FOREST, Va. --- Just one point separates first and second place in the 2012 ODAC Men's Lacrosse Preseason Poll. Both Lynchburg College and Roanoke College picked up four first place votes, but the Hornets received one more point than the Maroons (46-45) to stand atop the annual coach's survey. Hampden-Sydney College (35) and Washington and Lee University (33) are just two tallies apart for third.
The Maroons won their second straight and ODAC-best 16th overall conference title in 2011, but that would be just the beginning of their postseason journey. RC took down Colorado College, 25-5, in its opening round contest of the NCAA Division III Tournament. Thereafter, the tourney was a gauntlet of highly-ranked teams. Roanoke defeated #12 Gettysburg College, 15-9, in the second round, setting up a quarterfinals showdown with #3 Stevenson University. The Maroons shocked the Mustangs, 13-12, thanks to a goal with 0:14 to play by attacker Richard Lachlan. RC's run ended in the semifinals when they fell to top-ranked and eventual national champion Salisbury University, 16-7.
The 2012 preseason polls from various national outlets have both Roanoke and Lynchburg highly ranked. RC is slated third by both Lacrosse Magazine and the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA), while Inside Lacrosse's 2012 Face-off Yearbook has the Maroons tabbed fourth. LC chimes in rated 15th by both Lacrosse Magazine and the USILA, but Inside Lacrosse has the Hornets perched in the eighth position.
Lynchburg (13-6 overall, 5-2 in ODAC play in 2011) and reigning ODAC Coach of the Year, Steve Koudelka, welcome back a league-high eight all-conference selections, four each from the first and second teams. Those from the All-ODAC First Team include attacker Dylan Hoff (37 goals, 20 assists, 22 ground balls), short-stick specialist Jeff Schwartz (2 G, 1 A, 115 GB, 195-303 on face-offs, .644 face-off pct.), defender Joe Lisicky (8 G, 71 GB, 38 caused turnovers) and goalkeeper Franc Cook (7.17 goals-against-average, 164 saves, .592 save pct.). Attack Ben Sauer (16 G, 15 A, 21 GB), midfielders Max Voumard (27 G, 8 A, 23 GB) and Andrew Wilfong (28 G, 7 A, 48 GB) and defender Jon Lombardo (1 A, 39 GB, 18 CT) all earned All-ODAC Second Team honors in 2011.
Roanoke (17-4, 7-0) will be without 2011 ODAC Player of the Year and ODAC/Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Justin Tuma, but four all-conference standouts are set to return. Leading the way is first team attacker Jeff Keating, who led the ODAC in points (86), goals (56), assists (30) and man-up goals (10). He's joined by second teamer Lachlan (12 A, 27 GB), who's big goal against Stevenson was just one of 56, tying him with Keating for the league lead. Also back are attacker Mike Hayden (28 G, 25 A, 26 GB) and defender Eric Long (43 GB, 27 CT) from the All-ODAC Honorable Mention Team.
Hampden-Sydney (12-5, 4-3) welcomes back all but one of its seven all-conference honorees from 2011. Attacker Micah Keller (36 G, 13 A, 30 GB) and midfielder Carter Mavromatis (26 G, 31 GB), who tied RC's Keating with 30 assists, earned first team accolades a year ago. They're joined by a pair of second teamers in long-stick specialist Nate Norbo (1 G, 2 A, 47 GB, 16 CT) and defender Andrew Pritzlaff (1 G, 29 GB, 15 CT) and two more Tigers from the honorable mention squad in short-stick specialist Brad Mostowy (3 G, 2 A, 133 GB, 194-336 F/O, .577 F/O%) and goalkeeper Cody Hornung (7.89 GAA, 133 SV, .547 SV%).
Washington and Lee (9-8, 5-2) will be looking for several returnees and some new faces to lead the unit as just one of five all-conference honorees returns to Lexington. First team defender Joe LaSala (22 GB), who finished third in the ODAC with 37 caused turnovers, leads a defense that surrendered just 120 goals for a 7.06 goals-against-average, both top marks in the ODAC.
Randolph-Macon (8-7, 2-5) returns all six of its all-conference selections along with reigning ODAC Rookie of the Year, midfielder Justin Butler (25 G, 3 A, 20 GB, 10 CT). Joining him from the second team are attacker and leading scorer Jake Leddy (26 G, 21 A, 17 GB) and goalkeeper Jason Crawford (9.68 GAA, 143 SV, .565 SV%). Four players return from the honorable mention team including attacker Tyler Midwinter (21 G, 15 A, 25 GB), who tied for the league lead with 10 man-up goals, midfielders Patrick Egan (18 G, 7 A, 15 GB) and Tim Rowe (17 G, 1 A, 19 GB), and long-stick specialist Joe Liberto (2 A, 51 GB, 28 CT).
Virginia Wesleyan (8-8, 3-4) returns three-of-five all-league athletes, led by second team attacker Adam Nycz (39 G, 13 A, 42 GB). He's joined by an honorable mention duo in attacker Travis Puls (34 G, 13 A, 28 GB) and short-stick specialist Mike Tibbs (4 G, 3 A, 46 GB, 16 CT).
Guilford (9-7, 2-5) won nine games under now second-year head coach Tom Carmean in 2011, marking the most wins for the program since it posted 10 victories in 1992. Back to help continue the Quakers climb in the standings is honorable mention midfielder Greg Nash (17 G, 11 A, 21 GB).
Randolph (1-12, 0-7) is under new leadership in 2012 as Lynchburg alum Andy Sinclair takes hold of the WildCats' coaching reins. Midfielder and leading scorer Stephen Allman (11 G, 12 A, 30 GB) adds punch to the fourth year program's offense as Randolph opens its third season of ODAC play.