HIGH POINT, N.C. – Limestone College is coming off of one of their most successful seasons in team history, in which they broke the program record for wins with 17, advanced to their seventh NCAA Division II National Championship Game and once again claimed Conference Carolinas regular season and tournament titles. Pfeiffer University was picked second while Queens rounds out the top three in third.
The Saints have a number of key players returning in 2013. Among them is reigning Conference Carolinas Player of the Year, USILA Specialist of the Year and First-Team All-American faceoff man Jake Ternosky. Already an Inside Lacrosse Preseason First-Team All-American, Ternosky is coming off of a season that saw him win 234 of 358 faceoffs for an incredible .654 percentage, good for second in the nation, and took 153 more attempts than the national leader to achieve that level. He also finished with 101 groundballs and was named the Nike National Player of the Week on March 9. He also became the first Saint to be named Conference Carolinas Male Athlete of the Year.
Ternosky gets the ball to one of the most dangerous offenses in the country 65-percent of the time. That offense this year will continue to be fueled by senior attack Riley Loewen who finished 2012 with 48 goals, 20 assists, 68 points and 30 groundballs. A Second-Team USILA All-American for the second straight year, and a former Co-Conference Carolinas Player of the Year (2011), Loewen finished 14th in the nation in goals per game with a mark of 2.61 and was 16th in points per game with a mark of 3.67.
After racking up a school-record 12 wins in 2012, the Pfeiffer University men's lacrosse team will look to build on last year's progress being selected second in the annual Conference Carolinas preseason coaches’ poll. Junior James Shepherd returns as the top scorer from a year ago after registering 47 goals with 14 assists crossing the century mark in points at 107. Shepherd, a first team all-conference selection, will anchor the offense while junior Hayden Kirk, also a first team selection, captains the defense in net. Hayden recorded 162 saves in 2012 logging over 900 minutes last season with a goals against average of just 6.51.
Pfeiffer will look to benefit from 12 newcomers this season under first year head coach Lars Keil. Keil took over for Peter Milliman in four months ago after Milliman departed for Princeton. Assistant Coaches Steve Torkington and Brad Conlon both return to help Keil.
Queens University of Charlotte returns two of its three players that were named to last year’s all-conference team list. Senior midfielder T.C. Whaley will begin his final season as the Royals’ second leading returning scorer behind sophomore Evan Farkas. Attackers Matthew Michael and Jimmy Baker who also contributed largely to Queens’ offense will return to the field as well. Tim Cloud, a long pole who was most recently recognized on Inside Lacrosse’s Preseason All-Conference Team, rejoins the Royals squad to lead Queens’ defense. The Royals’ strengths will be tested early in their season when they host some of the top teams in the nation in non-conference action.
Rounding out the men’s lacrosse preseason poll 4-6 was: Belmont Abbey, Mount Olive, Coker and Lees-McRae respectively.
CONFERENCE CAROLINAS PRESEASON COACHES POLL (First Place Votes)
1. Limestone - (6) 36
2. Pfeiffer - (1) 31
3. Queens - 24
4. Belmont Abbey - 22
5. Mount Olive - 15
6. Coker - 13
7. Lees-McRae - 6