April 24, 2012
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - The four teams that qualified for this weekend's Patriot League Men's Lacrosse Tournament are well represented on the All-League team and major awards, which were announced Tuesday by the League office.
All-League voting was conducted by the seven head coaches who could not cast a ballot for their own student-athletes or themselves. The All-League team is normally made up of 24 student-athletes with 12 on each team, but ties in the voting expanded the first team to 15 members, while the second team boasts 11.
Twenty-three of the 26 student-athletes to earn All-League honors will be participating in this weekend's tournament, along with all five major award winners.
Colgate and Lehigh, the tournament's No. 1 and 2 seeds, respectively, each captured two major awards. Colgate junior Peter Baum was named Offensive Player of the Year, while Ryan Walsh nabbed the Rookie of the Year honor. Lehigh freshman Matt Poillon was named Goalkeeper of the Year, while fellow Mountain Hawk Kevin Cassese was honored as Coach of the Year.
Third-seeded Army collected the fifth major award, as senior Tim Henderson was named Defensive Player of the Year.
Both Baum and Henderson fulfilled their major awards expectations, and each was named Preseason Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year, respectively, by the head coaches in the weeks leading up to the regular season.
Lehigh led with eight All-League honorees in all, while Army, Bucknell and Colgate tied with five apiece. Navy, which tied with Bucknell for fourth place at 3-3 in the League but missed out on the tournament because of a head-to-head tiebreaker loss, rounded out the team with three selections.
Baum is one of several cogs in the wheel of Colgate's potent offense that currently sits second in the nation averaging 13.54 goals per game. A junior from Portland, Ore., Baum leads the country averaging 3.92 goals and is second with 5.23 points per contest. He enters the tournament with the League lead in goals (51) and points (68). His goal total is the third-highest single-season total in League history, while his points tally is tied for sixth. He also ranks third in the League in shooting percentage, with 40.8 percent of his attempts finding the back of the net. Baum joins fellow Raiders Derek Laub (1993) and Brandon Corp (2007-09) to garner the Offensive Player of the Year tag.
Henderson, a senior long stick midfielder, has been a stalwart for the Black Knights in his four seasons at West Point. He comes from a tremendous pedigree, as his older brother Bill was a two-time Defensive Player of the Year in 2010 and again in '11. Henderson enters the tournament ranked second on his team with 19 caused turnovers and 54 ground balls. He is also a key to the Army transition game and has contributed offensively with three goals and three assists for six points. As a junior last season, Henderson was the only long stick to earn honorable mention USILA All-America status and was a preseason second-team All-America honoree by the Face-Off Yearbook.
Poillon, a freshman, earned the starting goalkeeping job at Lehigh at the start of the season and has not relinquished it. The Mount Sinai, N.Y., native leads the Patriot League in goals-against average (6.00) and save percentage (.617), which ranks him second and fourth, respectively, nationally in those categories. Poillon has surrendered a League-low 82 goals this season, while his 9.43 saves per game are third best in the League. He is the first Lehigh player named to the award since its inception in 2005.
Walsh has emerged as the top offensive freshman in the Patriot League this season. The Colgate rookie attackman has 28 goals and 18 assists for 46 points entering the weekend. His goals- (2.15) and points-per-game averages (3.54) both rank fourth in the League, and he's the highest-scoring League rookie in both categories. His 1.38 assists per game are currently the second highest among League freshmen. Walsh becomes Colgate's fourth Rookie of the Year and first since Andrew Jarolimek shared the nod with Army's John Walker in 2003.
Cassese is in his fifth year at Lehigh and has guided the Mountain Hawks to their second straight and fourth overall appearance in the League Tournament. At 12-2 and 5-1 in the Patriot League this season, Lehigh has matched its program record for wins first set in 1994 when it went 12-3, while the team's League mark is its best in history. Lehigh has won 11 of its last 12, is ranked in the top 10 nationally in both the USILA Coaches and Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media polls and sits No. 9 in the latest NCAA RPI released Monday. The Mountain Hawks' landmark victory of the season was a 9-8 triumph March 3 at then-No. 4 North Carolina, along with one-goal victories against tournament participants Army and Bucknell. Cassese is Lehigh's first Coach of the Year since John McCloskey in 1999.
In addition to their major awards, Baum, Henderson, Poillon and Walsh also garnered spots on the All-League team. Baum, Henderson and Poillon all captured first-team honors, with Baum at attack and Henderson as a defensive midfield specialist. Walsh was named to the second team at attack. Baum is a three-time member of the All-Patriot League First Team, while Henderson garnered All-League honors for the fourth straight year, including the third consecutive on the first team.
