The Merrimack College men’s lacrosse team will start the 2015 season ranked No. 7 nationally, as the Warriors garnered that top-10 preseason honor in the inaugural United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Coaches Poll, as announced Monday.
Merrimack, which finished last season with 12 wins while earning a berth in the NE-10 Championship Final, was one of three teams from the league to earn a spot in those rankings.
Reigning national champion Limestone was the near-unanimous favorite with eight first-place votes and led the field of 15 teams. Le Moyne, which Merrimack upset on the road in the league semifinals last May, was slotted second, ahead of national runner-up LIU Post, the No.3 team in the poll.
The University of Tampa sat fourth, ahead of last year’s league champion, Adelphi, who Merrimack took to overtime in one of the more exciting NE-10 Finals in recent memory. Finally, N.Y.I.T. ranked sixth, just ahead of the seventh-ranked Warriors.
Mercyhurst and Lake Erie finished in eighth and ninth, respectively, while Queens University of Charlotte and Florida Southern tied for 10th. Finally, Dowling, Seton Hill, Molloy and Lenoir-Rhyne were slotted 12-15 to round out the rankings.
The Warriors, who saw junior Tim Towler (Topsfield, Mass.) and sophomore Tucker Schwarz (Tallahassee, Fla.) earn Preseason All-America recognition earlier this month, are in the midst of preseason training with eyes set on their season opener just over a month away. The 2015 campaign begins on Saturday, Feb. 28, at Martone-Mejail Field against Northeast-10 Conference foe Assumption at 1 p.m.
Mike McMahon covers Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report as well as on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN