Lehigh Tops Patriot League Men's Lacrosse Preseason Poll

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. Defending champion Lehigh was named a slight favorite to repeat in Patriot League men's lacrosse as the Mountain Hawks topped the preseason poll with 69 points and nine first-place votes, it was announced Wednesday morning during the League's annual men's lacrosse media conference call.

In addition, Colgate senior attackman Peter Baum was named the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while Bucknell senior Mike Huffner was tabbed the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. Both were also named to the preseason All-Patriot League squad.

Voting for the preseason poll and All-League team and awards were conducted by the League's head coaches and sports information directors who could not cast a ballot for their own teams or student-athletes. The preseason All-League team is comprised of 12 student-athletes and is in its inaugural season.

Lehigh edged out Colgate, which finished second in the voting with 65 points and the five remaining first-place ballots. Army was picked third with 48 points, followed by Bucknell in fourth with 43. Rounding out the poll were Navy in fifth (35 points), Holy Cross sixth (20) and Lafayette seventh (14).

Baum returns for his senior season after a remarkable junior campaign that ended in the NCAA Quarterfinals. The Portland, Ore., native became the first player in Patriot League history to win both the Tewaaraton and Enners awards after setting League and Colgate single-season records with 67 goals and 97 points. He set or tied nine records at the Patriot League Tournament a season ago, scoring 18 points in two games, setting the single-game assists record with six and tying the single-game goals mark with five. He became the first Tewaaraton winner born west of the Mississippi River, and was recently chosen No. 1 overall by the Ohio Machine in the Major League Lacrosse draft. He's a three-time first-team All-League selection and is the reigning Offensive Player of the Year.

Huffner became a two-time All-League pick with his selection to the first team last season as a junior. He finished second in the League with 27 caused turnovers a year ago and picked up 31 ground balls. Huffner helped anchor a Bucknell defensive unit that finished atop the League and fourth nationally averaging 9.38 caused turnovers per contest.

Both Baum and Huffner were first-team All-League honorees last season. Baum was the unanimous choice for Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and for the squad, while Huffner was a unanimous All-League selection.

Army, Colgate and Lehigh each placed three student-athletes on the preseason team. The Black Knights were represented by senior attackman Garrett Thul, senior defender Brendan Buckley and sophomore midfielder John Glesener.

Joining Baum from Colgate were a pair of seniors face-off specialist Rob Grabher and midfielder Matt Baker.

Lehigh's three picks for the squad were senior attackman David DiMaria, junior defender Ty Souders and sophomore goalkeeper Matt Poillon. Poillon is the reigning Goalkeeper of the Year.

Bucknell placed a pair on the team. Joining Huffner was sophomore midfielder David Dickson.

Rounding out the team was one selection from Navy in junior long-stick midfielder Pat Kiernan.

Seven of the 12 named preseason All-League were seniors, along with two juniors and three sophomores.

The Patriot League is coming off one of its strongest seasons in recent memory. In addition to having its first Tewaaraton and Enners winner, the League sent two teams to the NCAA Tournament, with Lehigh earning the automatic qualifier as Patriot League champion and Colgate capturing an at-large berth. Lehigh fell 10-9 in the first round to eventual national runner-up Maryland, while the Raiders defeated unbeaten Massachusetts 13-11 on the road in the first round before falling to Duke in the quarterfinals. Colgate (14-4) and Lehigh (14-3) were the first pair in League men's lacrosse history to both claim 14 wins in the same season.

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