Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/19/11
A number of Philly products will play key roles for teams in the newly-formed Northeast Conference (NEC) for men’s lacrosse.
The league coaches recently released their preseason NEC poll. Here is a quick rundown with a focus on the Philly players:
Robert Morris (10-5, 2-2 last year) was selected to claim the first-ever NEC-sponsored championship. Freshman long stick midfielder Tyler Rankel (Downingtown West) had an assist and won his only face-off during a 14-11 opening-day loss to North Carolina.
For the first time since joining the Division I ranks two years ago, Bryant (12-5, 4-0 NEC) is eligible to qualify for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. The Bulldogs feature returning starter and senior defenseman Joe Rauchut (Penn Charter) and two sophomore that stood out last year – attackman JK Poirer (Malvern Prep) and defenseman Mason Poli (Downingtown East).
Poirer had seven goals and 17 assist as a freshman while Poli added three goals and three assists to go with 20 groundballs as an offensive threat from the back line.
Northeast Conference Coach of the Year Tom Gravante and his Mount St. Mary’s (12-5, 3-0 NEC) squad got their first taste of post-season success in 2010 and will no doubt be hungry for more in 2011.
Quinnipiac (8-6, 2-1) begins the inaugural NEC Championship season under the tutelage of Eric Fekete.
A key returnee is Jack Oppenheimer (Germantown Academy) on attack. The senior fired 32 goals over 14 games to sit third on the loop with a 2.29 goals per game average. Out of his 32, eight came in a man-up situation to rank him second-best in the category among NEC players.
Sacred Heart (4-11, 1-4 NEC) looks to climb the league ranks in head coach Tom Mariano’s 12th season.
Wagner (1-14, 0-5 NEC) enters a new era as the young team transitions from its roots in the MAAC to a full NEC Championship competitor. In his fourth year as head of the program, Jason Rife will rely on NEC All-Rookie Team members Cody Isdaner (Episcopal Academy) and Colin O’Rourke to lead the Seahawks to new heights. As a freshman, Isdaner led the Wagner attack with 27 points (17g, 10a) while snagging 23 ground balls. The attacker also started 14-of-15 games for the year and earned a NEC Rookie of the Week honor in mid-April for netting four goals and an assist against Canisius.
2011 Northeast Conference
Men’s Lacrosse Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. Robert Morris (4)
2. Bryant (2)
3. Mount St. Mary’s
5. Sacred Heart
First place votes in parentheses