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Navy Picked Second In Preseason Patriot League Lacrosse Poll; Time Change for 2016 Opener vs. Air Force

Jan. 27, 2016

ANNAPOLIS, Md. —  After claiming a share of the program’s sixth Patriot League regular-season title and first since 2008, the Navy men’s lacrosse team has been picked to finish second according to the 2016 Patriot League Preseason Poll announced on Wednesday.  The cast of voters included the league’s coaches and sports information directors.

Loyola, who tied for third a year ago with a 5-3 mark in conference action, edged out both the league’s regular-season champion – Navy – and tournament champion – Colgate – as this year’s preseason favorite.  The Greyhounds secured 12 of the 18 first-place votes (eligible for only 16 due to not being able to vote for your own team) and totaled 122 points to stand atop the preseason vote.  Although Navy accounted for five of the remaining six first-place votes, the Midshipmen held just a three-point advantage (108-105) over Colgate for second in the poll.   Army West Point was picked fourth with 85 points, followed by Bucknell (70), Boston U. (58), Lehigh (54), Holy Cross (29) and Lafayette (17).

“We are excited to begin the 2016 season,” said fifth-year Navy head coach Rick Sowell, who was named the 2015 Patriot League Coach of the Year after leading the Mids to the No. 1 seed in last year’s Patriot League Tournament.  “Our young men have worked extremely hard over the last several months preparing for the season.   We look forward to competing in a league that continues to raise its level of play with great players and big time coaches.  Every game on our schedule will force us to be at our best, not just in our level of physical preparedness but our mental one as well.”

The Mids have won at least a share of the regular-season Patriot League title in six of the 12 seasons (2004-05-06-07-08-15) they have been a member of the conference, while compiling an 11-4 record in the Patriot League Tournament to earn five Patriot League Tournament titles (2004-05-06-07-09).  Navy has amassed a 51-26 (.662) regular-season record in the Patriot League since 2004 in joining what is now a nine-member lacrosse conference (Hobart left following the ‘04 campaign; Loyola and Boston U. joined in 2014), and includes two undefeated seasons (2004, ‘07).

In addition to the preseason poll, the 2016 Preseason All-Patriot League Team was also unveiled.  Headlining the 12-member team were reigning Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, Navy junior Chris Fennell (Milford, N.J.), who was selected as the 2016 Patriot League Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, and Loyola senior attackman Zach Herreweyers who was chosen as the preseason Offensive Player of the Year.  Eight of the nine teams placed players on the preseason team, including Army West Point, Boston U., Colgate and Loyola with two selections apiece.  Bucknell, Holy Cross, Navy and Lehigh each had one player chosen for the preseason squad.   Aside from Herreweyers and Fennell, four preseason selections also earned First-Team All-Patriot League status last year – Sherlock, Dearth, Schultz, Spring – while the remaining six – Wilkinson, Johnson, Williams, Eidenshink, Talkow, Burke – were named to the second team.

In addition to being named the 2015 Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, Fennell went on to earn Third-Team All-America recognition, as well as First-Team ECAC All-Star honors.  He served as the foundation to Navy’s defensive unit that stood 13th in the country in scoring defense (8.57) and held 10 of its 14 opponents to single digits a year ago.  The national ranking marked the program’s highest ranking since 2009 when the Mids allowed 7.69 goals per game and finished seventh in the country.  The Mids also held seven of its last 12 opponents to scoring droughts of over 20 minutes with six of those games resulting in wins.

Fennell owned the team’s second-most caused turnovers with 17 last spring and was tied for 43rd nationally (1.21 CT/gm).  Meanwhile, he finished the year ranked seventh on the Mids’ single-season takeaways list.  He heads into the season ranked seventh on Navy’s career caused turnovers list with 30, 44 short of All-American Pat Kiernan’s record set in 2014.  Additionally, Fennell picked up the third-most ground balls on the squad with 40 and developed into a scoring threat with a pair of transition goals.

“Chris had an outstanding 2015 season,” added Sowell.  “He is a difference maker who allows us flexibility in our defensive schemes. We expect Chris not just to follow up last year’s performance, but to take his game to a higher level and to push himself and his teammates each and every game. He continues to develop and mature as a young man and that will only help him as he prepares for the 2016 season.”

Navy, who is ranked in all three major polls including the USILA/Nike Coaches Poll where they sit 18th, officially kicks off its 109th year of varsity men’s lacrosse at home next Saturday against Service Academy rival Air Force.  Please note the game has been pushed up from 12:00 pm to 11:30 am to accommodate Air Force’s travel back to Colorado Springs.

Single-game tickets for Navy home lacrosse games are on sale now 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 / e-mail:grouptickets@usna.edu).  

2016 Patriot League Preseason Men’s Lacrosse Poll

Rk Team Pts 2015 Record 2015 PL Record
1 Loyola 122 (12) 7-8 5-3
2 Navy 108 (5) 9-5 6-2
3 Colgate 105 (1) 9-5 6-2
4 Army 85 107 4-4
5 Bucknell 70 9-6 5-3
6 Boston U. 58 6-8 3-5
7 Lehigh 54 7-9 3-5
8 Holy Cross 29 6-7 3-5
9 Lafayette 17 4-10 1-7

2016 Preseason All-Patriot League Team
A    Zach Herreweyers, Loyola (Sr.)
A    Cole Johnson, Army West Point (Jr.)
A    Sean Wilkinson, Holy Cross (Sr.)
M    Brian Sherlock, Loyola (Jr.)
M    Cal Dearth, Boston U. (Jr.)
M    Cam Williams, Colgate (Sr.
D    Chris Fennell, Navy (Jr.)
D    Austin Schultz, Army West Point (Sr.)
D    Casey Eidenshink, Lehigh (Sr.)
GK    Brandon Buke, Colgate (Jr.)
FO    Sam Talkow, Boston U. (Jr.)
DM    Alex Spring, Bucknell (Sr.)

Patriot League Preseason Offensive Player of the Year:  Zach Herreweyers, Loyola (Sr., A)
Patriot League Preseason Defensive Player of the Year:  Chris Fennell, Navy (Jr., D)

### Go Navy ###

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