Big East Lacrosse Preseason Coaches' Poll & All-Big East Team

NEW YORK - A pair of defending major award winners and a newcomer were highlighted as the 2014 Preseason All-Big East Men's Lacrosse honors and poll were announced on Wednesday by the conference. St. John's senior attackman Kieran McArdle was named Big East Preseason Offensive Player of the Year while Villanova senior long-stick midfielder John LoCascio was tabbed the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

Topping the preseason poll was Big East newcomer Denver, which enters the conference following two appearances in the NCAA semifinals in the last three seasons. The Pioneers topped the poll with 36 points and six first-place votes, while St. John's took second with 31 points and the last remaining first-place ballot. Villanova was third with 25 points, followed by Georgetown with 22 points. Rounding out the poll were Providence and Rutgers, which tied for fifth with 12 points apiece, and Marquette in seventh with nine points.

Voting was conducted by the seven Big East head men's lacrosse coaches who could not cast ballots for their own players or teams.

McArdle is coming off perhaps the most prolific offensive season in school history. The defending Big East Attack Player of the Year led the conference in goals (36), assists (49) and points (85), setting school records in the latter two categories, and was selected a second-team USILA All-America. Also a Tewaaraton Award nominee last season, McArdle finished 2013 leading the nation in assist average with 3.77 and second with 2.77 goals per game. His 6.54 points-per-game average was ninth in the country. The Ronkonkoma, N.Y., native was selected fifth overall by the expansion Florida Launch in the Major League Lacrosse draft earlier this month.

LoCascio is coming off a season in which he was a third-team USILA All-America pick, a unanimous first-team All-Big East selection and the conference's Defensive Player of the Year. He started in 14 of Villanova's 15 games last season and led the nation averaging 3.79 caused turnovers per contest. He added 85 ground balls to his season ledger, giving him the fourth-best average in the Big East at 6.07 per outing. LoCascio enters 2014 as a two-time team captain and sits second all-time in school history with 87 caused turnovers.

McArdle and LoCascio were unanimous selections for both their major awards and their placement on the preseason All-Big East squad.

Denver placed a conference-high four on the preseason quad, including seniors Jeremy Noble (midfield) and Jamie Faus (goalkeeper), and juniors Wesley Berg (attack) and Carson Cannon (defense). Georgetown and Villanova tied with three selections apiece. Senior defender John Urbank, junior attackman Reilly O'Connor and junior midfielder Charlie McCormick represented the Hoyas, while the senior defensive pair of Chris Conroy and Chris Piccirilli joined LoCascio from the Wildcats.

Providence (senior midfielder Andrew Barton), Rutgers (junior face-off specialist Joe Nardella) and St. John's (McArdle) placed one student-athlete each on the team.

Denver (14-5, 6-1 ECAC in 2013) enters the Big East as the favorite in 2014. The Pioneers' 2013 season ended with a 9-8 heartbreaker to Syracuse in the NCAA semifinals at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa. The Pioneers were ranked fourth in both the USILA Coaches and Warrior Inside Lacrosse media polls released on Monday.

In addition to McArdle rewriting his way through the program's record book, St. John's (9-4, 3-3 Big East) is coming off a strong season that ended too soon for their tastes. The Red Storm peaked in the top 15 in both national polls and posted three wins over top-20 opponents. But St. John's barely missed the Big East Tournament because of a head-to-head loss with Georgetown, which claimed the field's fourth and final seed. The Red Storm checked in at No. 19 in the USILA poll and 17th in the media voting on Monday.

1 2    Next  »


Create a free lacrosse website