Lynchburg Tops ODAC Men's Lacrosse Preseason Poll

Lynchburg Tops ODAC Men's Lacrosse Preseason Poll

LC Earns Eight First Place Votes, One Each for W&L and RC

FOREST, Va. --- Reigning ODAC champion Lynchburg College opens the season as the top choice in the 2015 ODAC Men's Lacrosse Preseason Poll.  The Hornets picked up eight first place votes on the way to 79 total points.  Washington and Lee University sits second with 67 tallies and one top nod.  Hampden-Sydney College and Roanoke College are tied for third with 65 points, but the Maroons secured the remaining first place vote.

The 2014 ODAC men's lacrosse championship game featured third-seeded Lynchburg and #4 Hampden-Sydney. Lynchburg earned the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse tournament thanks to a 21-13 victory over H-SC at Roanoke's Kerr Stadium, host site for the ODAC men's lacrosse final four. The win marked the Hornets' fifth ODAC title in program history and the second in the last three seasons (2012).

The Hornets, the lone representative from the ODAC to earn a bid to the national field, hosted and won its first round game with a 25-4 dismantling of Sewanee. LC then hit the road where it faced Washington College in Chestertown, Md.  The Shoremen outscored the Hornets, 7-3, in the second half en route to capturing a 10-7 victory in the second round of the tournament.

ODAC teams and returning student-athletes are heavily represented on preseason awards lists and polls from both the 2015 Face-off Yearbook Magazine by Inside Lacrosse and Lacrosse Magazine. Lynchburg, Roanoke College and Washington and Lee University all have received rankings in both outlets preseason polls. Face-off slots LC seventh, RC 14th and W&L 17th, while Lacrosse Magazine rates the Hornets seventh, the Generals 15th and the Maroons 17th. All three squads are also ranked in the USILA preseason poll, with LC slotted eighth, W&L 15th and RC 18th.  Hampden-Sydney is receiving votes toward the latter survey.

Five ODAC players have been recognized as Face-off Yearbook Magazine Preseason All-Americans, led by Virginia Wesleyan College attacker Josh Currier, who was tabbed to the second team. H-SC defensemen Thomas Passenant earned third team recognition, while the other three players were named to the honorable squad. That list included midfielder Thomas Armstrong from Hampden-Sydney, defensemen Colin Fraser from Washington and Lee, and attacker Aaron Murphy from Lynchburg.

Entering the 2015 campaign, 27 all-conference players return to fields across the ODAC. Three make their way back to Lynchburg's (17-5 overall, 8-1 ODAC) roster as the Hornets go in search of their sixth league title. LC welcomes back a potent offense that registered an ODAC-best 303 goals and 160 assists. Murphy headlines Lynchburg's returners after earning All-ODAC First Team honors and a 2014 USILA All-American Honorable Mention nod after finishing second in the conference in scoring with 89 points on 49 goals (5th) and 40 assists (3rd). Joining Murphy up top is Austin Stewart, who led the league in goals (57) and earned All-ODAC Third Team accolades a year ago. Short stick Chris Hower was tabbed to the third team after recording 12 points on eight goals and four assists. Hower also scooped up 71 ground balls and caused 12 turnovers.  Todd Galvin (31 G, 21 A) adds further punch up front, while goalkeeper Andrew Fawkes (7.60 GAA, 141 SV, 53.6 SV%) leads the defense from between the pipes.

Washington and Lee (11-6, 8-1) welcomes back a plethora of talent on both ends of the field with six all-conference standouts returning to Lexington. Three all-league performers return to a W&L defense that ranked first in the ODAC with a 7.75 goals-against-average. That group is led by Fraser (26 ground balls, 11 caused turnovers), who earned first team honors.  Buck Armstrong (49 GB, 25 CT, 2 A) and Conor O'Toole (28 GB, 17 CT) were both tabbed to the All-ODAC Second Team. The Generals offense, which was second in the ODAC in goals (232) and assists (132), will be led by three returning all-league players. Attackers Cam Lewis (45 G, 15 A) and Cameron Dabir (24 G, 25 A) combined to notch 109 points on 69 goals and 40 assists after earning second and third team laurels, respectively. Dabir was also named the ODAC/Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Second team midfielder Garrett Paglia (22 G, 6 A, 24 GB, 14 CT) also returns to W&L.

