Empire 8 Lacrosse Preseason Coaches' Poll for 2013

With four all-conference first team selections returning and its 6-1 conference record a year ago as supporting evidence, the league coaches tabbed Stevens (17-3 overall the best record in the program's history) as the favorite in the preseason coaches' poll. The Ducks received seven first-place votes and 49 points to claim the top spot.

Two points separate the second and third ranked teams with Ithaca tallying 41 points and Nazareth racking up 39 points. St. John Fisher takes the fourth spot with 29 points and it appears those for teams will again be the top contenders for a playoff berth.

Hartwick and Utica tied for fifth with 22 points, while Alfred and Elmira completed the poll.

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2013 Empire 8 Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Stevens (7) 49 points
2. Ithaca 41
3. Nazareth 39
4. St. John Fisher 29
5. Hartwick 22
5. Utica 22
7. Alfred 13
8. Elmira 9

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. No. 8 Stevens has been chosen by the coaches of the Empire 8 Conference to win its second consecutive conference title at the conclusion of the 2013 season. Stevens won a program-record 17 victories last season with a 6-1 mark in the Empire 8 en route to its first-ever conference crown and a trip to the second round of the NCAA Division III Championship.

The Ducks, led by reigning Coach of the Year, Gene Peluso, were the coach's unanimous pick to walk away with the Empire 8 plaque with all seven first place votes and 49 points. Ithaca College earned 41 points to sit in second, while Nazareth College was close behind with 39 points. St. John Fisher College slid into the fourth position with 29 points, and Hartwick College and Utica College were tied in fifth with 22. Alfred University and Elmira College rounded out the preseason poll with 13 and nine points, respectively, for seventh and eighth.

Stevens returns six all-conference honorees and the Empire 8 Player of the Year in senior Rich Dupras (Hillsborough, N.J.). Dupras became the first Stevens men's lacrosse player to earn USILA First-Team All-America recognition last season with 52 goals and 32 assists for 84 points in 18 games played. His 52 tallies were the fourth-most in the program's 127-year history, while the 84 points scored were third. Dupras was listed on the LaxMagazine.com Preseason Player of the Year poll and finished third in voting.

Honorable Mention All-America senior Nicolas Philippi (Mullica Hill, N.J.) will also be back on the field for Stevens in 2013 after a 55-point season as a junior. Philippi ranked fourth in points (55) and goals (37) in 2012 and was named second-team all-conference.

Sophomore goalkeeper Matthew Deiner (Millstone Twp., N.J.) returns in the pipes for the Ducks after a breakout freshman campaign. Deiner was an honorable mention selection to the Empire 8 and is on the LaxAllStars.com Player to Watch list this season. He posted a 5-1 record last season with a .570 save percentage in 15 contests played.

Stevens opens up the 2013 campaign on the road at the United States Merchant Marine Academy on February 20 at 7:00 p.m. The Ducks took down USMMA, 21-4, in the home opener of 2012. On the 24th, Endicott College travels to Hoboken for the home-opener at 12:00 p.m.


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