Golden Flyers the Favorite in Empire 8 Preseason Lacrosse Poll

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Nazareth's men's lacrosse team was picked to successfully defend its Empire 8 Conference title in 2014 according to a pre-season poll conducted by the league's head coaches. The Golden Flyers, 15-5 overall and 7-0 in conference games in 2013, received seven first-place votes and 49 points overall.

Ithaca received the remaining first-place vote and finished second with 42 points. Stevens (38 points) and St. John Fisher (28) rounded out the top four.

The Golden Flyers, with 26 players returning, including three All-Americans, open their season at home Feb. 22 at 12:00 p.m. against Springfield. Junior face-off specialist Drew Simoneau leads the group of returning players after being chosen E8 Player of the Year in 2013. Sophomore attackman Luke Wooters, E8 Rookie of the Year last season, also is back after setting a school record by scoring 64 goals.

Sophomore attackman Troy Haefele, senior midfielder Collin Clark and junior defenseman Jerry Chasteen also return after earning first-team all-conference honors in 2013.

2014 Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Nazareth (7 1st) 49 pts
2. Ithaca (1) 42
3. Stevens 38
4. St. John Fisher 28
5. Utica 27
6. Alfred 16
6. Hartwick 16
8. Elmira 8

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HOBOKEN, N.J. (February 14, 2014) The Empire 8 Conference released its preseason men's lacrosse poll on Wednesday and Stevens Institute of Technology was selected to finish third in the league based off the votes tallied from the coaches.

Stevens received 38 total points to earn the third position behind Ithaca College in second (42 points, one first place vote) and defending conference champions, Nazareth College, in first with 49 points and seven first place votes to round out the top of the conference poll.

The Ducks finished ahead of St. John Fisher College, who earned 28 points. Utica College came in fifth, followed by a tie for sixth between Alfred University and Hartwick College. Elmira College slid into the eighth position, while Houghton College did not appear on the list since the school is still considered a provisional institution by the NCAA.

Nazareth, Stevens and Ithaca represent in the conference in the USILA Preseason Top 20 Poll which was released earlier this week. The Golden Flyers will enter the season as the 10th-ranked team in the country, Stevens is No. 13 and the Bombers begin the year as the No. 17 team in the nation.

Last season, the Ducks went 6-1 in the Empire 8 and their lone regular season loss was dealt by Nazareth in a 17-8 defeat in Rochester, N.Y. Stevens topped Ithaca, 11-4, in the regular season finale, but fell to the Bombers, 12-10, in the Empire 8 semifinals. Both contests were played in Hoboken.

Stevens opens its season at home on February 19 against the United States Merchant Marine Academy at 7:00 p.m. A complete season preview for the 2014 Ducks will be released early next week.

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ROCHESTER, NY - Hartwick has been picked to finish sixth in the Empire 8 according to the preseason coaches' poll that was released on Wednesday. The Hawks tallied 16 points which tied them with Alfred.

Defending conference champion and #10 nationally ranked Nazareth received 49 points and was picked to defend its crown once again. Ithaca, Stevens, and St. John Fisher follow in second, third, and fourth place, respectively. Elmira rounds out the poll.

Seniors Mike Vaglica (Newton, MA/Newton North), Zach Gropper (Syosset, NY/Syosset), and Cody Ciolino (Nesconset, NY/Sachem North) return for their final seasons to lead the Hawks. Vaglica was an Empire 8 Honorable Mention last year and had career bests in goals (26), assists (15), and points (41). Gropper also had a career season in goals (15) and points (18). Ciolino led the Hawks in assists with 19. The three players totaled 43 groundballs.

The Hawks finished last year with an overall record of 6-8 and a 2-5 mark in the Empire 8. Hartwick begins its 2014 season on the road February 26 at Mount Saint Mary College. The Hawks' home opener will be March 8 against Salve Regina.


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