Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/19/16
From press Release
The No. 16 Towson University men’s lacrosse team was picked to repeat as Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) champions in 2016 while Hofstra University’s Sam Llinares was selected as the CAA Preseason Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, according to a vote by the league’s six head coaches.
Llinares lived up to his Preseason CAA Player of the Year accolade in 2015 by leading the conference in goals (33) and points (57) during the regular season. In the process, he became the first Hofstra student-athlete to post 50 points or more in consecutive seasons in 15 years. Llinares tallied five hat-tricks last year, including a career-best six goals and eight points against Manhattan. Entering his final season, Llinares has 73 career goals and 69 career assists for 142 points.
Towson is coming off of a 12-6 season in which it won the CAA Championship and advanced to the NCAA First Round after a win in the First Four. The Tigers had one of the top defenses in the nation last season and were backstopped by Preseason All-CAA goalie Tyler White. The 2015 CAA Defensive Player of the Year, White set the Towson single-season goals against average (7.57) record, which ranked in top five in NCAA. He also finished second in the CAA in save percentage (.567) and third in saves per game (9.67) and earned USILA All-American Second Team honors. Also returning for the Tigers is Joe Seider on attack. Seider, who earned a spot on the Preseason All-CAA Team, was a First Team all-conference selection after posting 34 goals and 41 points last season.
Hofstra was picked to finish second in the poll and was followed by Fairfield University in third and Drexel University in fourth. Those three teams are each receiving votes in the national polls. Rounding out the order of finish was the University of Massachusetts in fifth and the University of Delaware in sixth.
Hofstra finished with a 5-9 overall mark and a 2-3 slate in the CAA last season. Among the other returnees from that squad are Preseason All-CAA face-off man Kris Clarke. In 2015, Clarke led the conference and ranked 10th nationally in face-off winning percentage in 2015, capturing 173 of 284 face-offs for a .609 mark. He also picked up 82 ground balls, which ranked second in the CAA and 15th in the country, in 14 games.
Fairfield posted a 9-6 record last spring with a 4-1 conference mark en route to the CAA Regular Season Championship. Head Coach Andy Copelan was tabbed as the CAA Coach of the Year in the Stags’ first season as a league member. The Stags are led in the midfield by Preseason All-CAA picks TJ Neubauer and Charlie Schnider. Neubauer earned First Team honors last season after leading the Stags with 31 goals and scooping up 49 groundballs. Schnider, who transferred from Ohio State, tallied 17 goals and 13 assists in his first season with the Stags.
Drexel went 7-8 overall and 3-2 in conference play last season, advancing to the semifinals of the CAA Championship. The Dragons return Preseason All-CAA attackman Cole Shafer. Last season, Shafer earned All-CAA Second Team after tallying 29 goals and nine assists for 38 points.
Also earning preseason honors in the midfield are UMass’ Gianni Bianchin and Fairfield’s longstick midfielder Conor Barr. Bianchin appeared in all 15 games for the Minutemen, tallying 14 goals and 14 assists for 28 points to finish in the top-ten in the CAA. Barr earned All-CAA Second Team honors last season after posting 22 ground balls and causing 11 turnovers against opponents’ top midfielders.
On defense, a trio of seniors Kyle Karaska (UMass), Finn Sullivan (Hofstra) and Miles Thomas (Drexel) earned preseason nods. Karaska was an All-CAA First Team selection as a close defender, picking up 25 ground balls and causing 18 turnovers. Sullivan, a two-time All-CAA First Team selection, recorded a career-high 37 ground balls last season in 14 starts for the Pride. Thomas, an All-CAA Second Team selection last year, tallied 37 ground balls and 22 caused turnovers in 15 starts.
The men’s lacrosse season will begin February 6 when Delaware heads to Buckell for the first game of the NCAA Division I season. Three teams get underway on February 13 with UMass traveling to Army, Towson hosting Mercer and Fairfield hosting Richmond. Hofstra and Drexel open the year on February 20 with the Pride heading to UNC and Drexel hosting Virginia.
The 2016 CAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship is set for the first week in May with semifinal action beginning on May 5 and the title contest is slated for May 7 live on the American Sports Network. Both the semifinals and final will be hosted by the No. 1 Seed.
2016 PRESEASON ALL-CAA MEN’S LACROSSE TEAM
Name, School Pos. Cl. Hometown/High School
Sam Llinares, Hofstra*% A Sr. Hauppauge, N.Y./Hauppauge
Cole Shafer, Drexel# A Jr. Coquitlan, British Columbia/Charles Best
Joe Seider, Towson* A Sr. Madison, N.J./Madison
TJ Neubauer, Fairfield* M Sr. Glen Arm, Md./Loyola-Blakefield
Charlie Schnider, Fairfield# M Sr. Bethesda, Md./Landon
Gianni Bianchin, UMass M Jr. Stoney Creek, Ontario/ Trinity Pawling (N.Y.)
Conor Barr, Fairfield# LSM Sr. Wilton, Conn./Fairfield Prep
Kris Clarke, Hofstra * FO Jr. Bellmore, N.Y./Chaminade
Kyle Karaska, UMass# D Jr. Groton, Mass./ Bishop Guetin (N.H.)
Finn Sullivan, Hofstra* D Sr. West Roxbury, Mass./Avon Old Farms
Miles Thomas, Drexel# D Sr. Devon, Pa./Conestoga
Tyler White, Towson*& GK R-Sr. Elmira Heights, N.Y./Corning East
* First Team All-CAA in 2015 % 2015 CAA Player of the Year & 2015 Defensive Player of the Year # Second Team All-CAA in 2015
Honorable Mention: Ryan Drenner (Towson, A); Jackson Finigan (Delaware, M), Mike Lowe (Towson, D), Connor Lalley (Delaware, D), Tyler Mayes, (Towson, LSM), Will Fox (St. Augustine Prep, Fairfield, FO)
CAA MEN’S LACROSSE PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Sam Llinares, A, Sr., Hofstra
2016 CAA MEN’S LACROSSE PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH