Div. III lacrosse is just around the corner, but the NESCAC still has a ways to go before its regular season kicks off. But that late start date hasn’t curbed any preseason buzz, especially after the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association’s Div. III preseason coaches poll was released yesterday.
As expected, defending NCAA champion Salisbury, which avenged its 2010 loss by blitzing Tufts in the national finals, was a near-unanimous choice for No. 1 in the nation, receiving 14 of 15 first-place votes and 297 overall points, 46 ahead of No. 2 Roanoke. That one lingering first-place vote, however, is causing a bit of a stir.
Though the Jumbos lost the national championship 19-7 at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium on May 29, 2011, coach Mike Daly’s squad still received one first-place vote and is ranked third overall, a perhaps lofty choice given that Tufts graduated USILA Most Outstanding Attackman D.J. Hessler, Ryan Molloy (3rd on team with 66 points) and All-American Alec Bialosky, among others.
This sparked the following tweets from Swank Lax, who runs the “From the CAC to the ‘Cac” lacrosse blog, which pretty much sum up any and all rage over Tufts’ placement (for what it’s worth, SwankLax didn’t rank the Jumbos in his LaxPower D-III Forum Poll national top 5):
Tufts, which will open its regular season on March 10 at Hamilton, and has a non-conference showdown at No. 7 Stevenson on March 20, is tied with Dickinson for third overall in the coaches poll.
Amherst, which returns almost every top player from the unit that reached the NCAA quarterfinals before losing to RIT, is ranked sixth overall, just five points behind No. 5 Cortland.
Middlebury is ranked 10th, Trinity slides in at 16th and Bowdoin cracked the top 20 at No. 18. Wesleyan and Colby also received votes, racking the tally of considered NESCAC schools up to seven.
If you want some diversity and don’t want to take the coaches poll at face value — given that only 15 coaches voted, this is a reasonable opinion to have — check out the LaxPower Forum Poll.