Mids Picked Fifth in Patriot League Preseason Men's Lacrosse Poll
Jan. 25, 2012
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. -- With the start of the 2012 men's lacrosse season just a handful of weeks away, Navy, under the direction of first-year coach Rick Sowell, has been picked to finish fifth in the Patriot League according to the 2012 Patriot League Preseason Poll announced Wednesday during the annual Patriot League Men's Lacrosse Media Conference Call. The cast of voters included the league's coaches and sports information directors.
The defending champions, the Bucknell Bison, secured 12 of the 14 first-place votes (eligible for only 12 due to not being able to vote for your own team) to pace the standings, while second-place Army accounted for the remaining two first-place votes.
"We are definitely looking forward to competing against our Patriot League opponents this spring," said Sowell, who has faced five of the six Patriot League schools at previous posts and holds a combined 11-3 record against those programs. "It's a league of both great coaches and players, and we have been working hard since the fall to make sure we are prepare for this challenge. I think our team understands, it's not what's written in January that counts, it's who's left standing after the conference championship come late April."
The Mids have won at least a share of the regular-season Patriot League title in five of the eight seasons (2004-05-06-07-08) they have been a member of the conference, while they have compiled an 11-2 record in the Patriot League Tournament to earn five Patriot League Tournament titles (2004-05-06-07-09). Navy has amassed a 38-11 regular-season record in the Patriot League since 2004 in joining what is a seven-member lacrosse conference (Hobart left following the `04 campaign), and includes two undefeated seasons (2004, `07).
Navy returns eight starters off a team that was one of the youngest in program history and finished the year 4-9. The Mids graduated nine seniors off last year's team, including three-year starting attack/midfielder Andy Warner, who produced 33 points on 12 goals and a team-high 21 assists, as well as two-year starter Michael Hirsch, who was named an Honorable Mention All-America defenseman last spring.
Sowell will look to sophomore attackmen Tucker Hull (Charlotte, N.C.) and Sam Jones (Annapolis, Md.) to pick up where they left off a year ago as Navy's top scorers with mirroring goals (23) and assists (15). A Preseason All-America selection, Hull was named the Patriot League Rookie of the Year in 2011, scoring 20 (13-7) of his 38 points in conference action. Meanwhile, three-year starter Nikk Davis (Cockeysville, Md.) will anchor the midfield after he punched in 14 goals and added four assists a year ago, along with junior Bryce Dabbs (Damascus, Md.), who is coming off an outstanding fall season. Dabbs did not play as a freshman and was ineligible a year ago, but the coaching staff sees a bright future for the middie with a nifty stick.
Senior RJ Wickham (Penn Yan, N.Y.) will serve as the cornerstone to the Mids' defensive unit in 2012. A three-year starter, Wickham gained national prominence in 2010 as an All-American and a nominee for the coveted Tewaaraton Award. He finished his sophomore year ranked No. 5 in the nation in save percentage, turning back 59.3 percent of the shots, while toting the nation's 11th-best goals-against average, giving up 8.55 goals per contest. A year ago, however, the Mids' defensive unit gave up nearly 10 goals per game, including 58 unassisted tallies, as Wickham turned away just under 50 percent of the shots he faced.
Wickham, though, has benefited from the coaching transition over the last several months with the addition of two-time All-American and Naval Academy graduate Mickey Jarboe. Jarboe is the program's all-time saves leader (701) and was twice named the Ens. C. Markland Kelly Award winner, honoring the nation's premier goalkeeper.
Following a pair of preseason scrimmages at Duke (Jan. 28) and at Virginia (Feb. 4), Navy will open its 2012 campaign on Feb. 11 when it plays host to VMI. Game time is set for 12:00 pm at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Single-game tickets for Navy home lacrosse games will go on sale on Feb. 1 and may be purchased by stopping by the Navy Ticket Office at Ricketts Hall, by calling 1-800-US4-NAVY, via the internet at www.navysports.com or at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on game day. Tickets prices are $10 for adults and $5 for students, while groups of 20 or more will be offered a discounted $3 ticket (in advance only ... contact Tom Phelps at 410-293-8743 or Craig Jocius at 410-293-8791 / e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org).
2012 Patriot League Men's Lacrosse Preseason Poll Rk. Team Pts. 2011 Record 2011 PL Record 1. Bucknell * 72 (12) 14-3 6-0 2. Army 54 (2) 11-5 5-1 3. Colgate 52 11-5 5-1 4. Lehigh 44 7-9 3-3 5. Navy 38 4-9 2-4 6. Lafayette 19 2-11 0-6 7. Holy Cross 15 2-13 1-5 * Defending Patriot League Champion
Patriot League Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Peter Baum, Colgate
Patriot League Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Tim Henderson, Army