Bryant Leads the NEC Lacrosse 2013 Preseason Coaches' Poll

Somerset, NJ The Northeast Conference men's lacrosse coaches have voted and defending league champion Bryant has been picked to win the title again in 2013. The Bulldogs were a unanimous pick in this year's NEC Men's Lacrosse Preseason Coaches' Poll, claiming five first-place votes to best second-ranked and NEC finalist Mount St. Mary's, which claimed the final first-place tally. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams.

Last year's regular-season champion, Robert Morris, was voted third, followed by Quinnipiac in fourth. Sacred Heart and Wagner rounded out the six-team poll in fifth and sixth, respectively.

Bryant (14-4, 4-1 NEC) capped off a grand season by winning its first NEC Championship with a 12-6 victory over Mount St. Mary's and earning a spot in the final Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll (#19). Led by seventh-year head coach Mike Pressler, the Bulldogs posted a 10-3 record in non-conference play before going 4-1 in NEC action.

Pressler's squad ranked first or second in nearly every statistical category but really shined on defense and at the faceoff X. The folks from Smithfield, RI led the league in goals allowed (7.54), caused turnovers (153/8.50 avg), ground balls (671/37.28 avg) and boasted a man-down unit that squashed nearly 75% (.746) of its opponents' extra-man opportunities.

Seniors Mason Poli (Downingtown, PA/Downingtown East) and Glenn Maiorano (Easton, CT/Fairfield Prep) helped the defense rank eighth nationally and both return for the 2013 season. Poli, a two-time USILA Honorable Mention All-American and multiple All-NEC First Team pick, provided 44 ground balls and 11 caused turnovers while playing a major role in the transition game, scoring 19 goals and totaling 25 points. He was selected 27th overall by the Charlotte Hounds in the Major League Lacrosse (MLL) Draft earlier in January. Maiorano, an All-NEC First Team pick as well, captured 58 ground balls and caused 33 turnovers, a figure that ranked 14th nationally.

NEC Rookie of the Year Kevin Massa (Huntington, NY/Elwood John Glenn) was sensational in giving the Bulldogs control of the ball, winning 64% (.639) of his faceoffs taken to place tops in the league and third overall in the country. He also gobbled up 137 ground balls, which also topped the league.

Junior Colin Dunster (Cos Cob, CT/Greenwich) senior Peter McMahon (Wilton, CT/Wilton) combined for 98 points and helped the Bulldogs average 11.78 goals per game, good for 10th in Division I lacrosse. Dunster racked up 36 goals and 14 assists for 50 points, averaging 2.00 goals per game (4th NEC) and 2.78 points per game (7th NEC). McMahon netted 23 goals and dished out 25 assists (1.39 apg/5th NEC) at attack, averaging the ninth-most points per game in the league at 2.67 ppg. Both players represented the Bulldogs on the All-NEC First Team.

After playing in its second straight NEC title game, Mount St. Mary's (6-9, 2-3 NEC) looks to make it 3 for 3 in 2013. The Mountaineers won the title in 2011 and upset top-seeded Robert Morris, 16-15, in overtime last season to setup the match-up with Bryant last season. This year, head coach Tom Gravante returns the services of eight players who started in the 2012 title game, including his three top scorers in seniors Andrew Scalley (Arnold, MD/Archbishop Spalding), Brett Schmidt (Great Mills, MD/St. Mary's Ryken) and Bryant Schmidt (Great Mills, MD/St. Mary's Ryken). Scalley led the team with 53 points made up of 29 goals and 24 assists, earning All-NEC First Team honors for his effort. He ranked third in both points per game (3.53) and assists per game (1.60 apg), and placed sixth in goals per game (1.93 gpg). Brett Schmidt, an All-NEC member and a 2013 MLL Draft Pick (38th/Rochester), ranked second with 29 goals and 19 assists, while his twin brother, Bryant, posted 29 goals and 36 points. Both players tied Scalley for sixth in the league in goals per game and ranked in the top-10 in points, with Brett checking in at No. 5 (3.20 ppg) and Bryant No. 10 (2.40 ppg).

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