Empire 8 2011 Preseason Coaches' Poll

ROCHESTER, NY Rochester Institute of Technology, which captured the conference championship last year and advanced to the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse quarterfinals, is the favorite to capture the Empire 8 Men's Lacrosse Championship again this season, according to the preseason coaches' poll. The Tigers received six first-place votes.

Three Empire 8 teams are ranked in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Preseason Poll. RIT is ranked ninth, Nazareth College is ranked 17th and St. John Fisher College begins the season 19th. Stevens Institute of Technology and Ithaca College each received votes.

RIT returns Empire 8 Co-Player of the Year Jordan McIntosh, who finished third on the team in scoring with 53 points on 36 goals and 17 assists. He scored 11 times in just four regular season conference games and added five goals and three assists in two conference tournament games.

Seven-time Empire 8 champion Nazareth College is the coaches' choice to finish second this season and received two first-place votes. Senior midfielder Scott Castle has earned first-team all-conference honors each of the past two years and senior attack Joe Jacobs-Ferderbar also returns after garnering first-team honors last season. Both players tallied 16 points in eight regular season conference games.

Ithaca, which had its string of six consecutive regular season titles snapped a year ago, is the coaches' selection to finish third this season and received one first-place vote. The Bombers advanced to last year's conference championship game after knocking off top-seeded St. John Fisher in the semifinals. Senior David Gal was named Empire 8 Goalkeeper of the Year and was recognized as a USILA Honorable Mention All-American.

St. John Fisher captured the regular season conference title with a 7-1 mark in league play last season. Junior midfielder Kyle Denhoff was named to the all-conference first team and became the second Cardinals' player to earn All-American honors after totaling 58 points on 46 goals and 12 assists. Senior midfielder Ryan Schmidt returns after finishing second on the team in scoring in 2010.

Stevens Institute of Technology, which narrowly missed qualifying for last year's conference tournament after finishing in a tie for fourth place, is picked to finish fifth by the coaches. Senior defenseman Zach McHugh earned second-team all-conference recognition and was named a USILA Honorable Mention All-American. Senior midfielder Chris Laurita was also named to the all-conference second team last season.

Hartwick College has been chosen to finish sixth this season in the preseason poll. Senior midfielder Dave Aitchison was named to the all-conference first team after leading all players with 41 points in conference play and finishing with 63 points overall.

Utica College is the coaches' preseason choice to finish seventh this year. Junior defender Mike Krajacic became the first player in the program's history to be named a first-team all-conference selection in 2010. He totaled 28 ground balls in eight conference games.

Elmira College and Alfred University were picked eighth and ninth, respectively, in the coaches' poll. The Soaring Eagles finished tied for sixth place a year ago, posting a thrilling 15-14 win at Hartwick and topping the Saxons. Alfred finished 3-3 out of conference with all three losses by one goal and four of its eight Empire 8 losses were by four goals or fewer.

2011 Empire 8 Men's Lacrosse Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Rochester Institute of Technology (6) 63 points
2. Nazareth College (2) 55
3. Ithaca College (1) 53
4. St. John Fisher College 42
5. Stevens Institute of Technology 38
6. Hartwick College 27
7. Utica College 21
8. Elmira College 15
9. Alfred University 12


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