Albany Tabbed as Favorite in America East Preseason PollBOSTON - Reigning America East champion University at Albany, the 12th 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, which nearly reached the Final Four last season, received all five six-place votes and 36 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 vote and 30 points to come in second place while UMBC, which appeared in the America East title game a year ago, was third with 23 points. Binghamton University (20 points), University of Hartford (18) and University of Vermont (12) and UMass Lowell, which is beginning its first season as a program, rounded out the seven-team poll.
The 2015 campaign begins the weekend of Feb. 7 with three 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 tournament's No. 1 seed for the first time since 2009. The semifinals take place on April 30 and the final on May 2, 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 four America East teams have won games since 2007.
2015 Men's Lacrosse Preseason Poll
Rk School (1st) Pts
1. Albany (6) 36
2. Stony Brook (1) 30
3. UMBC 23
4. Binghamton 20
5 Hartford 18
6. Vermont 12
7. UMass Lowell 8
Albany Great Danes (12-6, 5-0 AE)
• Tabbed preseason favorite for third-straight season after capturing the league title last season and reaching the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament.
• Ranked 12th in the USILA preseason poll and 11th in the Warrior Inside Lacrosse Poll.
• Return 17 letterwinners from last year's team including Co-Tewaaraton Award winner Lyle Thompson, who set an NCAA single-season record with 128 points last year.
• Schedule features four opponents that reached the NCAA tournament last year, including #4 Syracuse, #10 Cornell, #11 Harvard and #19 Bryant.
Stony Brook Seawolves (6-10, 2-3 AE)
• Will feature 14 upper classemen on a team that reached the America East Championship for the 13th-straight year in 2014.
• The Seawolves bring back 95 percent from its scoring output from last year's squad led by junior Brody Eastwood, who tallied 40-plus goals for the second-straight season.
• Junior Challen Rogers, a first-team All-America East choice last year, was named a preseason All-American by Inside Lacrosse.
• Stony Brook has 10 home games for the second-straight season and opens at LaValle Stadium vs. Manhattan on Feb. 7.
UMBC Retrievers (8-7, 3-2 AE)
• Selected third after reaching the America East Championship game for the second-straight year in 2014.
• Junior Pat Young will lead the Retrievers after tallying 43 points and earning first-team All-America East honors for the second straight year last season.
• UMBC, which has never missed the America East Championship, opens its 2014 season against Johns Hopkins on Feb. 7.
Binghamton Bearcats (7-8, 4-1 AE)
• Reached the America East Championship for the first time since 2011 last season after going 4-1 in America East play.
• Return 27 letterwinners from the 2014 squad.
• Opens season vs. Sacred Heart at home and will face two NCAA teams in non-league action (Cornell, Drexel).
Hartford Hawks (6-9, 1-4 AE)
• Had its streak of four-straight America East Championship berths snapped last season.
• Bring back 20 players from last year's team, including first-team all-conference faceoff specialist Adam Yee.
• Open season vs. Bryant on Feb. 21.
Vermont Catamounts (5-8, 0-5 AE)
• Bring back eight of their top 10 scorers from last year, including reigning America East Rookie of the Year Ian MacKay, who had 42 points last year.
• Start their season at #14 Penn State on Feb. 7.
UMass Lowell (first season)
• Begins its first season as a program under former Binghamton head coach and UMBC associate head coach Ed Stephenson.
• Plays its first-ever NCAA contest on Feb. 14 at Yale.
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