BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh men’s lacrosse team was predicted first and three Mountain Hawks earned All-Patriot League laurels, as announced on the league’s media teleconference Wednesday morning. In addition, senior David DiMaria, junior Ty Souders and sophomore Matt Poillon all earned a spot on the first-ever preseason All-League team.
“I’m excited. I think everyone’s excited this time of year,” said reigning Patriot League Coach of the Year Kevin Cassese on Wednesday’s teleconference. “I’ve been very impressed with the team so far this preseason. I was unimpressed in the fall; I didn’t think we had a good fall, I thought our guys came back and weren’t focused like they needed to be. I challenged them towards the tail end of the fall, and when they went home on their own, to work hard and come back in great shape.
“They’ve done that,” Cassese continued. “They are very focused, our practices have been intense and they’re dialed in. I feel like we have a new team from the fall.”
The Mountain Hawks topped the preseason poll with 69 points and nine first-place votes. They were followed by Colgate with 65 points (five first-place votes), Army (48 points), Bucknell (43), Navy (35), Holy Cross (20) and Lafayette (14). Lehigh finished last season with a 14-3 record, beating Colgate in the Patriot League Championship Game, 16-14.
“The challenges for us are different than we’ve had in the past,” said Cassese. “This year, we’ll have a veteran team so the challenges are just a little bit different. It’s fun to try and assess the challenges then go out and attack them. That’s what we’re doing right now in the preseason.”
Lehigh tied for the most players on the preseason All-League Team, along with Army and Colgate. The Raiders’ Peter Baum was named Offensive Player of the Year while Bucknell’s Mike Huffner earned Defensive Player of the Year laurels.
The Mountain Hawks have racked in the preseason honors and accolades, ranked #8 nationally by Inside Lacrosse/Face-Off Yearbook, 10th by Lacrosse Magazine and 13th by the coaches. Six were named preseason All-Americans by Inside Lacrosse as well; DiMaria and Souders cracked the Third Team while Poillon and seniors Dante Fantoni, Noah Molnar and Mike Noone garnered Honorable Mention laurels.
Lehigh is nearly two weeks into preseason practice in preparation for the 2013 season as it looks to build off a 14-3 campaign which included its first Patriot League Tournament Title and NCAA Tournament appearance. The Mountain Hawks open the season on Saturday, Feb. 9 against Saint Joseph’s, who’s led by former Lehigh assistant Taylor Wray. Opening faceoff is set for 1 p.m. at the Ulrich Sports Complex.
Patriot League Men’s Lacrosse Preseason Poll
1. Lehigh – 69 points (9 first place votes)
2. Colgate – 65 (5)
3. Army – 48
4. Bucknell – 43
5. Navy – 35
6. Holy Cross – 20
7. Lafayette – 14
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year – Peter Baum, Colgate, Sr., A
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year – Mike Huffner, Bucknell, Sr., D
Garrett Thul, Army, Sr., A
Peter Baum, Colgate, Sr., A
David DiMaria, Lehigh, Sr., A
John Glesener, Army, So., M
David Dickson, Bucknell, So., M
Matt Baker, Colgate, Sr., M
Rob Grabher, Colgate, Sr., FOS
Pat Kiernan, Navy, Jr., LSM
Brendan Buckley, Army, Sr., D
Mike Huffner, Bucknell, Sr., D
Ty Souders, Lehigh, Jr., D
Matt Poillon, Lehigh, So., GK
Breakdown – Army (3); Bucknell (2); Colgate (3); Lehigh (3); Navy (1)