookie of the Year, round out the top returning scorers. Goalkeeper Franc Cook, also an honorable mention selection, posted an ODAC third-best 8.28 goals-against-average and was second with a .559 save percentage (142 total saves).

Hampden-Sydney will have to do without the services 2010 ODAC Player of the Year, Kyle Jett, but four all-conference performers are back for another go-round. First team attack Micah Keller (47g, 12a) led the ODAC at 2.76 goals per game and was sixth with 3.59 points per contest. He also notched four game-winning goals, tying RC's Keating for the league lead. He's joined on the front lines by second team choice Ben Clarke (34g, 16a) and honorable mention midfielder Cole Hawthorne (25g, 21a). Clarke was ninth in goals (1.89) and 10th in points (2.78) per game. Defenseman Andrew Pritzlaff (32gb, 14ct), also an honorable mention designee, keys the back line.

Washington and Lee brings back a pair of all-conference athletes led by defenseman LaSala. A second team choice, LaSala led the team with 40 caused turnovers to go with 26 groundballs. He's joined in back by honorable mention defenseman Austin Wernecke (34gb, 17ct). The top returning scorer for W&L is attack Mac Means (24g, 4a). Midfielder Rob Look is in line to take over the face-off duties full-time after placing second in the conference with a .632 win percentage (84-of-133).

Randolph-Macon will be under new leadership in 2011 with the arrival of J.B. Sheridan as head coach. His first year at the reins will be eased by the return of the Yellow Jackets' top three scorers, including All-ODAC First Team attack Tyler Midwinter. Midwinter (40g, 17a) led the league at 3.80 points per game. He's joined by second team midfielder Patrick Egan (24g, 14a). Attack Jake Leddy (30g, 20a) is also back after finishing seventh in points per game (3.33) and eighth in goals per game (2.0).

Virginia Wesleyan features all five of its all-conference award winners from 2010. Leading scorer Adam Nycz (28g, 13a), short-stick specialist Mike Tibbs (5g, 2a, 53gb, 18ct) and goalkeeper Tyler Keech (8.96 GAA) were all second team choices. Keech led the ODAC with a .629 save percentage and 232 total saves. Midfielder Travis Puls (17g 11a) and defenseman Devon Heath (28gb, 8ct) were honorable mention in 2010.

Guilford welcomes Tom Carmean to Greensboro as the new mentor for the Quakers. Guilford will be without its two All-ODAC selections from 2010, but does return four of its top six scorers in attacks Chris Ashcraft (18g, 9a) and Chris Sisk (18g, 7a) and midfielders Greg Nash (12g, 14a) and Ken Keesee (13g, 3a).

Randolph begins its second season competing in the ODAC with a roster stocked with 15 newcomers including 14 freshmen led by attack Colt Wood. Honorable mention keeper Kevin McCracken (213 saves, .521 save%) is back between the pipes. Double figure scorers Stephen Allman (15g, 4a) and T.J. Story (11g, 2a) also return to don their WildCat jerseys.

Listed below is the complete 2011 ODAC Men's Lacrosse Preseason Poll. For more information, visit the websites of any of the participating schools, or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com.

(#) Denotes First Place Votes
1. Roanoke (5) 59 pts.
1. Lynchburg (3) 59 pts.
3. Hampden-Sydney 48 pts.
4. Washington and Lee 42 pts.
5. Randolph-Macon 31 pts.
6. Virginia Wesleyan 23 pts.
7. Guilford 15 pts.
8. Randolph 11 pts.

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