Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/26/12
from Press Releases
After advancing to the program’s first Patriot League Tournament since 2006 last season, the Lehigh men’s lacrosse team is projected to do it again as the Mountain Hawks were picked fourth in the Patriot League preseason poll announced on Wednesday. The results were unveiled during the league’s preseason media teleconference.
“We’ve been very young for four years in a row,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese on the teleconference. “The core of our team is in our junior class. Our senior class is small; we have eight members of that class. We’re excited about having some veterans, but know that we’re still relatively young. For us, it’s a different year; we have some familiarity with what we’ve been doing, but we’re trying to take the next step.”
Voted on by the league’s coaches and Sports Information Directors, Lehigh racked up 44 points, behind preseason favorite Bucknell (72), Army (54) and Colgate (52). The Mountain Hawks were ahead of Navy (38), Lafayette (19) and Holy Cross (15). Peter Baum of Colgate and Tim Henderson of Army were named Preseason Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year, respectively.
Lehigh is looking to advance to its second-straight Patriot League Tournament for the first time since 2005-06. The Mountain Hawks went 3-3 in league play a season ago, defeating Navy, Lafayette and Holy Cross while hanging tough against Army (12-9), Colgate (11-8) and Bucknell (12-11).
The Mountain Hawks kick off their 2012 campaign at Saint Joseph’s on Feb. 11. Lehigh opens its home slate the following Saturday against local rival and #10/11 Villanova. The Mountain Hawks also host preseason top-20 squads Yale (13/18) and Bucknell (15/10) on Mar. 11 and Apr. 14, respectively.
Terry Mangan returns for his 10th season as the head coach at Lafayette. The Leopards will try to regain their form from 2010, when they qualified for the League Tournament for the first time in school history and Mangan was named Coach of the Year. There will be opportunities for players to step up for the Leopards, as the team’s top two scorers from last season in Tom Perini (29g) and Stefan Bauer (11g, 13a) graduated last spring.
Freshman Andrijko Andrusko (Holy Ghost Prep) was strong in net for the Leopards a year ago, playing over 580 minutes with a 9.60 GAA, 101 saves and a .521 save percentage. Senior Colin Serling (11g, 10a) is the team’s top returning scorer from last year. Lafayette finished 2-11 a year ago but lost one-goal contests to nationally-ranked Penn, Army and Colgate and fell by three to League champion Bucknell.
The 2012 Patriot League season kicks off Friday, Feb. 10 when Army hosts Massachusetts at Michie Stadium in West Point, N.Y., at 3 p.m. Four other Patriot League teams will open their respective campaigns one day later on Saturday, Feb. 11. Navy will host VMI at 12 p.m., Colgate will entertain Bryant at 1 p.m., Bucknell welcomes Delaware at 1 p.m. and Lehigh opens at Saint Joseph’s at 2 p.m.
Holy Cross and Lafayette will start their slates a week later on Saturday, Feb. 18. The Crusaders open at St. John’s at 1 p.m., while Lafayette entertains Providence at 3:30 p.m.
The Patriot League Men’s Lacrosse Tournament is set for Friday/Sunday, April 27/29, and will be hosted by the team that posted the best League record during the regular season. For the fourth straight year, all three games of the tournament will be televised nationally by CBS Sports Network. The winner earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Friday’s semifinal games will be at 5 p.m. and 7:45 p.m., while Sunday’s championship is set for 3 p.m.
Patriot League Preseason Results
1. Bucknell – 72 points (12 first-place votes)
2. Army – 54 (2)
3. Colgate – 52
4. Lehigh – 44
5. Navy – 38
6. Lafayette – 19
7. Holy Cross – 15
Preseason Offensive POY – Peter Baum, Colgate, Jr.
Preseason Defensive POY – Tim Henderson, Army, Sr.