Syracuse Tabbed Preseason Favorite in Big East Poll

PROVIDENCE, R.I. Syracuse University has been unanimously selected as the 2011 preseason favorite of the BIG EAST men's lacrosse league. The league's seven head coaches were polled and were not permitted to vote for their own programs. Notre Dame's Zach Brenneman was named the BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while Syracuse's John Galloway and Joel White were named Preseason Co-Defensive Players of the Year.

Brenneman, a senior midfielder, played in 17 games last year, recording 29 goals and 13 assists for 42 points. He also recorded 12 ground balls last year. Brenneman earned All-American honorable mention honors, All-BIG EAST First Team honors and was selected to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team.

BIG EAST Preseason Co-Defensive Players of the Year Galloway and White both anchor the backfield on a team that posted a 7.31 goals against average last season, which led the nation. Galloway had 144 saves in 15 games last season with a 7.16 goals against average and .595 save percentage. The senior was honored as USILA Goalkeeper of the Year, First Team All-American and BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year. White had six goals and four assists for 10 points last season. He added 78 ground balls and 31 caused turnovers en route to USILA Midfielder of the Year honors, the first defensive player to be honored. He was a First Team All-American honoree and selected to the All-BIG EAST First Team.

Syracuse was seventh in the nation last year in goals per game with 12.47 and second with 10.67 caused turnovers per game. The Orange finished with a 13-2 record for an .867 win percentage, also second in the nation. SU won the inaugural BIG EAST regular-season championship with a perfect 6-0 record. The Orange's 13 regular-season victories were the most for the program since 1986. Syracuse made its 30th appearance in the NCAA Championship. It was the seventh time, and second-consecutive, that SU had been the No. 2 seed. The Orange own an overall record of 61-19 in NCAA Championship play. The Orange were ranked first in the Lacrosse Magazine Preseason Poll.

Notre Dame, picked to finish second with 31 points and one first-place vote, returned to the 2010 NCAA Championship semifinals for the second time in program history and played in the National Championship game for the first time. The Irish, who finished last season 10-7 overall and 2-4 in league play, topped No. 7 seed Cornell 12-7 in the national semifinal at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md., on May 29 before falling to Duke 6-5 in overtime in the final two days later. Defenseman Kevin Ridgway and Brenneman were named to the All-Tournament team.

Georgetown was picked third with 25 points. The Hoyas ended the season with a record of 9-5 overall, 5-1 in the BIG EAST. With a 12-9 win at then-No. 13/11 Villanova on May 8 to conclude the regular season, Georgetown ended the year in second place in the inaugural season of BIG EAST men's lacrosse.

Villanova was picked to finish fourth, garnering 22 points. The Wildcats went 10-5 last season, including a 4-2 mark in BIG EAST play. The 2010 season included several highlights for Villanova as the team earned its highest ranking in program history after being ranked No. 9 nationally by both the USILA and Inside Lacrosse. Additionally, 2010 marked only the third time in program history that Villanova won at least 10 regular-season games since the program became a varsity sport in 1981.

St. John's was picked to finish fifth in the preseason poll with 14 points. The Red Storm ended the 2010 season with a 5-9 record, going 2-4 in league action. It was the second-straight season that St. John's posted five wins.

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