HIGH POINT, N.C. – Coming off of one of their most impressive seasons in recent years, Limestone men’s lacrosse has been picked to win Conference Carolinas as announced by the league on Wednesday, January 25 in its annual preseason poll. The poll was voted on by the league’s six men’s lacrosse head coaches. It is the fourth straight year that Limestone has been picked as the preseason favorite.
The Saints earned the top spot with 25 points and five first place votes while Pfeiffer, last year’s Conference Carolinas runner-up, was second with 20 points and the other first place vote. Queens rounded out the top half of the poll in third with 16 points.
Limestone men’s lacrosse enters 2012 following a record-tying campaign a year ago that included a record 12th straight trip to the NCAA Division II Tournament and a 15-2 record that tied the school mark for wins in a season.
That record included the Conference Carolinas Championship for the third straight season, wins over four nationally ranked opponents and a home NCAA Semifinal game for the first time since 2004. Their only two losses on the season came at the hands of eventual national champion No. 4 Mercyhurst (12-8) and national runner-up No. 5 Adelphi (14-11).
The Saints return one of the most fearsome lineups in the country this season. National Player of the Year candidates Shayne Jackson (Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada) and Riley Loewen (Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada) are back as is starting goalkeeper Steve Gartleman (Seaford, N.Y.) and midfielder Jackson Decker (Port Moody, British Columbia, Canada).
Jackson was a devastating offensive force who led Division II with 4.82 points per game and 2.94 assists and was named a United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association First-Team All-American. He was the only Division II player to be among the 25 finalists for the prestigious Tewaaraton Award, given to college lacrosse’s best player, regardless of division. He has already been drafted by Major League Lacrosse’s Denver Outlaws and has been picked as Lacrosse Magazine’s Preseason Division II Player of the Year.
Loewen was a Second-Team USILA All-American after finishing with the third highest averages in points (4.35) and goals (3.18) per game while Gartleman posted a 15-2 record, 6.57 goals against average and .569 save percentage in 17 games and starts. Decker is expected to continue to be a threat in the midfield after scoring the fourth most goals (23) and dishing out the third most assists (17) on the highest scoring team in NCAA Division II a year ago.
Entering this season, Lacrosse Magazine has the Saints ranked No. 3 in the country behind only defending champion Mercyhurst and national runner-up Adelphi.
The Saints kick off their 23rd season of competition on Sunday, February 12 when they host Rollins. Game time is set for 12 p.m. at Saints Field.