Roanoke (12-5, 8-1) and reigning ODAC Coach of the Year Bill Pilat also have five all-conference selections back in tow, including the ODAC Rookie of the Year and second team attacker, Kevin Jackson (37 G, 15 A, 37 GB, 15 CT). Tyler McWilliams (35 G, 21 A 22 GB), who also earned second team honors, will join Jackson up top. Midfielder Josh Dishaw (15 G, 11 A, 40 GB) is yet another RC second teamer headed back to Salem. The Maroons' defense will be led by Wes Pancoast (24 GB, 7 CT, 1 A, 2-of-5 face-offs) and Troy Grogan (24 GB, 11 CT). Pancoast garnered second team honors, while Grogan was tabbed to the third team.

Hampden-Sydney (10-8, 6-3) returns talent on both ends of the field. Midfielder Thomas Armstrong (30 G, 16 A, 38 GB) collected first team honors and USILA Honorable Mention All-American recognition in 2014. Third teamer Jake Koferl (21 G, 12 A, 61 GC, 81-of-168 face-offs) will join Armstrong in the midfield, while third teamer James Hughes (34 G, 13 A, 22 GB) will spearhead the attack. H-SC's defense will be made up of three all-league players, including first team pick Passenant (35 GB, 16 CT, 7-of-17 face-offs). Defenseman Casey Bendall (52 GB, 21 CT) was a third team choice, while goalkeeper David Noftsinger (177 saves, 9.59 GAA) earned a second team spot.

Virginia Wesleyan College (9-7, 4-5) returns the 2014 ODAC Player of the Year Josh Currier. Currier was also a first pick and a USILA Second Team All-American after notching an ODAC single-season record 100 points on 54 goals (3rd in the ODAC) and 46 assists, the latter number also leading the conference. Third-teamer Mike Moran will join Currier as another returning attacker after recording 37 goals, 11 assists and 33 ground balls.

Guilford College (9-6, 3-6) and Randolph-Macon College (9-8, 5-4) welcome back five all-conference standouts combined. Attacker Adam Fiore (33 G, 42 A, 26 GB) headlines the Quakers' returners after earning second team laurels a season ago. Long stick Rufus Terry netted six markers and dished out one assist while collecting 39 ground balls en route to third team honors. Goalkeeper Thomas Deane will direct GC's defense after he led the ODAC with a 59.8 save percentage. He also stopped 177 shots and registered an 8.63 GAA on his way to third team accolades. R-MC welcomes back short stick specialist Nick Benhoff, who finished first in the ODAC in ground balls (175) and face-offs (222-of-356). Benhoff also found the back of the net 13 times and handed out 14 assists as a second team honoree in 2014. The Yellow Jackets defense is led by third teamer Matt DeBiasse, who registered one goal and two assists. He also picked up 32 ground balls and caused 20 turnovers.

Bridgewater College (5-11, 0-9), Randolph College (5-11, 1-8) and Shenandoah University (6-11, 2-7) will all look to continue climbing the tough ODAC men's lacrosse ladder. The Eagles return a solid offense with leading scorer Chris Voorhees (23 G, 2 A, 20 GB) back in action. Midfielders Derrick Daniels (18 G, 9 A, 33 GB) and Nick Strider also return. Strider returns to the circle after winning 126-of-257 face-offs last year, which ranked seventh in the conference. Two of three top scorers return for the WildCats. Midfielder Andrew Risse was the second leading scorer for Randolph after recording 18 goals and 13 assists, while attacker Andrew Gleitz notched 22 goals and recorded one assist. Shenandoah returns playmaker Stephen LaTona (42 G, 14 A, 32 GB, 10 CT) to lead the offense and goalkeeper Ben Judy to direct the Hornets' backline. Judy stopped an ODAC-best 203 shots and registered an 11.89 GAA.

Listed below is the full 2015 ODAC Men's Lacrosse Preseason Poll.  For more information on ODAC men's lacrosse, visit any of the participating school's websites, or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at  Don't forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook.  You can also follow the ODAC on Twitter @odacathletics.

(#) Denotes First Place Votes

1. Lynchburg (8) 79 pts.
2. Washington and Lee (1) 67 pts.
3. Hampden-Sydney 65 pts.
3. Roanoke (1) 65 pts.
5. Virginia Wesleyan 45 pts.
6. Guilford 41 pts.
7. Randolph-Macon 37 pts.
8. Bridgewater 17 pts.
8. Randolph 17 pts.
8. Shenandoah 17 pts.