CCC Men's Lacrosse Pre-Season Poll Released

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Defending CCC Champion Western New England University has been selected to win the 2013 Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) men's lacrosse championship, it was announced today by Commissioner Gregg M. Kaye.

Voting for the preseason poll was conducted among the league's head men's lacrosse coaches.

Western New England (13-5 overall, 7-0 CCC) garnered eight out of nine first-place votes in the 2013 CCC preseason poll. Endicott College (11-9, 5-2) was picked by the coaches as the runner-up in the conference and received the remaining first place vote. Roger Williams University (10-6, 6-1) was picked to finish third, while Gordon College (8-8, 3-4) and University of New England (10-10, 3-4) were slated to finish fourth and fifth, respectively.

Western New England head coach John Klepacki returns six starters among 36 lettermen off last season's team that swept CCC regular-season and tournament titles, advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championship and recorded a 13-5 overall mark. The Golden Bears are headed by Inside Lacrosse magazine Preseason All-America seniors Aaron Harris, a defender, and Corey Johnson, a midfielder. That duo, named to the first and second team respectively, are joined by Preseason All-New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association selections senior midfielder James Reardon (2nd team), sophomore goalkeeper Brandon Body (HM) and senior midfielder Nick Jez (HM). Body is replacing two-time All-American Brewster Knowlton, who graduated, as the fulltime starter in the cage, but he had a solid freshman campaign in which he posted a 5.24 goals-against average in 343 minutes and 25 seconds of action, .595 save percentage and 5-1 record. The Golden Bears have earned several preseason national rankings: No. 11 US Lacrosse Magazine, No. 12 USILA and No. 18 Inside Lacrosse. Western New England will be battle-tested for the CCC circuit by playing a national schedule that includes 2012 Final Four teams Stevenson, Tufts and Cortland – all on the road.

Coming off a season in which the Endicott (11-9, 5-2) men's lacrosse team did not reach the conference finals for the first time since 2003, the Gulls have refocused on achieving the program's mission of winning the CCC Tournament and going to the NCAA Tournament for the eighth time. Entering his 16th season and one win shy of 200 for his coaching career, head coach Sean Quirk will look to senior captains Kyle Burke, Peter Erickson, Connor McCormack, and Ryan Sutherland to provide leadership for a deep and talented crop of players this spring. Once again, Endicott will take on one of the nation's toughest schedules as there are six teams ranked in the top-20 according to USILA and seven teams that competed in last year's NCAA Tournament on the 2013 schedule.

The Roger Williams men's lacrosse team, under the guidance of twelve year head coach Marty Kelly, will look to improve on a successful 2012 season. The Hawks put together an overall record of 10-6, advancing to the CCC championship game before falling to top-seeded Western New England. After placing ten Hawks on the 2012 All-CCC team including senior attacker Drew Beck, junior attacker Jon Nessa, and CCC Rookie of the Year and ECAC Co-Rookie of the Year Luke Aubrey, the RWU Men's Lacrosse team is looking to capitalize their 2013 season with a conference title.

After losing four All-Conference players to graduation, head coach Warren Shumate will rely on the experience of seasoned returners to guide a strong Gordon rookie class into the 2013 campaign. Sophomore Mio Sison, an All-CCC Honorable Mention selection in 2012, will be at the helm of the Fighting Scots attack after finishing last season as the team's third-leading scorer with 20 goals and 10 assists. Classmate Matt Dantona, who recorded 10 goals and 14 assists out of the midfield in 16 games-played, and junior Jeremy Nelson, who was sidelined with injury last season, will join Sison on the offensive, while senior veteran defenders Kenny Stirling and Dom Dantona together with keeper Houston Zemanski will anchor Gordon's line of defense.

The University of New England graduated 10 players from last season's squad that won a program-record 10 games and finished as runner-up in the ECAC New England Championship. However, first-year head coach Charlie Burch has five of the top eight scorers back for 2013, including senior attacker Tyler Thomas (34 goals, 17 assists) and junior midfielder Dan O'Gorman (21 goals, 18 assists, 132 ground balls, 58% face-offs won). Thomas and O'Gorman, along with senior defender Nick McMahon, were all-CCC performers for the Nor'easters a year ago.

Curry College first year (10-8, 2-5) head coach Tim Murphy will lean on the experience of his defense with a number of upperclassmen returning on that side of the ball. The offense will be young and untested but a few key early season games, before the conference schedule begins, will hopefully help that group mature quickly.

The Nichols College team welcomes back its top five scorer's from last season's 7-9 squad (2-5 in conference play), including leading-scorer Macaulay Gillis. The senior led the Bison in assists (25) and points (49) while placing second in goals (24) behind sophomore Michael Bane, who potted 30. Overall, eight of second-year head coach Eric Gobiel's top 10 point getters are back, along with senior Christopher Barchard, who notched a team-leading 30 caused turnovers, and senior Marc Miller, who collected a team-high 58 ground balls. Junior Matt McGue and freshman Seth Drouin are locked in a battle for the number one goalkeeper position.

The Salve Regina University (1-6 overall) team will have a brand new look going into the 2013 season. With 2012 behind them and ready to move forward, Seahawks head coach Pat Cooney welcomes 17 freshmen to the squad. With the young team, tri-captains seniors Taylor Braun and Michael Horn and junior Chad Hollenshade will look to be leaders on and off the field. Hollenshade returns as the leading scorer last year with 13 goals. Braun will anchor the midfield this season while Horn will lead the defense. Horn was tied for second in ground balls last season for the Seahawks with 21.

Wentworth Institute of Technology (2-11, 0-7) head coach Dan Russo has his top three scorers from last season returning for the 2013 campaign and are looking to make a run at their first CCC tournament appearance since the 2009 season. Senior attackman Mark Pappas leads the way after a 23-point (16 goals, seven assists) campaign a season ago, with junior attackman Steve Glover, a 20-point scorer as a sophomore, and junior midfielder Chris Kipp, a 19-point scorer last season, also returning. Senior Tyler Forthofer, who collected 32 ground balls and caused 11 turnovers last season, anchors the defense. In goal, junior Jared Proulx returns after a sophomore season that saw him average 14.9 saves per game.

(Release Courtesy of the Commonwealth Coast Conference) 

2013 CCC MEN'S LACROSSE PRESEASON POLL

Teams received nine points for every first-place vote received, eight points for second-place votes, seven points for third-place votes, down to one point for a last place vote. First-place votes are shown in parentheses.

TEAM

POINTS (1st Place Votes)

Western New England

79 (8)

Endicott

69 (1)

Roger Williams

68

Gordon

51

University of New England

45

Curry

32

Nichols

26

Salve Regina

20

Wentworth

15


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