COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's lacrosse team took 10th place in the Northeast-10 Conference's preseason coaches' poll, which was released by the league office today and chosen by the member institutions' head coaches. The Purple Knights received 31 points toward the 12-team rankings while Merrimack College, the defending national runner-up that sits second in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) preseason national poll, paced the NE10 rankings with 119 points.
The Purple Knights went 2-10 overall and 1-10 in the league last spring, with four setbacks by three goals or fewer. One of those contests was against Saint Anselm College, which is 20th in the USILA preseason national poll and sits fifth in the NE10 rankings. Bentley University, against which Saint Michael's fell by a single tally, is seventh. The Purple Knights trail Franklin Pierce University by four points in the NE10 poll.
Among the Purple Knights' 11 NE10 counterparts, five are ranked in the USILA's 20-team preseason national poll, with four in the top five. Twenty-three Saint Michael's players with prior college experience join another 10 who figure to make their college debuts this spring.
The Purple and Gold's top two scorers return, as senior Brian Loughlin (Kingston, N.Y./Kingston) totaled 16 goals and 14 assists, while sophomore Ralph Grillone III (Brockton, Mass./Cardinal Spellman) registered 12 tallies and nine helpers. Classmate Justin Richmond (New Market, Md./Linganore) won 100 faceoffs and scooped 37 ground balls while taking 224 of his team's 271 draws.
Senior Neil Gallagher (Stowe, Vt./Green Mountain Valley School), a New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (NEILA) All-New England defender, headlines a veteran defensive corps after totaling 26 ground balls and 21 caused turnovers. Junior Matt Cotter (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxboro Regional) led the team with 43 ground balls from his long-stick midfield spot, while sophomore Will Moriarty (Ashland, Mass./Catholic Memorial) and senior Dan Johnson (Ringwood, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) caused 13 and 10 turnovers, respectively.
Alex Smith heads into his first season as head coach of the Purple Knights, who begin their spring by hosting Franklin Pierce on March 3. After three straight road games, Saint Michael's plays four of its next six at home. Each of the Purple and Gold's final nine regular-season games is against an NE10 foe.