Notre Dame the Favorite in Big East Lacrosse Preseason Poll

PROVIDENCE, R.I. With five first-place votes, the University of Notre Dame was selected as the favorite to win the 2013 Big East men's lacrosse championship in a poll by the league's seven head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own programs.

Kieran McArdle of St. John's was selected as the Big East Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while Notre Dame's John Kemp and Syracuse's Brian Megill shared honors as the Big East Preseason Co-Defensive Players of the Year for the second-straight year.

McArdle finished the 2012 season with 28 goals, 32 assists for 60 points. McArdle's totals were the most goals, assists and points in a season since the program's reinstatement in 2005. He led the Big East in points (3.77) and assists (2.00) per game during the regular season. He ranked 10th nationally in points (4.00) and sixth in assists (2.13) per game. He and teammate Dillon Ayers were the first St. John's players to be named first-team All-Big East. McArdle is also the first St. John's player to earn USILA All-American accolades since 1986. His 49 goals and 50 assists for 99 points in just two seasons made him the sixth player in St. John's history to join the 40-goal, 40-assist club. The 99 points tie him for sixth and his 50 assists places him fourth on the St. John's all-time lists. McArdle earned Big East All-Tournament recognition for his 11 points on the team's 12 goals in the 2012 tournament.

Kemp, a junior goalkeeper, received USILA First Team All-America honors and was the recipient of the Ensign C. Markland Kelly, Jr. Award, which is presented annually to the nation's top goalie. Kemp was tabbed as the Big East Goalkeeper of the Year and selected to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament team. He finished the 2012 campaign with the nation's top goals-against average (6.27) and save percentage (.637), along with being 11th in saves per game (11.06). The goals-against average mark ranks second in Fighting Irish history.

Megill, a 2012 USILA Second Team All-American, was a first-round MLL draft choice. Last season, he recorded 62 ground balls and set an SU single-season record with 37 caused turnovers. For his career, Megill has 135 ground balls and 78 caused turnovers.

Notre Dame won the Big East regular-season title in 2012 after posting a perfect 6-0 record in league play. Overall, the Fighting Irish were 13-3 on the season. ND reached the NCAA Championship semifinals at Gillette Stadium, falling to eventual champion Loyola (Md.).

Syracuse received two first-place votes and was selected to finish second. The Orange were the two-time defending league champion entering last season. SU concluded 2012 with a loss in the NCAA Championship first round to Duke (12-9). The Orange were 9-8 overall and 3-3 in league play. After earning the No. 3 seed in the Big East Championship, the Orange outscored opponents 27-10 in the tournament to win the title and earn an automatic berth to the NCAA Championship.

St. John's was picked third in the preseason poll after the squad achieved the highest win total since program reinstatement in 2005 with eight wins last year. The Red Storm finished the 2012 campaign 8-7 overall and 3-3 in Big East action. In the Big East Championship semifinals, St. John's upset No. 1 seed Notre Dame 8-7 in the Big East semifinals. The victory over No. 2 nationally ranked Notre Dame was the highest ranked opponent St. John's has beaten. The Red Storm fell in the title game to Syracuse.

Villanova, which was selected fourth in the preseason poll, finished the season with an 8-7 overall record and went 4-2 in the Big East. Villanova fell in a Big East Championship semifinal match against Syracuse 15-6.

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