RICHMOND, Va. (February 7, 2012) — Three squads were separated by just two points in the 2012 CAA Men’s Lacrosse Preseason voting as Delaware, the defending league champion, narrowly earned the 2012 top spot over Massachusetts and Hofstra. The Blue Hens, just one point ahead of the Minutemen and two ahead of the Pride, garnered three first-place votes in a vote conducted by all seven league coaches.
The league’s coaches also selected Penn State sophomore goalkeeper Austin Kaut and UMass junior attacker Will Manny as the CAA’s Preseason Players of the Year.
More impressive than the two-point separation between Delaware, Massachusetts and Hofstra is the fact the CAA boasts five of its seven squads in the Preseason United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Top-20. UMass leads the way among CAA squads ranked at No. 11. Hofstra will begin its season at No. 14, while Penn State, which garnered one first-place vote in the CAA polling, is ranked 17th in the USILA poll. Delaware, which kicked off its season with a 19-6 win over Detroit, is at No. 19 while Drexel is at No. 20 in the preseason USILA rankings and fifth in the league’s preseason vote. Towson earned 11 points and Saint Joseph’s rounded out the league voting with six points.
Kaut, the CAA’s Rookie of the Year, a First Team All-CAA selection and All-Rookie honoree in 2011, logged a conference-best save percentage of .634 last season in leading the Nittany Lions to its first-ever CAA Championships appearance. Kaut also carried a 7.90 goals-against average over 14 contests in earning Honorable Mention All-America honors. Manny was a Second Team All-CAA attacker as a sophomore in 2011 and ranked third in the league averaging three points/game including 22 points and 23 assists. Kaut’s teammate Matthew Mackrides, a First Team All-Conference selection who scored 20 goals in 2011, and Delaware’s Grant Kaleikau, a 15-goal scorer and member of the 2011 All-CAA Tournament team, fill out the other two attack spots on the preseason squad.
Drexel’s Kyle Bergman, UMass’ Anthony Biscardi and Hofstra’s Ian Braddish all earned All-CAA honors in 2011 and make up the preseason All-CAA midfield. Bergman was a Second Team honoree last season after logging 19 goals for the Dragons while both Biscardi and Braddish picked up First Team honors. Biscardi poured in 20 goals and 10 assists for the Minutemen and Braddish averaged better than two points a game including a team-best 17 assists.
Drexel’s Frank Tufano, a two-time First Team All-CAA pick at the long-stick midfield position, is now a repeat preseason long-stick honoree after leading the Dragons with 25 caused turnovers and 48 groundballs last year. John Antoniades, the league’s First Team face-off specialist in 2011, is the 2012 preseason pick at the face-off spot after leading the league with a .642 face-off winning percentage for Hofstra last season.
UMass’ Tom Celentani is the lone preseason defenseman to earn All-CAA honors in 2011. Celentani, a leader for the Minutemen defense which forced nearly nine turnovers a game in 2011, is joined by Penn State’s Ryan McGarvey and Hofstra’s Cody Solaja on the backline. McGarvey and the Penn State defense held opponents to an average of 7.9 goals a game and Solaja, an 2010 All-Rookie pick, was part of the league’s best defense holding the opposition to fewer than seven goals a game.
The CAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships are slated to get underway May 2 with semifinal action, as the title contest is slated for May 5.
2012 CAA Preseason Coaches’ Poll
Team (1st) — Pts
1. Delaware (3) — 31
2. Massachusetts (2) — 30
3. Hofstra (1) — 29
4. Penn State (1) — 23
5. Drexel — 17
6. Towson — 11
7. Saint Joseph’s — 6