Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/8/13
From Press Release
The Northeast Conference men’s lacrosse coaches have voted and defending league champion Bryant has been picked to win the title again in 2013.
The Bulldogs – featuring several Philly grads – were a unanimous pick in this year’s NEC Men’s Lacrosse Preseason Coaches’ Poll, claiming five first-place votes to best second-ranked and NEC Finalist Mount St. Mary’s, which claimed the final first-place tally. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams.
Last year’s regular-season champion, Robert Morris, was voted third, followed by Quinnipiac in fourth. Sacred Heart and Wagner rounded out the six-team poll in fifth and sixth, respectively.
Bryant (14-4, 4-1 NEC) capped off a grand season by winning its first NEC Championship with a 12-6 victory over Mount St. Mary’s and earning a spot in the final Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll (#19). Led by seventh-year head coach Mike Pressler, the Bulldogs posted a 10-3 record in non-conference play before going 4-1 in NEC action.
Pressler’s squad ranked first or second in nearly every statistical category but really shined on defense and at the faceoff X. The folks from Smithfield, RI led the league in goals allowed (7.54), caused turnovers (153/8.50 avg), ground balls (671/37.28 avg) and boasted a man-down unit that squashed nearly 75% (.746) of its opponents’ extra-man opportunities.
Seniors Mason Poli (Downingtown, PA/Downingtown East) and Glenn Maiorano (Easton, CT/Fairfield Prep) helped the defense rank eighth nationally and both return for the 2013 season. Poli, a two-time USILA Honorable Mention All-American and multiple All-NEC First Team pick, provided 44 ground balls and 11 caused turnovers while playing a major role in the transition game, scoring 19 goals and totaling 25 points. He was selected 27th overall by the Charlotte Hounds in the Major League Lacrosse (MLL) Draft earlier in January. Maiorano, an All-NEC First Team pick as well, captured 58 ground balls and caused 33 turnovers, a figure that ranked 14th nationally.
Bryant also features senior attackman Cody Isdaner (Episcopal Academy), who had 19 goals last year and sophomore defenseman Connor Dent (St. Joseph’s Prep), who started 13 of 15 games last year and had 23 groundballs and 11 caused turnovers.
After playing in its second straight NEC Title game, Mount St. Mary’s (6-9, 2-3 NEC) looks to make it 3-for-3 in 2013. The Mountaineers won the title in 2011 and upset top-seeded Robert Morris, 16-15, in overtime last season to setup the matchup with Bryant last season. This year, head coach Tom Gravante returns the services of senior midfielder Daniel Stranix (Ridley), who had 16 goals and 9 assists last year; and junior defenseman Shane Pierce (La Salle), who statarted every game and picked up 15 groundballs.
In his second season as head coach of Robert Morris (11-4, 5-0 NEC), Drew McMinn looks to keep the offense going after watching his team lead the country in scoring offense for a second straight season (14.38 gpg). Despite graduating the NEC’s Player and Offensive Player of the Year in Kiel Matisz, the 2012 NEC Coach of the Year brings back seniors Jake Hayes (Calgary, Alberta/Central Memorial) and Dave Morton (Orangeville, Ontario/The Hill School). Hayes led the NEC and placed sixth in the country in goals per game (2.80), totaling 42 strikes along with 61 points. He also ranked second on the circuit in points per game, averaging 4.27 ppg. Morton, another all-league pick, placed fourth in points per game (3.27 ppg) on the strength of a 30-goal, 19-assist campaign.