SPARTANBURG, S.C. — After a year in the Atlantic Sun Conference, the Virginia Military Institute men’s lacrosse program begins its first season in the Southern Conference for 2015. On Thursday morning, the league office released its Preseason Coaches’ Poll and Preseason All-Conference Team.
Senior Tyler Prasnicki, a Lexington native, was named as one of three defenseman on the Preseason All-Conference team, joined by Brendan Haynes of the University of Richmond and Bellarmine University’s Colin Hart.
As a team, VMI was voted by the coaches to finish seventh in the league, picking up eight points. Bellarmine was voted as the favorite to win the conference with 34 points and four first-place votes, followed by High Point University in second with 30 points and three first-place votes. Richmond garnered 29 points and one first place vote while Jacksonville University rounded out the top four with 19 points. Mercer University had 18 points for fifth place, while Furman University narrowly edged VMI with nine points for sixth.
“Subjective preseason polls are about as humorous as watching someone who lives in a house with no windows try to predict the weather,” said fifth-year head coach Brian Anken. “But it’s always good to know what your peers think of your program before the season begins. We look forward to seeing the performance-based rankings that come out in early May.”
Prasnicki played and started in all 14 games in 2014, forcing a program-best 33 turnovers. The Rockbridge Area High School product averaged 2.36 caused turnovers per game, ranking him fourth in NCAA Division I. During the team’s season finale double overtime victory against league foe Richmond, Prasnicki caused seven turnovers, helping VMI to a 7-6 win on senior day at Drill Field #2. Last season, Prasnicki was named as a defenseman on the All-Atlantic Sun First Team, and was the A-Sun’s Fan Vote Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. During the team’s annual awards banquet, Prasnicki was named as the squad’s Defense MVP.
Last season, VMI went 2-12 overall and 1-4 in the Atlantic Sun. But despite the record, the Keydets held opponents to single-digit goals in six games, including the program’s first win over a Division I Service Academy with a 6-4 win over the United States Air Force Academy. The Keydets play their first game in the new conference on March 7 at in-state foe Richmond.
The Preseason All-Conference team attack was comprised of Dan Lomas (High Point), Matt Thistle (High Point) and former Keydet Mickey Hofmeister (Richmond), who transferred to Richmond following graduation from the Institute. The Preseason All-Conference midfield was Mitchell Goldberg (Richmond), Tim Geran (Mercer) and Austin Shanks (Bellarmine). The goalkeeper was Austin Geisler (High Point) as teammate Jamie Piluso was tabbed as the faceoff specialist. The Preseason All-Conference longstick midfielder was Bellarmine’s Bobby Schmidt.
VMI kicks off the 2015 campaign with back-to-back road games, opening with the United States Naval Academy on Feb. 8 at noon in Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. VMI then plays at the United States Military Academy on Feb. 9 with a 3 p.m. start at Michie Stadium in West Point, N.Y.
John C. Stark
Assistant Athletic Communications Director
Virginia Military Institute
Email: [email protected]