HIGH POINT, N.C. – The Limestone College men’s lacrosse program, following a 12-2 overall record and a perfect 8-0 mark in league play, has been chosen as the Conference Carolinas Preseason No. 1 as voted on by league head coaches in the annual poll. The Saints are followed in the top three by Queens University of Charlotte and Belmont Abbey College. Pfeiffer University was selected fourth in the six-team league.
Limestone College first year head men’s lacrosse coach J.B. Clarke inherits a team that returns five starters, including 13 players that saw action in the Saints’ 2010 NCAA Division II national semifinal game. In all, Limestone won both the Conference Carolinas regular season and tournament championships while representing the Southeast Region in the NCAA Division II Tournament for the 11th consecutive season.
Among the returnees on attack are senior Jeff Santo and sophomore Riley Loewen. They’ll be joined by a deep Saints midfield headlined by the return of senior captain Sam Buppert, junior Jackson Decker and senior Brian Patridge. Junior Brian Hogan and senior captain Ken Kerr return as part of a defense that yielded just over six goals per game a year ago. The Saints will also be experienced between the pipes with the return of goalie Steve Gartleman who posted a 5.92 goals against average and .563 save percentage over last year’s 14-game campaign.
Queens University of Charlotte enters the 2011 campaign in hopes of improving their record for the third consecutive year. Improving from 8-6 in 2009 to 9-4 in 2010, reigning conference Coach of the Year Jim Fritz has the pieces in place to build on the program’s best winning season in history.
Leading the way for the Royals are captains Fred Bush, Travis Speer, and Inside Lacrosse preseason All-Conference selection Matthew Dolan. Their supporting cast consists of returning All-Conference selections Corey Geroy, Joe Taylor, Dane Blodgett, and goalkeeper Brandon Macknew. Specializing in different areas of the game, Geroy, Taylor, and Macknew have been named Inside Lacrosse preseason All-America Honorable Mentions and All-Conference selections.
The Belmont Abbey College men’s lacrosse team returns five of its top six scorers from last year’s team that finished 7-6 and advanced to the Conference Carolinas championship game. Sophomore Dan Morrissey, last year’s conference Freshman of the Year, returns as the Crusaders top scorer from a year ago, registering 16 goals and a team-high 17 assists. He is the Abbey’s third Conference Freshman of the Year in the program’s five year history. Tanner Scharr and Nick Boylan also return to the Abbey lineup. Boylan scored 17 goals a year ago to earn third-team honors, while Scharr scored 15 goals.
Rounding out the men’s lacrosse preseason poll 4-6 was: Pfeiffer, St. Andrews and Lees-McRae.