Poillon tied for first-team honors at goalkeeper with Navy senior RJ Wickham and Bucknell junior Kyle Feeney. All three made the first team, but per Patriot League rules Poillon was named Goalkeeper of the Year because he received more first-place votes from the coaches.
One would be hard pressed to find a more talented group of three attackmen than those featured on the All-League first team. Joining Baum at the position are Bucknell senior Billy Eisenreich and Army junior Garrett Thul.
Eisenreich became the first player in the nation this season to join the 30-30 club, and he enters this weekend's tournament with 31 goals and 32 assists for 63 points. His 63 points put him five behind Baum for the League lead, while his 4.2 points per game rank him second in the League. Eisenreich has shouldered much of the offensive load for the Bison, who have been without 2009 Patriot League Rookie of the Year and 2011 League Tournament MVP Charlie Streep because of injury. He garners All-League plaudits for the second straight season after earning first-team honors a year ago.
Thul was a remarkably consistent goal scorer in his first two seasons at Army, and his junior campaign in 2012 has been no different. After netting 41 and 42 goals, respectively, in his first two years, the Flemington, N.J., native enters the tournament with 37 goals on the season, placing him second in the League averaging 2.85 per game. He is on pace to potentially obliterate the Patriot League career record for goals, held by Bucknell's Justin Zackey with 138. Thul has 120 for his career, placing him seventh in League history and just ahead of Baum's 114.
Because of a tie in the coaches' voting, there are four members of the All-League First Team at midfield, and all are seniors. Bucknell's Nick Gantsoudes, Lehigh's Roman Lao-Gosney, Colgate's Jeff Ledwick and Army's Devin Lynch were named to the team Tuesday. Gantsoudes has played in all 15 of Bucknell's games so far and enters the weekend with 28 points on 19 goals and nine dishes. Lao-Gosney is part of a balance Lehigh offense, as he ranks fifth on the squad with 20 points with 16 goals and four assists. Ledwick has contributed 24 goals and 11 assists to the potent Colgate attack, while Lynch has 19 goals and five assists for 24 points for Army. Lynch has had a knack in recent weeks for scoring in the clutch, as he netted the double-overtime game-winner at Bucknell April 7 that started the Black Knights' current three-game win streak.
A team can't score without the ball, and a significant part of Colgate's offense has been its ability to win face-offs. Junior Robert Grabher has held down that job for the Raiders, winning 178-of-298 at the `X' this season for a League-best 59.7 percent success rate in being named first-team All-League at face-off specialist. Grabher has collected a League-high 105 ground balls this season, tying for second on the League's single-season list, placing him 13 shy of the record of 118 set by Lehigh's Ryan Snyder a year ago.
While seniors dominated at midfield on the first team, the underclassmen shined on defense. Army junior Brendan Buckley leads a cast of three on the All-League First Team on defense, with the group rounded out by junior Mike Huffner of Bucknell and sophomore Ty Souders of Lehigh. Buckley leads the Patriot League with 27 caused turnovers and 2.08 per game, placing him 10th in the nation. Huffner is right behind Buckley with 25 caused turnovers on the season along with 29 groundballs. Souders has 28 groundballs and has picked up one assist on the season while usually marking opposing teams' top offensive threats.
Feeney has played almost 95 percent of Bucknell's minutes this season, making a League-best 162 saves and averaging 10.8 per game, ranking him second in the conference and 15th in the nation. His 8.60 goals-against average puts him second in the League behind Poillon, and he enters the tournament with the League's third-best save percentage at 56.8, which is also ninth in the country. Feeney is making his second appearance on the All-League team after he earned second-team laurels in 2011.
Wickham, a senior, ended his career at Navy with a remarkable 18-save performance in an 8-2 stymieing of then-No. 6 Johns Hopkins Saturday in Annapolis. The Penn Yan, N.Y., native garnered first-team All-League laurels for the second time in his career, first achieving that in 2010, a season in which he was also named Goalkeeper of the Year. Wickham leads the League with 11.25 saves per game and stopped 57 percent of the shots that came his way.
Nine of the 11 members of the All-League Second Team are underclassmen. Lehigh junior David DiMaria and Navy sophomore Tucker Hull garnered second-team accolades at attack alongside Walsh. DiMaria ranks sixth in the League with 3.00 points per game entering the tournament, while Hull, the 2011 Rookie of the Year, finished the season with 23 goals and 24 assists for 47 points. His 3.92 points per game rank third in the League.
