Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/22/12
from Press Releases
Widener University topped the annual survey by the Middle Atlantic Conference’s head coaches as the favorite to win the Commonwealth Conference by garnering 36 points as the unanimous winner.
This is the first season the former MAC is split into the Commonwealth and Freedom Conferences. With the split of the two Conferences, comes a change in the Conference Tournament format. NCAA rules state that in order for conferences to receive an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III national tournament, conferences must have a minimum of seven teams. The Freedom Conference currently has six members while the Commonwealth Conference has seven. The teams will play a conference tournament format which will allow for the Freedom survivor to play the Commonwealth survivor for the overall MAC title and the NCAA Tournament automatic qualifying berth.
This poll comes just after the squad had juniors Johnny Casey (Abington), Josh Fox (Lower Merion) and Charlie Bytheway (Garnet Valley) named to the preseason All-Commonwealth Conference team by InsideLacrosse.com and was picked by said organization to win the league.
Casey is one of the most feared players on attack with one of the best scoring touches. A first team All-MAC pick last season and the 2009 MAC Rookie of the Year, Casey last year was tied for seventh in the MAC with 50 points and tied for fourth with 31 goals.
Fox, also a first team all-league pick a season ago, is another vital part of the team on attack. He too closed with 50 points and 31 goals to tie for the team lead and also was tied for tops in the conference with four game-winning goals.
Bytheway could finally get some overdue league recognition. A key player this season who will need to fill some big graduation voids on defense, Bytheway led the team a season ago with 48 ground balls and played a big part for a team which ended second in the league with a 6.2 goals-against average.
Widener (15-3, 11-0 MAC) is coming off its 13th Middle Atlantic Conference title, its ninth appearance in the NCAA Tournament and its first undefeated conference regular season since 2003. The Pride set the school record for victories and entered the NCAA Tournament with a team-record 13-game winning streak.
On February 25th, the Pride opens their season hosting SUNY Cortland. The Commonwealth Conference Tournament begins May 1 with first round action, followed by semifinal games on May 3, and the championship game on May 5. All tournament games are at the campus of the higher seed. The two conference winners will meet May 5 to determine the MAC’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
2012 COMMONWEALTH CONFERENCE MEN’S LACROSSE PRESEASON POLL
1. Widener 36 pts. (7)
2t. Elizabethtown 28 pts.
2t. Messiah 28 pts.
4. Lycoming 22 pts.
5. Lebanon Valley 16 pts.
6. Albright 10 pts.
7. Alvernia 7 pts.
(#) denotes first place votes
FDU-Florham topped the annual survey by the leagues head coaches as the unanimous favorite to win the conference with 24 points and six top selections.
The FDU-Florham Devils are coming off of an 11-7 campaign in 2011 that saw them qualify for the MAC Tournament for the ninth straight season. Head Coach Pat Scarpello enters his 11th season at the helm and is encouraged by what the team has returning to go along with some new faces that he thinks will be able to contribute right away.
The Devils will be led by senior midfielder Paul Colflesh, who was named 2nd Team All-MAC last season. Colflesh lead the team with 23 goals, 12 assists and 35 points. Helping Colflesh on offense will be sophomore midfielder Cody McHugh (20g, 12a, 32p) and senior midfielder Adam Koontz (17g, 20p).
The defense will be anchored by senior defenders Frank Marzillo and Sean Cunningham, each of whom started all 18 games a season ago.
On February 25th, the Devils open their season hosting United States Merchant Marine Academy. The Freedom Conference Tournament begins May 1 with first round action, followed by semifinal games on May 3, and the championship game on May 5. All tournament games are at the campus of the higher seed. The two conference winners will meet May 5 to determine the MAC’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
2012 FREEDOM CONFERENCE MEN’S LACROSSE PRESEASON POLL
1. FDU-Florham 24 pts. (6)
2. Eastern 22 pts.
3. King’s 15 pts.
4t. Manhattanville 10 pts.
4t. Misericordia 10 pts.
6. DeSales 9 pts.
(#) denotes first place votes