February 20, 2012

Gophers Picked Atop Landmark Poll

from press release

– The highly-competitive nature of Landmark men's lacrosse over the past four seasons is evident in the results of the Landmark Preseason Men's Lacrosse Poll as Goucher College is narrowly favored in the voting. The seven head men's lacrosse coaches and sports information directors at each institution that sponsor the sport were polled for the preseason ballot.

Goucher was the most common top selection, earning 61 points to sit eight points clear of The University of Scranton which is second with 53 points. The Catholic University of America is also within shouting distance with 47 while Susquehanna University claimed 41 points to place fourth.

The Gophers have finished atop the Landmark regular season standings the past two seasons, and lost only two players from a year ago. Senior Matt Lynch and Rory Averett highlight the 29 returnees as first-team All-Conference selections as the team went 11-6 and reached the Landmark championship match last year.

Scranton went on a torrid end-of-season run to capture a first Landmark championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament, earning a final record of 9-8. Tim Cleary and Mike Rufo were both All-Conference picks last year and 19 incoming freshmen will try to offset the loss of 14 seniors from last year's team.

Catholic reached double-digit wins for a second-straight year, finishing 11-6 and also earning a second Landmark postseason berth. Among the 21 returning players is first-team All-Conference midfielder Chris Fuccillo and reigning Landmark Rookie of the Year Brendan Englert.

Susquehanna captured its first Landmark postseason berth last season, and won a program-record 11 wins, finishing 11-6. The team lost only four players to graduation and All-Conference goalie Jordan Daney and former Landmark Rookie of the Year Marcus Cheatham are among the 34 returning players for the team.

Drew University was a clear fifth place in the balloting after missing the postseason by one game and for the first time in four years in the Landmark. The Rangers have 28 players back this season, led by All-Conference goalkeeper Charlie DeSocio who ranked among the NCAA leaders in goals against average.

The United States Merchant Marine Academy returns nearly 20 players from the team that finished 4-12 in 2011 and has 19 points to finish sixth in the balloting. The Mariners lost the services of the Landmark Player of the Year but All-Conference attack Sean Zakow does return after scoring 30 times last year.

Washington & Jefferson College enters its first year as an affiliate member of the Landmark and had 14 points in the voting to place seventh. The President's went 5-10 last season, including one win over a Landmark opponent, and the team returns its top four scorers led by senior Andrew Wallick.

Two Landmark squads opened play this past weekend while the remaining teams will all begin their seasons by Feb. 29. The opening weekend of Landmark play takes place March 17 as Drew travels to Susquehanna, Catholic hosts USMMA and Washington & Jefferson plays its first Landmark match at Goucher.

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