Bucknell's David Dickson was another freshman, alongside Poillon and Walsh, to make an immediate impact on the League in 2012. The midfielder earned second-team All-League laurels and enters the weekend third in the League with 1.60 assists per game, while his 24 total dishes are tied for second with Hull. Joining Dickson at second-team midfield is a veteran in Lehigh's Cameron Lao-Gosney, who has 11 goals and eight assists for 19 points in 14 games for the Mountain Hawks. It's Lao-Gosney's second All-League honor, as he earned second-team recognition in 2010.
Because of another tie in the voting, Army senior Derek Sipperly and Lehigh junior Ryan Snyder both garnered second-team All-League status at face-off specialist. Sipperly ranks second in the League winning 57.2 percent of his tries at the `X', going 147-of-257 with 82 ground balls. Snyder, who set the League's single-season ground balls records in 2011, is third winning 53.5 percent of his face-offs. He ranks ninth all-time in League annals with 224 career ground balls.
Navy sophomore pole Pat Kiernan was one of three Midshipmen to make the All-League team, garnering a spot as the second-team defensive midfield specialist. His versatility shined as the season wore on for the Mids, as he also took the occasional face-off along with playing the wing on draws. He finished the season with seven goals and 10 points, currently placing him third in the nation in point scoring among long poles, while his 14 caused turnovers were second on the team.
The tournament's top two seeds are represented at second-team defense, with Lehigh junior Mike Noone and sophomore teammate Lukas Mikelinich joining Colgate sophomore Bobby Lawrence. Lawrence leads the Raiders with 22 caused turnovers and has one goal and three points with 35 ground balls heading into Friday's semifinal matchup with Bucknell. Noone has paced the Mountain Hawks with a team-leading 23 caused turnovers this spring with 33 ground balls, and Mikelinich has picked up 10 ground balls while playing in 12 of Lehigh's 14 games entering the tournament. Army and Bucknell shared the League lead with four student-athletes apiece on the first team, while Colgate and Lehigh each placed three. Navy had one selection on the first team. On the second team, Lehigh led the way with five selections, followed by Colgate and Navy with two apiece, and Army and Bucknell with one each.
The 2012 Patriot League Men's Lacrosse Tournament gets underway with two semifinal games Friday. Top-seeded and host Colgate will face off with No. 4 Bucknell at 5 p.m., while No. 2 Lehigh battles third-seeded Army at 8 p.m. The semifinal winners will meet Sunday at 3 p.m. for the Patriot League championship and automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
All three games of the tournament will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.
2012 Men's Lacrosse All-Patriot League Team and Major Awards
Attack - Peter Baum, Colgate, Jr. (**)
Attack - Billy Eisenreich, Bucknell, Sr. (*)
Attack - Garrett Thul, Army, Jr. (**$)
Midfield - Nick Gantsoudes, Bucknell, Sr.
Midfield - Roman Lao-Gosney, Lehigh, Sr.
Midfield - Jeff Ledwick, Colgate, Sr.
Midfield - Devin Lynch, Army, Sr.
Face-Off Specialist - Robert Grabher, Colgate, Jr.
Defensive Midfield Specialist - Tim Henderson, Army, Sr. (***)
Defense - Mike Huffner, Bucknell, Jr. (*)
Defense - Brendan Buckley, Army, Jr.
Defense - Ty Souders, Lehigh, So.
Goalkeeper - Matt Poillon, Lehigh, Fr. (%)
Goalkeeper - Kyle Feeney, Bucknell, Jr. (*)
Goalkeeper - RJ Wickham, Navy, Sr. (*@)
Attack - David DiMaria, Lehigh, Jr.
Attack - Tucker Hull, Navy, So. (^)
Attack - Ryan Walsh, Colgate, Fr.
Midfield - David Dickson, Bucknell, Fr.
Midfield - Cameron Lao-Gosney, Lehigh, Sr. (*)
Face-Off Specialist - Derek Sipperly, Army, Sr.
Face-Off Specialist - Ryan Snyder, Lehigh, Jr. (*)
Defensive Midfield Specialist - Pat Kiernan, Navy, So.
Defense - Mike Noone, Lehigh, Jr.
Defense - Bobby Lawrence, Colgate, So.
Defense - Lukas Mikelinich, Lehigh, So.
Offensive Player of the Year - Peter Baum, Colgate, Jr., A
Defensive Player of the Year - Tim Henderson, Army, Sr., LSM
Goalkeeper of the Year - Matt Poillon, Lehigh, Fr.
Rookie of the Year - Ryan Walsh, Colgate, Fr., A
Coach of the Year - Kevin Cassese, Lehigh
% - named Goalkeeper of the Year because of highest number of first-place votes
@ - 2010 Goalkeeper of the Year
$ - 2010 Rookie of the Year
^ - 2011 Rookie of the Year
* - Previous number of All-League honors